Following the win, the Marlins’ players and coaches circled the pitcher’s mound in a display of unity, standing shoulder to shoulder while Giancarlo Stanton delivered a speech and the crowd chanted “Jo-se! Jo-se!” The players then removed their caps, leaving them on the mound while many Mets remained in the dugout, watching in silence.
“I’m just proud of our guys, just the way they hung together,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “It was not scripted. No one tells you how to handle it. There’s nothing that tells you how to handle it. They just stuck together and went out and played. I think they really wanted to honor Jose the way he played and how he went about things — just that joy that he had when he played, that confidence and that energy. I really think that was the focus of these guys, honoring him.”
On a night when Fernandez was expected to start, the Marlins used a team effort to improve their record to 78-78, while the Mets, who hold the top National League Wild Card spot, had their lead over the idle Giants shrink to a half-game. Miami, meanwhile, gained ground, but still has an elimination number of two.
“Most definitely the most difficult game I ever played in,” Gordon said. “I just kept looking over and for [Fernandez’s] name. How does he not show up here today? Every time I see his number, his name, I keep hearing his voice. Honestly, selfishly, I wanted him to say, ‘I got y’all.’ I keep waiting on that moment.”
With all of their players wearing No. 16 Fernandez jerseys, the Marlins clearly had their ace on their minds. Reliever David Phelps, who worked a clean seventh inning, slumped behind the mound and touched the painted No. 16 before heading to the Marlins’ dugout. After Gordon lifted a flyout to right to end the seventh inning, he received a warm hug from Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes, a native of Cuba, like Fernandez.
Marlins win, honor Fernandez
NYM@MIA: Marlins win and pay respects to Fernandez
A.J. Ramos retires Curtis Granderson to seal the win and the Marlins players gather around the mound to honor Jose Fernandez
“I’ve had nothing but hard feelings, strong feelings, for all those guys across the diamond since yesterday, since I heard the news,” Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud said. “I really couldn’t imagine what it would be like to lose any one of my brothers here in the dugout. It was a really hard game today to even step on the diamond and see all of them.”
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 27, 2016
The Mets, after falling behind by seven runs, got on the board in the fifth on Asdrubal Cabrera‘s two-run double off Brian Ellington. New York also loaded the bases with one out in the sixth inning, but Hunter Cervenka struck out Lucas Duda looking and right-hander Dustin McGowan retired pinch-hitter Kelly Johnson on a fielder’s choice to short.
McGowan leaves bases full
NYM@MIA: McGowan escapes a bases-loaded jam in 6th
Dustin McGowan comes in from the bullpen and retires Kelly Johnson to strand the bases loaded in the top of the 6th inning
After an emotional pregame ceremony that featured a moment of silence, a video tribute of Fernandez and players from both teams embracing at home plate and near the mound, the Marlins jumped out quickly against Mets starter Bartolo Colon, who worked just 2 1/3 innings, giving up seven runs on eight hits.
Bour gets comforted
NYM@MIA: Bour gets comforted by Cabrera
Asdrubal Cabrera reaches first base, then sympathetically comforts Justin Bour after an emotional pregame ceremony
Gordon had a season-high four hits, and Bour collected his first career triple, falling a home run shy of the first cycle in club history.
Bour’s big night
NYM@MIA: Bour provides strong offense in Marlins’ win
Justin Bour goes 3-for-3 with a walk and falls a homer short of the cycle in the Marlins’ victory over the Mets
“I wasn’t worried about how good we were going to play tonight, because I knew we weren’t going to allow this game to get past us like this,” Stanton said. “We were hitting balls from underwater, pretty much. Our eyes were full of water, and the numbers were still there. We found a way to do it, all together.”
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Dee homers, breaks down: Gordon set off a rush of emotions throughout the park with his dramatic homer. The Miami second baseman, visibly shaken over Fernandez’s death, paid tribute in a unique way during his first at-bat. The left-handed hitter stepped to the plate from the right side and took one pitch, a ball, then traded helmets with the bat boy, taking his own helmet. Gordon then returned to the left side, took another ball and walloped a home run to right. The second-deck drive was projected by Statcast™ at 377 feet with an exit velocity of 100 mph.
Must C: Gordon’s leadoff HR
Must C Courage: Emotional Dee Gordon hits leadoff HR
After batting righty on the first pitch, Dee Gordon hits his first home run of the season and tears up as he runs the bases
Tearing up, Gordon was embraced by his teammates and coaches as he broke down in tears in the dugout. It was his first homer of the season, and the fourth leadoff drive of his career, the last coming on Aug. 12, 2015, against the Red Sox.
“It was for [Fernandez], because he loved to hit as much as he loved to pitch,” Gordon said. “I thought that was just my way of showing him that, ‘I love you. I miss you. I’m always going to miss you.'” More >
Bullpen by committee: Adam Conley made the start in place of Fernandez, and the lefty was appearing in his first big league game since he went on the disabled list on Aug. 14 with left third finger tendinitis. Because of his inactivity, the lefty worked just three scoreless innings and was lifted after 45 pitches. The bullpen picked up the remaining six innings, with A.J. Ramos wrapping up the win in a non-save situation.
Conley escapes a jam
NYM@MIA: Conley whiffs Cespedes to escape a jam
Adam Conley strikes out Yoenis Cespedes looking with two runners on to escape a jam in the top of the 3rd inning
“It was Jose’s day to start,” Conley said. “Things just changed so quickly. We’re doing everything we can to stick together and honor the life that he lived.”
Asdrubal stays hot: Cabrera, who reached base four times, including in his first three plate appearances, secured a fourth multihit game in his last seven contests. It was Cabrera’s third game this season reaching base at least four times, despite playing through a strained patellar tendon in his left knee.
Mets pay tribute: The game began with a chilling pregame ceremony, featuring a lone trumpeter playing the drawn-out notes of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” The Marlins held a moment of silence. Both teams then spilled onto the infield, where Mets players offered hugs and handshakes to their counterparts. Cespedes lingered on the field to embrace several Marlins at length.
“This team is first-class,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “Our organization is first-class. I’m very proud of our guys, the way they went about things. They respected, certainly, the night. They respected Jose. And they’ll get ready to play tomorrow.” More >
“This was bigger than baseball tonight. This touched a lot of people. … He touched the game.” — Collins
Mattingly on difficult win
NYM@MIA: Mattingly on emotional win at home
Marlins manager Don Mattingly on an emotional win to honor Jose Fernandez and Dee Gordon’s leadoff home run
“I think it will get easier for us, as time goes, to play, and there are things you see. Myself, driving today, you come across that bridge and turn toward the parking lot, and there’s a big 16 on the building out there, overnight. And you get choked up. I think it’s going to keep happening to all of us, over time. I just keep thinking about the families. For us, it’s one thing. For them, it’s totally different.” — Mattingly
Mets: Noah Syndergaard (13-9, 2.63 ERA) will return to the mound on Tuesday for the first time since coming down with a case of strep throat last week. The Mets wound up pushing the right-hander’s start back three days, giving him enough time to regain his strength in advance of the 7:10 p.m. ET start at Marlins Park.
Marlins: Tom Koehler (9-12, 4.02 ERA) will be seeking his first win since Aug. 9, having gone without a victory in eight straight starts. The Marlins have also lost six straight starts with the right-hander on the mound.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Source: Mets News / On night to reflect, Mets out of sync from start