Replacement Mets lead way in wild 12-inning win over Marlins

The Syracuse Mets aren’t just a Triple-A team anymore.

After an unthinkable 16 Mets have landed on the injury list, the running joke is that the Triple-A affiliate moved its entire starting lineup to the major leagues. Well, three of those Syracuse alums earned their MLB stripes Friday by saving the Mets from what would have been a new injury designation — gut punch — and sparking a 6-5, 12-inning win at loanDepot park in Miami.

Jake Hager and Khalil Lee each recorded his first career major league hit in the 12th inning and Johneshwy Fargas followed with a triple to erase the pain of a blown lead by the bullpen and an inexplicable base-running blunder by veteran Jonathan Villar.

Hager singled to put runners on the corners with no outs in the 12th before Lee — who had struck out in each of his first eight career at-bats — broke through with a tie-breaking double into the right-field corner. Fargas followed with a sinking liner that got away from the diving Adam Duvall in right and became a two-run triple to open up a 6-3 lead.

Nothing came easy, however, as the Marlins scored twice in the bottom half of the frame before Jacob Barnes’ one-out save.

Khalil Lee drives in the go-head run for the Mets in the 12th inning on Friday night.
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Hours earlier, Marcus Stroman provided the necessary quality start to take some of the sting out of Pete Alonso (right hand strain) and reliever Tommy Hunter (lower back pain) heading to the IL. Stroman escaped a second-inning jam in which the Marlins had two men in scoring position with no outs by allowing just one run, before settling into a groove.

Stroman retired 10 of the last 12 batters he faced, but was pulled after issuing a walk — his first of the game — on his 89th pitch to start the seventh. The questionable decision backfired when Miguel Castro surrendered a game-tying two-run home run to Garrett Cooper that negated Stroman’s six-hit six-inning quality start.

The longer the game went, the more it seemed as if both teams forgot how to capitalize.

Cooper, a former Yankee, had a chance to be an even bigger spoiler, but he struck out with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth. Trevor May fired a 97-mile-per-hour fastball on his season-high 32nd pitch to win the battle on a full count.

The Marlins also failed to score after putting two on with no outs in the ninth and with a runner on third with one out in both the 10th and 11th innings. The Mets loaded the bases with two outs in the 10th, but Villar grounded out. Villar then became the ghost runner to start the 11th, but he was picked off of third base with no outs.

Pushing Stroman to go deeper in the game felt viable given the fact the Mets have two question marks as starters for the rest of the series — likely to be filled by a collection of relievers and minor league call-ups — and Stroman’s spot as the Mets’ temporary ace while Jacob deGrom and Taijuan Walker are on the shelf.

Francisco Lindor and the Mets won a wild Friday night.

The Marlins used six pitchers in the first six innings and 10 in the game. The empty bullpen forced pitcher Adam Cimber to hit with two on and two out in the bottom of the 11th — and he lifted a soft liner to right field that could’ve won the game if not for Cameron Maybin’s tracking speed.

Cimber returned to the mound and lost the battles to Hager, Lee and Fargas, all of whom have been called up because of the Mets’ rash of injuries.

Most of the Mets’ offense was a first-inning creation of Francisco Lindor, who entered the game hitting .127 on the road. He followed up an RBI double into the right-field corner with a decision purists would hate — risking the third out at third base.

Lindor tagged up at second base on a fly out, and center fielder Magneuris Sierra’s throw to third bounced away and rolled into the dugout. An excited Lindor popped up from his slide and trotted home with a two-out run.

That was the Mets’ last baserunner until Dom Smith’s one-out walk in the fourth. Tomas Nido’s bat stayed hot, with an RBI double into left field — his sixth hit in 11 at-bats — as the Mets opened up a 3-1 lead. It was part of a big two-way night for Nido, who threw out two attempted base stealers, including the previously perfect (8-for-8) Jazz Chisholm.

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