Estes, a very talented pitcher whose main problem has been loss of concentration and control, saw that problem arise again in the second inning when he walked two consecutive hitters and then hit Cliff Floyd with a pitch to load the bases. Derrek Lee then hit a rising line drive that deflected off of Mets third baseman Edgardo Alfonzo's glove and into short left field, allowing the two baserunners to score and make it 4-0.
There looked like there might be some late July 4 fireworks when Marlins starter Michael Tejera hit Mike Piazza in the back with a pitch. Piazza calmly picked up the ball and tossed it back to Tejera as he jogged to first base. The home plate umpire immediately warned both sides, but the Mets weren't able to gain any momentum as Tejra retired John Valentin to get out of the inning.
Estes was taken out after the fifth inning, replaced by Bobby J. Jones. Jones gave up a leadoff double to Andy Fox. Tejera sacrificed Fox to third and then former Yankee prospect Homer Bush's fielder's choice allowed Fox to score and make it a 5-0 deficit.
Bad baserunning also hurt the Mets. Joe McEwing ran the Mets out of an inning in the third, when after he singled to break a hitless streak dating abck to May 25, he took off on a hit and run play, but didn't pick up the Rey Ordonez fly ball and the fact that Floyd made a sliding catch of the ball, and was approaching third base before the thought to look back and realize that he was about to be doubled up. Ordonez also did some stupid baserunning in the sixth, when after he singled and advanced to second on a sacrifice, he was then picked off by Tejera as he was leaning towards third. Bobby Valentine took off his hat in the dugout and ran his hands through his hair at that, showing obvious frustration.
Tejera was obviously laboring by the seventh inning, but the Mets were unable to take advantage of the situation until the eighth, when Roberto Alomar hit a two-run home run to get the Mets on the board. The Marlins brough in Braden Looper though, and he neutralized the Mets through the rest of the inning.
Vladimir Nunez came in for the Marlins in the ninth to close it, but after walking two hitters, he was yanked for Armando Alamanza, who struck out two hitters to end the game.
Notes-Since Tejera is notoriously tough on left-handed hitters, Mo Vaughn was not in the starting lineup. He pinch-hit for Ordonez in the ninth, with two men on and struck out.
-Jaime Cerda continued his bid to make the Mets bullpen with a scoreless eighth inning
-Sunday's game, which will conclude the four-game series will have Pedro Astacio (8-3, 3.09 against Brad Penny (3-3, 5.09 E.R.A.), who is making his second start after a lengthy stay on the disabled list.
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