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Mets Squander Lead, Lose To Marlins


Todd Zeile is finally making a contribution to his newest team.

Zeile got his second game-winning hit in six days, a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth that gave the Florida Marlins a 5-4 victory over the New York Mets Sunday.

"I feel like I'm helping this team now," said Zeile, whose single in the 17th inning beat Toronto last Monday. "I feel like I exist. For a while I didn't feel like I was doing anything for this team."

Zeile, who came to Florida in a seven-player trade with the Dodgers May 15, is with his sixth team in the past four years.

"He's a professional hitter," Marlins manager Jim Leyland said. "He's smart and knew what we needed and he found the spot."

Despite splitting the four-game series with the last-place Marlins, the Mets were buoyed by Hideo Nomo's stellar outing.

Nomo gave up just four hits in six innings and left with a 4-0 lead, but the Mets bullpen couldn't hold it. Nomo, who struck out seven and walked three, was seeking his first victory since being traded from the Dodgers to the Mets June 4.

"If Nomo pitches like that, he'll be fine, we'll be fine," said Mets manager Bobby Valentine.

Cliff Floyd's two-run homer for Florida capped a four-run burst in the eighth that tied it at 4.

In the ninth, Edgar Renteria singled with two outs for his third hit of the game. Todd Dunwoody followed with a perfect hit-and-run single off John Hudek (0-4) that sent Renteria to third. Zeile, who had an RBI double in the eighth, grounded a single into center field for the victory.

Matt Mantei (2-0) retired one batter in the ninth to pick up his second win in three days against the Mets.

The Marlins trailed 4-0 when John Cangelosi drew a one-out walk from Mel Rojas in the eighth and Renteria hit an RBI double. With two outs, Zeile doubled to make it 4-2.

Brian Bohanon relieved and, after brushing back Floyd with two inside pitches, gave up the tying home run.

"It was my job to get Cliff out, but he beat me today," Bohanon said.

Floyd said the inside pitches motivated him.

"It was sweet," Floyd said. "I was pumped up and was locked in at bat, especially after he thew those two inside pitches."

Edgardo Alfonzo had three hits and drove in three runs, and Luis Lopez had three hits and scored twice for the Mets.

Lopez was hit by a pitch from Livan Hernandez in the second and Alfonzo hit an RBI double with two outs. In the fifth, again with two outs, Nomo got his second hit of the season and Lopez doubled. Both scored on Alfonzo's bloop single, making it 3-0.

Notes

  • Mets catcher Mike Piazza missed his second straight game since straining his shoulder while tagging out Gregg Zaun at home plate Friday night.
    He was available for pinch-hitting Sunday and should be ready to play against the Expos Tuesday. "Obviously, I felt I wasn't 100 percent but could get my bat through the zone," Piazza said. "The day off will be a big difference."
  • Mets outfielder Bernard Gilkey also sat out his second straight game since being hit above his left eye by Ryan Dempster's fastball Friday. Once the swelling goes down, Gilkey will return to action.
  • The Marlins sent infielder Kevin Millar to Triple-A Charlotte as he begins his rehabilitation of a fractured bone in his left hand. He proceeded to hit a grand slam in a 12-9 loss to Columbus.
  • Renteria stole his 20th base of the season.
  • Nomo is 0-5 lifetime against the Marlins in Florida and has not defeated them in his last six decisions dating back to April 20, 1996. Last season, Nomo was 0-4 with an 8.20 ERA vs. Florida.
  • Derek Lee's pinch-hit single in the seventh was his first career pinch-hit after going 0-for-10.
  • Nine of Floyd's 12 homers have come at Pro Player Stadium.

    © 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved

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