MIAMI (AP) — When the Miami Marlins returned home from a trip at 4:30 a.m. Friday, the New York Mets were waiting for them.
The Mets arrived earlier because they had Thursday off, while the Marlins are in a stretch of playing on 20 consecutive days. But the home team declined to blame the grueling travel schedule after a 5-3 loss to New York.
“That’s part of it, man,” left fielder Christian Yelich said. “No excuses. Stuff happens. That’s not why we lost tonight.”
Yelich hit a two-run homer to tie the game in the sixth inning, but Jose Reyes had his first three-hit game since joining the Mets early this month and scored twice, and teammate James Loney hit a two-run homer in the ninth.
The Mets closed within a half-game of second-place Miami in the NL East.
Adam Conley gave up two runs in six innings for the Marlins. They managed just two hits in the first five innings, but manager Don Mattingly declined to blame a lack of sleep for the sluggish start.
“I thought we were really good,” Mattingly said. “Adam battled and we got back into the game. You always want rest, but we’re not going to make excuses. We had a chance to win that game.”
The Mets’ Jeurys Familia gave up an RBI single to pinch-hitter Martin Prado in the ninth before retiring Adeiny Hechavarria with two on for his 50th consecutive save, including 34 this season to lead the majors.
David Phelps (4-5) allowed the run that put the Mets ahead to stay in the seventh.
Reyes drove in a run, stole a base and scored on two sacrifice flies by Yoenis Cespedes. The Mets’ new leadoff hitter had two hits from the right side and one from the left, and even reached on a strikeout thanks to a passed ball.
“He’s like a can of Red Bull balled up into a human being,” teammate Logan Verrett said, “and that’s something we were lacking.”
Verrett took a shutout into the sixth but departed after giving up Yelich’s 10th homer. Hansel Robles (5-3) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings.
“They were keeping us off balance,” Yelich said. “We had to battle tonight and came up short.”
Reyes led off the game with a double, stole third and scored on Cespedes’ flyout. Reyes’ two-out RBI single in the fourth put the Mets ahead 2-0, and he scored on another sacrifice fly by Cespedes in the seventh for a 3-2 lead.
It was the kind of performance the Mets envisioned from the 33-year-old Reyes when they signed him, manager Terry Collins said.
“This guy produces runs,” Collins said. “He gets on base, he gets in scoring position. I realize that even though he is fast, he is probably a step slower than he was five years ago. But he’s still a great baserunner, and he creates havoc on the bases.”
Reyes raised his average to .250 and made a fine play at third base to rob Hechavarria.
“I never stopped believing in what I can do on the field when someone gives me an opportunity,” he said. “I’m going to continue to get better.”
The game was Reyes’ first at Marlins Park since he played for Miami in 2012, when he and the team endured a rocky season. He downplayed the significance of his return.
“It doesn’t mean anything,” he said. “It was another game.”
The Marlins’ Ichiro Suzuki struck out on three pitches in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and remained four hits shy of 3,000.
Marlins: 1B Justin Bour (sprained ankle) is expected to start doing work on the field this weekend and might be ready for a rehab assignment early next week.
Marlins All-Star Jose Fernandez (11-4, 2.53) is scheduled to start Saturday against Jacob deGrom (6-4, 2.38), who pitched a one-hit shutout against the Phillies in his most recent outing.
“If you’re a baseball fan and you love the game, Saturday night’s game is a game you’d want to come and see,” Collins said.
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