Bell walks 4 Mets in 9th, Marlins lose 5th in row
NEW YORK – Heath Bell kept throwing, hoping he could find the one pitch that would let him escape.
He never did.
Miami's All-Star closer faltered again, walking four batters in the ninth inning and helping the New York Mets rally for a 3-2 win Thursday that sent the Marlins to their fifth straight loss.
"When you in this game for a little while, you got a lot of different ways to lose," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "You look at stats and say, 'Why we lose the game? What we do wrong?'"
After Ricky Nolasco threw seven sharp innings and reliever Randy Choate worked the eighth, Guillen summoned Bell to protect a 2-1 lead.
Pitching for the first time in a week, and standing in a steady drizzle, Bell (0-3) couldn't find the plate. He wound up throwing a whopping 46 pitches.
"I felt really good. I felt that my pitches were there. I felt like I threw the pitches where I wanted for the most part. I think 95 percent of the time, I was right where I needed to be," Bell said. "Yeah, I did walk some guys."
Bell's third blown save in five chances during his first year with the Marlins allowed the Mets to finish off a three-game sweep.
"I believe in him," Guillen said of Bell.
"I don't know about tomorrow. I don't think he going to pitch tomorrow. He throw more pitches than Nolasco. But, he's the guy right now," he said. "He's my closer and I'm not going to change my mind until he changes my mind. We have confidence in him and I think he'll be fine."
David Wright drew a leadoff walk in the Mets' ninth and one-out passes to Ike Davis and Josh Thole loaded the bases for Justin Turner, who's 3 for 8 as a pinch hitter this year.
Turner drew a bases-loaded walk in a sensational 13-pitch at-bat to tie it. After a forceout at the plate, Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a one-hopper off the right-field wall for a winning single.
Turner fell behind in the count 0-2 and later fouled off seven pitches before his walk made it 2-all.
"That situation, I think it's what every kid dreams about," Turner said. "Except that they dream about hitting it out of the park, not drawing a walk."
"When you're up there for that long, you kind of get that locked-in feeling," he said. "I don't know if he's ever thrown that many pitches in an inning in his career."
The 46 were indeed the most Bell has thrown in a save situation. In five other outings, he's tossed more.
As for the matchup with Turner, "I thought I'd get him, and then I just pulled on a fastball," Bell said. "That pitch, I wish I could have that one back."
It was the second time this series that the Marlins walked four consecutive batters. Four pitchers combined to do it Tuesday night.
Ramon Ramirez (2-1) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.
Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez and most of the Marlins remained stuck in hitting slumps. Miami scored a total of only six runs during its five-game trip to Washington and Citi Field.
Reyes was hitless in four tries and went 1 for 12 in his first series against his former team. Booed loudly in every at-bat, the fleet leadoff man grounded into a close, inning-ending double play in the eighth with runners at the corners.
Guillen dismissed any notion that Reyes was trying too hard in his return to New York.
"Press? No. He might be a little bit excited," Guillen said. "When you have $200 million in the bank, I ain't going to press for nobody. Pressing is when you have seven kids and you making $60 a day. That's pressing."
Ramirez, the former NL batting champion, also was hitless in four at-bats and is an 0-for-20 rut.
Nolasco allowed one run and five hits in seven innings.
Gaby Sanchez made it 1-all with his first home run of the season, a long drive leading off the Miami third.
Omar Infante hit a leadoff double in the Miami fifth and took third on a bloop single by Giancarlo Stanton — the Marlins had been hitless in their previous 24 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Befitting their recent offensive woes, the Marlins then went ahead without a hit, getting a run when Sanchez bounced into a double play.
Ramirez, Reyes and Stanton all had early fielding problems. Stanton dropped a long fly to right field by Nieuwenhuis leading off the Mets' first for a triple and Ruben Tejada followed with a sacrifice fly.
Wright later grounded a double down the third base line past Ramirez. The converted shortstop tapped his glove when the ball was hit, anticipating a play, but let it get past him. A trainer came from the dugout to check if Ramirez was OK.
In the second, Reyes seemed to nonchalantly chase a soft liner by Davis. The ball glanced off the All-Star shortstop's glove and was ruled a single.
NOTES: The Marlins fell to 2-5 in one-run games. ... Miami C Brett Hayes stole the first base of his career.