came oh-so close to hitting a go-ahead grand slam in his long-awaited return to the
New York Mets
left no doubt when they connected for the
Thanks to mammoth two-run homers from Ramirez and Maybin, the Marlins kept up their surprising playoff push Tuesday night
with a 4-2 victory over the Mets.
''We know we have to win every day, but we don't try to put a lot of pressure on us,'' Ramirez said. ''We stay in the race.
That's all it's about.''
Florida overcame an early exit by injured starter
and remained six games behind first-place Philadelphia in the NL East. The Marlins, who opened the season with a major league-low
$37 million payroll, are 5 1/2 behind Colorado for the NL wild card.
Beltran was back in the Mets' lineup after missing 70 games, and he brought a sparse crowd to its feet in the seventh inning.
His bases-loaded drive to right field was caught a step or two in front of the fence by
, preserving Florida's 4-2 lead.
''I just got under that one,'' Beltran said. ''Today I felt like a kid in the playground, like when I take my daughter to
the playground. She's having fun and that's how I felt today. I felt good.''
worked a perfect eighth and
got three quick outs for his 19th save, bouncing back from a miserable outing in Washington. The right-hander threw five pitches
Sunday and gave up two homers, allowing the lowly Nationals to rally from three runs down for a 5-4 victory.
''He did a nice job. Closers, they've got to have short-term memories. He seems to do that,'' Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez
said. ''I thought he pitched today. I thought he did a nice job pitching instead of just throwing. Hopefully he can get better
(4-1) tossed two scoreless innings for the win. VandenHurk left with a 4-1 lead after the fourth because of a stiff back.
He is day to day.
''Just some tightness. I'll be fine,'' VandenHurk said. ''I'm pretty sure it's not going to be anything serious.''
Sidelined since June 22 with a bone bruise on his right knee, Beltran was activated from the disabled list before the game
and finished 1 for 4 with a fly-ball double to left. He also made a smooth, sliding catch in center.
''It will probably take him a few games to really find his rhythm at the plate,'' manager
said. ''I think once that starts he will get on track, so to speak. He looked pretty good.''
Trailing by two, New York tried to rally against Sanches in the seventh. Three singles loaded the bases for
, who struck out. Beltran's long fly left the Mets 4 for 55 (.073) with the bases loaded and two outs this season.
''When he hit it, I thought he got it,'' Sanches said. ''My first thought was that it was going to hit our hotel.''
New York was 34-33 when Beltran went down, only two games out of first place in the NL East. Also missing
for the entire stretch, the Mets went 28-42 without Beltran and fell to fourth place.
Even with Beltran batting behind him for the first time in 2 1/2 months, Wright had a terrible night. He struck out twice,
grounded into an inning-ending double play and stranded five runners. He made an error at third base and botched another grounder
that was ruled a hit.
Ramirez, the NL's leading hitter, drove a pitch from
(2-5) to left in the third. The shot appeared to clip the bottom of a sign that hangs from the facade of the second deck.
Maybin connected off Redding in the fourth after Ross' double, a drive that sailed over the home run apple nestled behind
the 408 sign on the center-field fence.
It was the third career homer for Florida's prized outfield prospect - and first since he was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans
on Aug. 31.
''I don't think we've even seen half the stuff he can do,'' Gonzalez said.
hit a sacrifice fly for the Mets in the fourth, his first major league RBI.
tripled in the fifth and scored on
's infield single.
NOTES: Florida leadoff batter
went 0 for 4 with a walk, ending his 14-game hitting streak. ... Pagan has nine triples, all since July 11.