NEW YORK -- Jerry Manuel is confident the New York Mets will one day take their home success on the road.
Until then, the manager sure is enjoying these games at Citi Field.Jeff Francoeur hit a tying, three-run homer in the seventh inning and the Mets rallied to beat the Florida Marlins 7-6 on Sunday, running their home winning streak to eight games.
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Angel Pagan had a two-run single in New York's three-run sixth and scored the go-ahead run when Ike Davis grounded into a double play in the eighth."Right now our offense is a lot better than three or four weeks ago," Pagan said. "We can do more things and I think this comeback helps us. ... We just kept fighting."The Marlins led 5-0 and 6-3 before absorbing their fourth loss in five games. But there is help on the way, with highly touted slugger Mike Stanton scheduled to make his major league debut Tuesday at Philadelphia."I'm happy for the young man to come out and be part of this team and help us," manager Fredi Gonzalez said.Stanton wowed the Marlins during spring training with his power but the 20-year-old outfielder was sent to Double-A Jacksonville for seasoning. He responded by dominating the Southern League, hitting .311 with 21 homers and 52 RBIs in 52 games to earn the promotion to the majors.The Mets improved to 18-4 in their last 22 games at Citi Field. They lead the majors with 22 home wins, including a nine-game winning streak in Queens that spanned from April 22 to May 8."This was one of those games that tests your character," catcher Rod Barajas said. "That tells you what you're all about. That was an awesome win being down 5-0 early."Pedro Feliciano (2-2) struck out Chris Coghlan with runners on first and second to end the eighth, and Francisco Rodriguez finished for his 12th save in 15 opportunities. Cody Ross struck out with a runner on second to end the game."Those guys kept battling and they never let up and they were relentless," Ross said. "They obviously wanted a sweep and they got it."Ross hit a three-run homer and Dan Uggla also went deep for Florida. Coghlan went 2 for 5 and is batting .500 (17 for 34) in his last eight games, but struck out three times.Francoeur hit a 1-2 pitch from Wood into the seats in left for his sixth homer, tying it at 6 and delighting the crowd of 36,612."I know this is a big yard but I knew I got that one," said Francoeur, who is batting .500 (18 for 36) during his 10-game hitting streak. "I was sure nothing was going to stop it."Pagan started the winning rally with a leadoff walk against Clay Hensley (1-2). He went to third on Bay's single to left and scampered home when Davis hit a sharp grounder to shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who made a nice play to start the double play.Curiously, Gonzalez kept his middle infielders back even though the go-ahead run was on third base with nobody out.Manuel put Pagan in motion on the full-count pitch to Bay, and the move paid off."We've been taking chances and our baserunners are making good reads," Manuel said. "We felt like if it's a breaking ball we might get a stolen base. The only thing you worry about is hitting a line drive at somebody, but with people moving around it's a lot harder to hit a line drive at someone. If you do, you just tip your cap."Ricky Nolasco allowed three runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings for the Marlins, getting pulled after just 82 pitches. He lobbied Gonzalez to let him stay in but the manager was undeterred."Some of the pitches early on were not as sharp as we wanted to see," Gonzalez said.David Wright had three hits off Nolasco, improving his career batting average against the right-hander to .386 (17 for 44).Gonzalez tweaked his lineup for the series finale, hoping a return to the leadoff spot would help Ramirez snap out of his funk. The results were mixed; last year's NL batting champ went 0 for 2 with three walks and is stuck in a 1-for-12 rut.Uggla, batting third in Ramirez's usual spot, led off the fourth with his 13th homer, driving an 0-2 pitch from Hisanori Takahashi into the seats in left. It was his fifth of the year against the Mets.
It was Ramirez's first time in the leadoff spot since Sept. 27, 2008, at Shea Stadium, according to STATS LLC. ... New York C Omir Santos was optioned to Double-A Binghamton after the game. ... Manuel wouldn't rule out moving RHP John Maine (shoulder weakness) to the bullpen when he comes off the disabled list. ... Gonzalez said reliever Renyel Pinto (strained left hip) could rejoin the team next weekend.