Marlins drop three games behind in wild-card race

NEW YORK (AP) -- On his way to the outfield before Tuesday
night's game, New York Mets left fielder Cliff Floyd bumped into
Florida Marlins starter A. J. Burnett.

"He said, "Y'all are in trouble tonight," Floyd said. "Then
he pitches a no-hitter for six innings and I thought, `You know
what? He's right."

The Mets overcame Burnett's brilliant start for a 3-2 victory,
tying it on Floyd's RBI single in the seventh and winning it on
Mike Jacobs' two-out RBI single in the 12th.

The loss dented the Marlins' wild-card hopes.

Florida remained third in the wild-card chase, but with Houston
winning 7-4 at Pittsburgh on Tuesday, the Marlins dropped three
games behind the Astros. Philadelphia's 4-1 loss at Atlanta left
the Phillies two games back.

"It was a great game, wasn't it?" Marlins manager Jack McKeon
said. "If you're a fan that wants to see a lot of excitement and
not much hitting and good pitching, you saw it tonight.

"They're all devastating but you've got to look on the positive
side and say `Hey, he [Burnett] did a great job and maybe he'll
come back."

Burnett had not won a game in a month and had an 8.78 ERA in
September. He was crestfallen by the outcome, a game he said hinged
on one bad pitch to Floyd in the seventh.

"It's not good, man," he said. "Every game counts. Obviously
this one hurts. Make a pitch to Cliff Floyd in that situation and
the ballgame is over in the ninth. You don't even have to worry
about it. One pitch, man. One pitch."

Jacobs drove in David Wright, who had doubled, with the winning

"It was awesome," Jacobs said. "I was happy for the team. It
was a big team win. We pitched well and we had great defense."

Floyd supplied that in the eighth inning when he threw out Jeff
Conine trying to score on a two-out single to left by Juan
Encarnacion. Catcher Mike Piazza held on to the ball despite being
bowled over by Conine, giving Floyd his major league-leading 14th
assist of the season.

"If you have anything on the throw and it's accurate, you've
got a chance," Floyd said.

Wright's two-out double against Brian Moehler (6-10) was the
Mets' third hit of the game and their first since the seventh
inning. After the Marlins intentionally walked Piazza, Jacobs hit a
ball into the right field corner and Wright scored easily.

Aaron Heilman (4-3), the fourth New York pitcher, threw two
innings for the win.

Burnett allowed two hits over eight innings. The Marlins got
home runs from Paul Lo Duca and Carlos Delgado and led 2-1 until
Floyd's tied it.

Lo Duca hit his sixth homer of the season in the second against
Kris Benson, a shot into the largely empty mezzanine section in
left field.

The Mets tied it in the fourth without benefit of a hit. Jose
Reyes, leading off, reached second on a throwing error by rookie
shortstop Robert Andino, stole third and scored on a pitch that
Burnett bounced past Lo Duca.

Delgado broke the tie by leading off the seventh with his 32nd
homer over the fence in right.

Victor Diaz broke up Burnett's no-hit bid with a leadoff double
that dropped just fair down the right field line. He advanced to
third on an infield out and scored when Floyd rattled a single off
the fence in right field. After an error by third baseman Miguel
Cabrera, Burnett retired Piazza and Jacobs to end the inning.

Floyd's single was the first hard-hit ball against Burnett, who
was firing fastballs in the mid-90s and mixing in curves that
dipped into the mid-70s. Unlike his 2001 no-hitter against San
Diego when he walked nine batters, Burnett had superb control. He
struck out nine and walked one.

Benson worked seven innings, allowing four hits.

Game notes
The Marlins had a makeshift infield with Cabrera starting
just his 10th game at third, September callup Andino at shortstop
and minor league manager Mike Mordecai at second. Andino made his
first start at shortstop on Saturday. Mordecai managed in Class-A
this season and has not played in the majors since 2004. ... Reyes'
fourth-inning steal was his 55th, the third-best season total in
Mets history. ... The attendance was announced as 21,275 but it
appeared no more than 10,000 fans were in the ballpark. ...
Florida's Luis Castillo (hamstring) had a pinch single in the
ninth, extending his Shea Stadium hitting streak to 32 games.