MIAMI — One night after needing 16 innings to beat the Marlins, the Mets were an out away from reaching extra innings again. But in the bottom of the ninth Friday night, the Marlins’ J.T. Realmuto ripped a run-scoring double to right-centerfield off lefthander Josh Edgin, sending the Mets to a 3-2 loss.
“Right now it’s about a battle of attrition to get through the next three days,” manager Terry Collins said before the Mets’ winning streak ended at five, “and get everybody to that day off on Monday.”
With three relievers unavailable, Collins needed depth from ace Noah Syndergaard.
He allowed two runs — one earned — but lasted only six innings because of cracks in the nails of his middle and index fingers. He was pulled after 87 pitches, leaving the shorthanded bullpen to navigate a close game.
“It’s frustrating that a little hiccup like this could take me out of the game,” said Syndergaard, who already has battled a blister issue this season. “It was a long game last night and all I wanted to do is stay in there as long as I could to give the bullpen a break.”
Instead, his fingers began bleeding, an issue that had dogged him in the minors but not in the big leagues until now. Syndergaard seemed baffled by the flare-up, which will require fake nails to be glued on.
“I have an excuse to get a mani-pedi now,” said Syndergaard, who insisted he’ll be ready for his next start.
Lucas Duda hammered a 441-foot homer in the fifth inning. Michael Conforto knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly in the third before saving a run in the seventh with a brilliant throw from leftfield. With the score tied at 2, he cut down Miguel Rojas trying to score on Christian Yelich’s lineout.
Conforto’s throw reached the plate on a fly, and the tag by Rene Rivera survived a replay review. But it was not enough.
Yoenis Cespedes hit a pair of homers Thursday night and later revealed that he had done so with a case of the flu. He still was feeling ill before Friday night’s game and was limited to a pinch-hitting appearance in which he struck out.
Recognizing that 5 hours, 38 minutes of baseball in the previous game might take its toll, Collins went into reporter mode: Soon after the final out early Friday morning, he surveyed his players, checking to see which ones needed a day off to catch their breath.
That group included Travis d’Arnaud, who caught 16 innings and nearly required an IV drip. Not only was d’Arnaud out of the lineup Friday night — which was likely anyway with Syndergaard pitching — but Collins indicated that d’Arnaud will sit out Saturday night’s game as well.
The bullpen took enough of a beating that the Mets demoted utilityman T.J. Rivera to Triple-A Las Vegas and promoted reliever Sean Gilmartin.
Hansel Robles, Josh Smoker and Addison Reed were unavailable. Each pitched multiple innings Thursday night.
So with the Mets locked in a tie game, they entrusted their fate to a pair of relievers who ordinarily would not appear in high-leverage spots: Rafael Montero and Edgin, who began the ninth inning with a walk to Rojas. He scored the winning run on Realmuto’s stinging double.
Said Collins: “That’s just what we’re facing when you have a night like last night.”