It started with a bobble.
For six innings, Jeremy Hefner had held the Marlins in check, allowing just one run to keep the Mets’ string of strong starts intact. In the seventh, when he turned the game over to the bullpen, everything seemed to fall apart, beginning with Ruben Tejada mishandling a ground ball.
That led to a five-run inning for the Marlins, and their first win of the season, as Miami held off the Mets, 7-5, Friday night in front of an announced crowd of 24,935 at Citi Field.
It was the second straight loss for the Mets (2-2) and the first time this season the Marlins (1-3) had scored more than one run in a game.
Hefner, a 27-year-old righthander, gave up the one run on a second-inning home run by Marlins first baseman Greg Dobbs and scattered five hits and two walks while striking out three. He held up his end for a rotation that has put together a 1.38 ERA over 26 innings in four games.
But then things began to fall apart.
The Mets turned to righty reliever Greg Burke, a submariner whose job is to produce ground balls. That is exactly what he did against Donovan Solano, coaxing him into what should have been a routine ground-out to shortstop to start the inning. But Tejada bobbled the ball, giving the Marlins’ second baseman time to beat it out.
It was the third error of the season already for Tejada, who came into spring training looking out of shape and has struggled ever since. Tejada left without speaking to reporters Friday night, but Terry Collins admitted there have been some moments where the shortstop has not looked good. “We’ll just keep getting him ready,” the manager said. “I know he’s gonna get better.”