Gordon homers leading off as Marlins mourn Fernandez
ABS-CBN Sports on Sep 27, 2016 09:37 AM
Miami Marlins players wearing a jersey in honor of pitcher Jose Fernandez (16) gather around the pitching mound before a baseball game against the New York Mets, Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, in Miami. Fernandez died in a boating accident Sunday. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
MIAMI (AP) — Dee Gordon and the Miami Marlins wore their emotions on the sleeves of their No. 16 jerseys.
Jose Fernandez would have loved it.
Gordon homered leading off the first inning for the Marlins, who totaled 14 hits and mixed cheers with the tears of the past two days by beating the New York Mets 7-3 on Monday night in their first game since Fernandez died in a boating accident.
"We were hitting balls underwater pretty much," slugger Giancarlo Stanton said. "Our eyes were full of water."
Adam Conley pitched three scoreless innings subbing for Fernandez, who had been scheduled to make his final start of the year. Justin Bour went 3 for 3 and Gordon had four hits, including one that will go down in Marlins lore.
Paying tribute to their charismatic ace, the left-handed-hitting Gordon stepped to the plate as a righty leading off the first. After one pitch, Gordon switched to his customary left side, and pulled a 2-0 delivery from Bartolo Colon into the upper deck for his first homer of the season.
The improbable clout brought tears, even from Gordon. He began crying as he circled the bases.
"It seemed like it took forever," he said. "I was trying to get back to my teammates as fast as possible. I was just wondering why Jose wasn't there standing on the top step cheering for me."
After crossing the plate Gordon tapped his chest and waved toward the sky, and sobbed as teammates hugged him in the dugout.
Stanton said the homer from Gordon was unbelievable but easy to explain.
"Pure emotion," Stanton said. "There's no other way it could be scripted, unless you're in a movie rewriting everything that just happened."
Even the Mets appreciated what Gordon's homer meant.
"I saw him crying when he rounded first base," Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud said. "I was crying too."
Each of the Marlins wore black jerseys bearing Fernandez's No. 16 and name, a tribute they had suggested. Stanton delivered an emotional speech as the entire team gathered at the mound moments before the game, and then contributed a hit, a run and a running, lunging backhanded catch in right field to rob Jay Bruce.
Colon (14-8), mourning Fernandez's death himself, allowed a season-high seven runs in 2 1/3 innings.
"It was very difficult for everything they're going through," Colon said through an interpreter. "It's very difficult for me, too, because it was someone that I had some sort of relationship with. Jose looked up to me, and we got along well."
New York still leads the NL wild-card race with five games to go.
The NL Central-champion Cubs beat the Pirates 12-2 in Pittsburgh, with Javier Baez hitting a grand slam and driving in a career-high six runs to help Chicago win its 100th game of the season — the first time it has reached triple digest in victories since 1935.
All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos left Washington's 14-4 loss to Arizona with a right knee injury that could be a major blow to the NL East champions.
Ramos landed awkwardly on his right leg after jumping to catch a relay throw in the sixth inning. This loss left the Nationals one game ahead of the Dodgers for home-field advantage in the series.
Cleveland clinched the AL Central title, overcoming an injury to ace right-hander Corey Kluber in a 7-4 victory over the Tigers at Detroit.
Kluber left after four innings with right groin tightness, joining Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar in a group of talented Cleveland pitchers dealing with injuries. But even those concerns were secondary when the Indians poured onto the field to celebrate their first division title since 2007.
Buck Farmer (0-1) allowed four runs in five innings for the Tigers, who fell two games behind Baltimore for the second AL wild card.
The Milwaukee Brewers beat the Rangers 8-3, dropping AL West-champion Texas a half-game behind Boston in the race for the league's best record. The Indians pulled within a half-game of the Rangers.
In Houston, Robinson Cano hit his second homer of the game with two outs in the 11th inning to left Seattle to a 4-3 win over the Astros.
Houston scored two runs in the ninth, but then Cano sent a slider from Luke Gregerson (4-3) into the second deck in right field to win.
The victory moves Seattle two games behind Baltimore for the second AL wild card and drops Houston to 3 1/2 games back in the race
Mark Teixeira hit a tying homer in the ninth inning and Aaron Hicks added a winning blast as New York avoided a four-game sweep with a 7-5 win over the Blue Jays in Toronto.
In other AL games, the Chicago White Sox had a 7-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels beat Oakland 2-1 for their fifth win in six games.