Flushing, NY – Kirk Nieuwenhuis smacked the game-winning three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to help the New York Mets steal a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs in the finale of a three-game set at Citi Field.
The Cubs dominated most of the contest thanks to a superb outing from starter Matt Garza. However, holding a 3-0 advantage heading into the bottom half of the final frame, the Cubs sent Carlos Marmol (2-4) to the hill and stuck with the righty even after allowing Marlon Byrd to open the action with a solo shot and issuing a walk to Lucas Duda.
John Buck's single moved Duda to second before Omar Quintanilla's sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third. That's when Nieuwenhuis cranked Marmol's fastball offering over the right-field wall for the difference maker.
"We've been struggling lately, everyone knows that," Byrd said. "But again, we've been working hard and you're always waiting for something to happen and we got it going."
Bobby Parnell (5-3) picked up the unlikely win after tossing a 1-2-3 top of the ninth for the Mets, who had lost three straight and six of seven coming in.
Alfonso Soriano drove in one run for the Cubs, who scored two runs in the fifth off two errors on the same play. Garza allowed a mere three hits over seven scoreless frames to go along with five strikeouts.
"I tried to go down and the ball just stayed right down the middle," Added Marmol.
Chicago, which was looking for its first sweep versus the Mets since 2004, had a three-game winning streak come to an end.
Mets starter Jeremy Hefner lasted five innings and allowed three runs -- one earned -- on six hits, but New York failed to muster any type of offense for him.
The Cubs jumped on Hefner early in the first, as Luis Valbuena and Starlin Castro opened up the game with consecutive singles. After Nate Schierholtz grounded into a fielder's choice, advancing Valbuena to third, Soriano came through with a single to left to make it 1-0.
Chicago added two more runs in the fifth thanks to Castro and Schierholtz reaching with two outs on a single and a walk, respectively. The Mets then handed the visitors the runs. Soriano hit a slow chopper to third, David Wright overshot first base, and Daniel Murphy, who collected Wright's miscue, fired home past Buck for another error, allowing both runs to cross home for a 3-0 Cubs lead.
New York improved to 14-23 at home this season ... The Mets had lost 11 of Hefner's 12 starts this season coming in ... The last time New York trailed by three or more runs in the ninth inning and found victory came on Sept. 22, 2011 versus St. Louis ... It was Marmol's third blown save of the season.