August 29, 2008: Beltran Slams Marlins in 9th

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Date: August 29, 2008
Mets starter: Oliver Perez
Mets: 5
Marlins: 4
Winning pitcher: Joe Smith
Key player(s): Carlos Beltran
Key play: Beltran’s grand slam

The Mets and Marlins faced each other on a Friday night. The teams began a three-game series at Dolphin Stadium in Miami. Carlos Beltran hit a grand slam in the ninth inning to lift the Mets to a 5-4 win over Florida.

Jose Reyes singled to open the top of the first inning. Reyes stole second base and advanced to third on a bunt single by Luis Castillo. Marlins’ starter Chris Volstad struck out David Wright as Castillo stole second and issued a walk to Carlos Delgado. Beltran hit a sacrifice fly to drive home Reyes with the first run of the game. Volstad retired Ryan Church on an inning-ending pop-up to third baseman Wes Helms. Mets’ starter Oliver Perez then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Volstad shut down the Mets in the top of the second. Leading off the bottom of the inning, Josh Willingham homered to tie the game. Perez set down the next three Florida hitters and Wright got a one-out single in the top of the third. Delgado hit a force play ground ball to second baseman Dan Uggla and a single by Beltran ensued. Volstad then threw a called third strike past Church to finish off the inning.

Volstad reached on an error by shortstop Reyes to begin the bottom of the third. Hanley Ramirez drew a walk and Paul Lo Duca bunted into a force play on which Volstad advanced to third base. A sacrifice fly by Jorge Cantu plated Volstad to put the Marlins ahead, 2-1. Perez then got Helms to hit a force play grounder to Reyes for the third out of the inning.

From the fourth inning to the sixth, Perez and Volstad each pitched scoreless ball. Brian Schneider got an infield single with one out in the top of the seventh. Volstad walked pinch-hitter Damion Easley and Florida reliever Joe Nelson issued a walk to Reyes to load the bases. Castillo followed with a ground ball on which Helms threw to catcher Lo Duca for an out at home on Schneider. Nelson fanned Wright to close out the inning. For the Mets, Brian Stokes retired the Fish 1-2-3 in the bottom half. Marlins’ relievers Arthur Rhodes and Matt Lindstrom combined for a scoreless top of the eighth. Mets’ reliever Joe Smith then shut down Florida in the bottom of the inning.

For the Fish, reliever Kevin Gregg retired the first two batters in the top of the ninth. With the Mets down to their final out, Castillo singled to center field. Wright followed with a single to left and Delgado was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Beltran hit a grand slam that gave the Mets a 5-2 lead. Gregg then retired Fernando Tatis on a fly ball to right fielder Jeremy Hermida to end the inning.

Hermida singled against Mets’ reliever Luis Ayala with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Ayala struck out pinch-hitter John Baker and gave up an infield single to Ramirez. Pinch-hitter Mike Jacobs hit a single that scored Hermida and moved Ramirez to third base. Cantu doubled to drive home Ramirez and cut the Mets’ lead to one run. Ayala then retired Helms on a ground ball to Reyes for the game’s final out. The Mets had an amazing comeback victory.