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Shea La Vie -- Marlins End Mets Season, 4-2, In Final Game at Shea Stadium

BY CLARK SPENCER

cspencer@MiamiHerald.com

            

            NEW YORK – None of the Marlins were alive when Shea Stadium was born in 1964. But every one of them saw it die, helping to write the final chapter on the stadium – and the New York Mets season – with a 4-2 victory on Sunday.

            One year after the Marlins knocked out the Mets on the final day of the season, they did it again in what proved to be the final game at Shea. The Mets were eliminated from the National League wild card race when they lost and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs.

Wes Helms and Dan Uggla connected on back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning, snapping a 2-2 tie and breaking the hearts of 56,059 Mets fans on hand to witness the bitter end of the stadium and the Mets season.

With both the Mets and Brewers playing simultaneously, fans in both ballparks reacted every time their scoreboards flashed fresh scoring updates. At Miller Park in Milwaukee, the crowd roared with delight when the Marlins went on top in the eighth. Moments later, the sell-out crowd at Shea groaned when the Brewers took the lead over the Cubs.

The score was 2-2 when Helms was sent up as a pinch-hitter to lead off the eighth against reliever Scott Schoeneweis, one member of a maligned Mets bullpen that has hurt New York this season.

Helms, who had not homered since June 15, went in for Mike Jacobs and belted a 1-1 pitch into the left-field bleachers for his fifth home run. Uggla then cracked his 32nd home run on a 3-2 pitch from Luis Ayala.

Matt Lindstrom, a former Mets minor-leaguer, preserved the win for the Marlins, retiring Ryan Church on deep fly ball to center.

            The Marlins ended up taking two out of three from the Mets in the series and, at 84-77, finished with the third-best record in franchise history. For the second year in a row, the Mets finished in second to the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East.

Scott Olsen and Oliver Perez engaged in a scoreless pitching duel through five innings before the Marlins finally broke through in the sixth. Oliver was pitching on only three days’ rest, just as Johan Santana did Saturday when he delivered a three-hit shutout.

            Cameron Maybin opened the inning with a double and scored on a broken-bat single by John Baker. After the Marlins loaded the bases, reliever Joe Smith walked Josh Willingham to force in a run and make it 2-0.

            But the lead was short-lived.

Carlos Beltran tied it with a two-run homer after pinch-hitter Robinson Cancel drew a leadoff walk.

The Marlins played without All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who was out with a stiff shoulder that he injured Saturday while diving for a ground ball.

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