(Photo credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
With virtually no margin for error as the regular season races toward the end, the visiting Miami Marlins will look to earn a series victory over the New York Mets on Thursday night.
The Marlins (82-76) split a doubleheader with the Mets on Wednesday, allowing them to climb into a tie for the third and final National League wild-card spot with the Chicago Cubs (82-76), who lost 6-5 in 10 innings to the Atlanta Braves.
Jesus Luzardo (10-9, 3.73 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Marlins against fellow left-hander David Peterson (3-8, 5.37) in the finale of a three-game set on Thursday.
The Marlins recovered from an 11-2 loss in the opener on Wednesday to earn a 4-2 victory in the nightcap.
A two-run ninth inning in the second game -- Xavier Edwards scored on an error by Mets third baseman Brett Baty before Bryan De La Cruz added an insurance RBI single -- turned what could have been a disastrous day for the Marlins into a pretty good one.
Braxton Garrett, pushed back to Wednesday's first game when Citi Field was deemed unplayable on Tuesday due to wet conditions stemming from Tropical Storm Ophelia, gave up four runs over four innings in his worst start in two months.
However, the Cubs subsequently fell to the Braves minutes before Andrew Nardi threw a hitless ninth to close out a win by the Marlins that vaulted them into the wild-card tie with Chicago. Miami owns the tiebreaker over the Cubs by virtue of a 4-2 win in the season series.
The Marlins and Cubs are two games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks (84-74), who sit in the second NL wild-card spot. Arizona beat the Chicago White Sox 3-0 earlier on Wednesday.
"I feel like it would be a roller coaster until the end of Sunday," Marlins third baseman/designated hitter Jake Burger said postgame. "Just kind of take it in stride. Really glad we split today. Go into tomorrow feeling fresh and hopefully put up another (win)."
The loss in the second game Wednesday by the Mets (72-86) overshadowed a pair of impressive individual accomplishments for shortstop Francisco Lindor and starting pitcher Kodai Senga.
Lindor homered in his first two at-bats as he became the third major-leaguer this season to produce 30 homers and 30 steals. He is the first Mets player to have a 30-30 campaign since David Wright logged 30 homers and 34 steals in 2007.
Senga allowed two runs and struck out eight over five innings and will finish his season with a 2.98 ERA and 202 strikeouts. He is the second rookie pitcher to post a sub-3.00 ERA and record 200 strikeouts since Hideo Nomo accomplished the feat for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1995. Spencer Strider had 202 K's and a 2.67 ERA for the Atlanta Braves last year.
"Talking about numbers, (what) Senga got today, that's special, that's what we should be talking about -- his rookie year, coming up like that, doing stuff how he did it, that's special," Lindor said postgame. "There are other guys here who have put up good numbers. But at the end of the day, I kind of wish I was in the Marlins' position right now."
Luzardo didn't factor into the decision on Saturday when he gave up three runs over five innings as the Marlins beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-4. He is 2-1 with a 4.21 ERA in five career starts against the Mets, including a March 31 win in which he fired 5 2/3 scoreless innings.
Peterson didn't factor into the decision in his most recent start on Sept. 21, as he allowed four runs over four innings in the Mets' 5-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. He is 2-2 with a 2.57 ERA in six games (five starts) against the Marlins. Peterson took a tough-luck loss to Luzardo and Miami on March 31, when he yielded one run in five innings.
--Field Level Media