MIAMI (AP) – Gaby Sanchez is quietly keeping his name in the race for the NL Rookie of the Year Award.
His performance Tuesday night will be tough to ignore.
Sanchez hit a tie-breaking three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Florida Marlins a 5-2 victory over the New York Mets.
“The award is the last thing I’m thinking about,” Sanchez insisted.
Following his three-hit night, Sanchez is hitting .283 with 19 home runs and 81 RBIs, all among the rookie leaders.
“It has been a tremendous season for Gaby, and he keeps putting the numbers up there,” Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “He’s been outstanding. Sometimes you forget he’s a rookie; he’s been very, very consistent.”
The loss officially eliminated the Mets from playing in the postseason.
“It would have been a long shot,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “Once we lost the three to the Braves that made it a difficult thing to do.”
The Mets have not been to the postseason since 2006 when they won the NL East.
“It’s disappointing, we had our chances, but for whatever reason – injury, poor performance, poor execution – we really shot ourselves in the foot the second half and weren’t able to keep up that pace that we had in the first half,” Mets third baseman David Wright said.
Jose Veras (3-2) worked one inning and picked up the win despite losing the lead in the top of the eighth.
Clay Hensley pitched a scoreless ninth for his fourth save in seven chances.
Marlins rookie Adalberto Mendez allowed one run and scattered 10 hits over seven innings. He was helped by his defense, which turned three double plays for him.
“We turned double plays when we had to and Mendez made his pitches when he had to,” Rodriguez said.
With two outs in the eighth, Manuel brought in Elmer Dessens (3-2) to relieve Pedro Feliciano to face Hanley Ramirez, who lined a single to center as did Dan Uggla . Sanchez then drilled a 1-2 pitch over the left-field wall for his 19th homer.
“When I hit, I knew I hit it really good,” Sanchez said. “And when I saw the flight of it, I knew I had gotten it.”
The Marlins took a 2-1 lead in the seventh thanks to a fielding error by Wright. He made up for the error by hitting his 25th homer off Veras to tie the game.
“It’s an error, it’s part of the game, but it happens so you forget about it,” Wright said. “You can’t take your offense out defensively with you and you can’t take your defense up to the plate with you.”
Lucas Duda homered in the second to give the Mets a 1-0 lead, but an RBI groundout by Chad Tracy in the bottom half of the inning tied the game.
Mets starter Mike Pelfrey allowed two runs – one earned – and five hits in seven innings. He struck out four.
“Ever since my debut they have kicked the heck out of me so it was enough motivation to come in here, want to pitch well, and want to beat them, but unfortunately it didn’t work out,” Pelfrey said.
Notes: Wright leads NL 3Bs with 20 errors. … Mets SS Jose Reyes’ triple in the third inning set a team record as he hit safely in 23 consecutive road games breaking Keith Hernandez’s mark of 22 set in 1986-87. Mets RHP Bobby Parnell has been ruled out for the season after an MRI revealed he has an inflamed right elbow.