Just when they needed him most, Jeremy Hefner pitched a lights-out game for the Mets with eight shutout innings, but was betrayed by another ninth-inning collapse in a 2-1 loss to the Miami Marlins, which extended their losing streak to six games. Pinch-hitter Chris Coghlan led off the ninth with a single, took second on a passed ball by catcher Anthony Recker, advanced to third on umpire Tim McClelland’s blown call and scored on Donovan Solano’s single. The Marlins scored the game-winner on Brandon Lyon’s run-producing wild pitch, a ball Recker should have blocked.
ON THE MOUND: Hefner encored his strong start last Thursday (one run in seven innings against the Dodgers) by going eight scoreless innings, giving up four hits and no walks with eight strikeouts. Hefner told reporters after the game on dealing with the disappointment: “I go back to what the definition of a starting pitcher is which is go nine innings and give the team a chance to win the game. … I wish I could have finished.’’… Lyon assumed the closer role after Bobby Parnell pitched two innings the previous night.
AT THE PLATE: Daniel Murphy broke a 1-for-20 slide with a leadoff double in the fifth off Marlins starter Kevin Slowey, took third on a fly ball and scored on Recker’s sacrifice fly. … Murphy was dropped to fifth in the order. … Five Mets in the batting order are hitting .250 or below. … The Mets have scored four or fewer runs in eight of their last nine games.
WRIGHT PLAYS: Wright did not start Monday because of a stiff neck, but appeared as a pinch-hitter and struck out. Wright said he wasn’t sure if he would play tonight, but a decision was made after batting practice. Wright was hitless in four at-bats and his average dropped to .294.
BLOWN UMP CALL OF THE GAME: It seems as if every game has one, and tonight’s came at a most inopportune time for the Mets. Replays showed third base umpire McClelland missed Wright’s tag when Coghlan over slid third base on Juan Pierre’s bunt attempt. Coghlan scored on Solano’s single to right and defeat was merely pitches away.
WHEELER OUTSTANDING: Zack Wheeler produced his best start of the season for Triple-A Las Vegas, as he gave up one run on five hits in 6.2 innings. He struck out eight, but more importantly walked only one, and that was the last batter he faced. Two or three more starts like today and the Mets might be seeing Wheeler sooner than later.
METS MATTERS: Shaun Marcum, who volunteered to pitch in relief Monday, said he should be able to make Friday’s start in Atlanta. Marcum didn’t endear himself to the Mets’ hierarchy by not reporting to spring training in top shape, but should have made some points last night. … John Buck, who caught 15 innings Monday, had the night off. He finished the month with nine homers and 25 RBI.
BY THE NUMBERS: The Mets started their 22nd different lineup in 25 games.
THEY SAID IT: “I’m pissed off. I’m extremely pissed off. … You have to get out here and act like a pro and play tomorrow.’’ – Manager Terry Collins after tonight’s late-inning collapse.
ON DECK: Dillon Gee (1-4. 5.96) goes against lefty Wade LeBlanc (0-4, 6.20), tomorrow at 12:40 p.m. … The Mets are off Thursday, and start a three-game series in Atlanta, Friday. Marcum, Jon Niese and Matt Harvey are scheduled to start for the Mets.