MIAMI -- The eighth inning has frequently been the Marlins' downfall this season.
They turned it into an awakening Monday in rallying from a three-run deficit.
For the second day in a row the ninth inning was magical for Miami. This time the walk-off heroics were provided by Casey McGehee, whose single off the leg of Mets reliever Gonzalez Germen sent Christian Yelich scampering home from second for a 4-3 victory.
It was a present that catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia promised for manager Mike Redmond's 43rd birthday as McGehee stepped to the plate after the Mets intentionally walked Giancarlo Stanton.
"Salty told me ... He said, 'Don't worry, this is your birthday gift, we're going to win this game for you,'" Redmond said.
The gift included the Marlins moving to within one-half game of first place in the National League East.
Yelich, who led off the ninth with a single, also started the comeback in the eighth with a walk.
After being shut out for seven innings by left-hander Jonathon Niese, the Marlins mounted the rally against starter-turned-reliever Daisuke Matsuzaka, who followed the walk to Yelich by walking Ed Lucas.
Stanton increased his major-league-leading RBI total to 37 with a sizzling single past Matsuzaka into center to score Yelich. McGehee sent a croquet shot through shortstop Omar Quintanilla's wickets for an error, allowing Lucas to score. Saltalamacchia tied it at 3 with a double to right-center.
Mets reliever Kyle Farnsworth came in with runners on second and third and no outs, and was able to preserve the tie, getting Marcell Ozuna on a bouncer to third to end the inning.
"I think the best thing about this team -- and I've said it with some of our losses -- we just keep coming, giving ourselves chances to have those big hits. Sometimes we have them. Sometimes we don't. But it says an awful lot about this team and what kind of character it has," said McGehee, who has gotten a lot of chances hitting behind Stanton.
The veteran third baseman has four game-winning RBI and 12 multi-hit games. It was the third walk-off hit of his career.
As to whether he considers it a challenge when the opposing team walks Stanton to pitch to him, McGehee said, "I guess human nature, yeah. But I really try to get past that feeling. ... I'm just really trying to stick with my approach and hit the ball hard somewhere. It's not always going to work. But, it definitely feels good when it does."
The Mets grabbed the lead early as they turned Nathan Eovaldi's best weapon on him. Eovaldi is the second-hardest thrower in the major leagues, according to Fangraphs.com, with a fastball averaging 96 mph. Only Kansas City's Yordano Ventura is faster at 96.7 mph.
Eovaldi came out firing, as usual, and got burned on first-inning home runs by Daniel Murphy and Curtis Granderson. Both left-handed hitters connected early in the count on fastballs that were down in the zone and drove them into the upper deck in right field.
New York added a run in the fourth after David Wright turned on an inside fastball and lined it into the left-field corner for a leadoff double. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Bobby Abreu.
Eovaldi's heater ultimately took its toll as he struck out a career-high 10 (he had eight on three occasions). Aside from the early long balls, he put together a commendable outing, going seven innings while allowing five hits.
Meanwhile, Niese, who doesn't have the sort of speed that thrills, lulled the Marlins into submission for seven innings on five hits.
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