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Bryan De La Cruz lifts Miami Marlins over New York Mets, 2-1, in 10 innings with walk-off hit

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MIAMI, Fla. — Bryan De La Cruz had three hits, including a game-winning single off the center-field fence in the bottom of the 10th inning that gave the Miami Marlins a 2-1 victory over the New York Mets on Wednesday night.

Miami starter Sandy Alcantara struck out a career-best 14 and allowed one run in nine innings. The right-hander gave up four hits, walked one and hit a batter with a pitch. His 114 pitches also were a career high.

“Everything was good today – my four-seam, two-seam, slider, changeup,” Alcantara said. “I had a great combination working.”

Automatic runner Jazz Chisholm Jr. advanced to third on Magneuris Sierra’s sacrifice bunt against reliever Edwin Díaz (5-6) in the 10th. Jesús Sánchez struck out before De La Cruz drilled Díaz’s pitch over the head of center fielder Albert Almora Jr.

With two outs and first base open, Mets manager Luis Rojas made the questionable decision to let Díaz face De La Cruz, who raised his batting average to .342, rather than walk him and pitch instead to lefty-swinging Lewin Díaz, a .108 hitter.

“We always like Díaz. You trust your closer there in a matchup righty-righty,” Rojas said. “The one thing that gets Díaz in trouble is his command. We’ve seen that. We went with the matchup and trusted Díaz to get De La Cruz in that situation.”

The move certainly backfired as the third-place Mets (70-70) remained four games behind NL East leader Atlanta, which lost at home to Washington.

New York began the day 3 1/2 back for the league’s second wild card.

“We have to bounce back quickly after a tough loss like this,” Rojas said. “We just have to recover. We can’t hang our heads. We had some chances tonight and didn’t come up with the win.”

For De La Cruz, the game-winning hit helped overcome his previous at-bat, when he grounded into a double play to end the eighth.

“I didn’t come through in the eighth and I had to come through in that moment,” De La Cruz said. “I was just looking for the best pitch, and make contact.”

Anthony Bender (3-2) worked a scoreless 10th. New York’s free runner, Michael Conforto, reached third with two outs but Bender retired pinch-hitter Patrick Mazeika on a soft grounder.

Eight of Alcantara’s strikeouts came after the eighth inning. His fastball was clocked at 100 mph in the ninth.

“That was special tonight. His stuff was filthy,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “That’s about as good as it gets.”

Mets reliever Seth Lugo escaped a bases-loaded jam in the ninth. Alex Jackson hit a one-out double, and Isan Díaz and pinch-hitter Joe Panik walked before Lugo struck out Miguel Rojas and retired Chisholm on a grounder.

Conforto’s shot in the seventh tied it 1-all. Alcantara had limited the Mets to two hits and retired 10 straight before Conforto drilled a changeup into the seats in right-center for his 12th homer.

“You have to wait for the mistake fastball but obviously, he had command, he had stuff tonight,” Conforto said.

New York starter Rich Hill was lifted after six innings. The left-hander allowed one run, five hits, struck out eight and hit a batter with a pitch. Hill remains winless with the Mets since he was acquired from Tampa Bay on July 24.

Jackson’s RBI single in the second gave Miami a 1-0 lead. De La Cruz hit a one-out double, advanced to third on a groundout and scored as Jackson’s line drive got past leaping shortstop Francisco Lindor.

ALCANTARA’S REVENGE

The homer to Conforto was the only costly mistake by Alcantara. When he faced him again in the ninth, Alcantara punctuated his performance by striking out Conforto.

“When I saw him coming to the box, I said, ‘This is the guy. He hit a homer off of me,'” Alcantara said. “I was really focused to get a strikeout and I did.”

UNSUCCESSFUL CHALLENGE

Before Bender escaped the 10th unscathed, the Mets unsuccessfully challenged a pivotal call that Sánchez muffed Javier Baez’s fly ball in foul territory down the right-field line. The call was upheld and Báez ultimately struck out.

“I thought it was and I still think it was (fair),” Rojas said. “I looked at it in replay and it’s really hard to believe it wasn’t reversed to a fair ball. There’s nothing you can do but keep playing the game.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard (Tommy John surgery) has played catch the last couple of days at Citi Field after completing COVID-19 quarantine.

Marlins: 1B Jesús Aguilar (left knee inflammation) was placed on the 10-day injured list. Aguilar was a late scratch Tuesday.

UP NEXT

RHP Marcus Stroman (9-12, 2.93 ERA) will pitch the series finale Thursday for the Mets against LHP Jesús Luzardo (3-3, 7.15).

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Miami Dolphins fans ranked least rowdy fan base in the NFL

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla.  As more and more fans pack NFL stadiums across the country thanks to lessened COVID-19 restrictions, America seems to be embracing the return of parking lot tailgates, and, yes, “rowdy fans.”

However, it seems a South Florida team’s fanbase is lacking in that department.

According to a new survey by Bookies, Miami Dolphins fans rank as the least rowdy fan base in football.

Read more from ABC Miami.

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Miami Dolphins lose fifth straight game, 23-20, to drop to 1-5; Jacksonville Jaguars end 20-game skid with 53-yard FG for London win

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LONDON, U.K. — The Jacksonville Jaguars ended their 20-game losing streak when Matthew Wright kicked a 53-yard field goal as time expired in a 23-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday in London.

Trevor Lawrence connected on a short slant pass to Laviska Shenault Jr. and the Jags (1-5) called timeout with 1 second remaining after the Dolphins (1-5) gambled on a fourth-and-1 from their 46 and came up short.

Lawrence threw for 319 yards and a touchdown as he and coach Urban Meyer finally earned their first NFL victories — even if it required a trip to Europe to get it done in a “home” game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The Dolphins lost their fifth consecutive game, spoiling the return of Tua Tagovailoa, who made his first start in a month. The second-year quarterback threw two touchdown passes to Jaylen Waddle.

Wright had tied the game at 20 on a 54-yard field goal with 3:40 remaining.

The Dolphins took a 20-17 lead when Tagovailoa finished a seven-play, 91-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Waddle with 10:22 left in the game. Waddle caught the ball and stuck it over the goal line as cornerback Nevin Lawson tackled him.

Jacksonville grabbed a 17-13 lead early in the third quarter on James Robinson’s 1-yard run after he rumbled 24 yards on the previous play. The drive included a 29-yard reception by Jamal Agnew and an unnecessary roughness penalty on Miami safety Jevon Holland.

Tagovailoa and the Dolphins offense started hot, scoring on their first drive, but squandering two other chances from inside the Jacksonville 10, settling for field goals both times.

On the opening drive, Tagovailoa completed eight of 10 passes and finished a 75-yard opening drive with a 6-yard slant to Jaylen Waddle to put Miami ahead 7-0. They converted three third downs including a 20-yard reception by tight end Mike Gesicki and Tagovailoa’s 7-yard scramble to the 6, setting up Waddle’s touchdown.

The Jaguars answered with big plays of their own, when Lawrence connected with Agnew for a 24-yard gain on their first play from scrimmage. The drive stalled, though, when Dan Arnold dropped a third-down pass at the 16-yard line. The Jags settled for a 40-yard field goal from Matthew Wright — their first field goal of the season — to make it 7-3.

After field goals of 33 and 24 yards by Jason Sanders, the Jaguars forced a three-and-out and got the ball back on the Miami 49 with 1:45 left in half, down 13-3.

Lawrence then finally exploited Miami’s depleted secondary, launching a perfect pass to Marvin Jones Jr. in the end zone for a 28-yard TD pass with backup cornerback Noah Igbinoghene in coverage to make the score 13-10 with 40 seconds left in the half.

Miami played without starting cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Byron Jones, who were both out injured.

STREAKY

Before Sunday, the Jags hadn’t won a game since beating Indianapolis 27-20 in the 2020 season opener, when Gardner Minshew threw three TD passes. The 20-game losing streak is the second-longest in the Super Bowl era.

Jacksonville’s win also snapped the London hex on rookie quarterbacks, who had been 0-5 since the NFL started staging regular-season games in England’s capital in 2007.

Now, it’s the Dolphins racking up losses. They haven’t won since beating New England in the season opener, back when Miami was considered a possible playoff team after a 10-6 season in 2020.

Miami is the only one of the four teams that played in London to not get a bye the following week.

REMATCH

Sunday’s game featured a rematch of quarterbacks from the College Football Playoff national championship game from the 2018 season. Lawrence and Clemson beat Tagovailoa and Alabama 44-16.

UP NEXT

Dolphins: host Atlanta on Oct. 24.

Jaguars: bye week, then at the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Oct. 31.

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Miami Hurricanes nearly pull off comeback, fall short to Sam Howell’s 4 TDs and North Carolina, 45-42

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Sam Howell threw two touchdowns and ran for two more as North Carolina held off Miami, 45-42, sending the Hurricanes to their worst record at the midway mark of a season in more than two decades.

Miami was in position to tie or win when reaching the North Carolina 16-yard line in the final minute, but linebacker Cedric Gray intercepted a tipped pass with 6 seconds left.

Ty Chandler ran for two touchdowns for the Tar Heels (4-3 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) in a matchup of two teams that began the season in the Top 15, but are trying to gain traction midway through the season.

The Hurricanes (2-4, 0-2) are 2-4 for the first time since 1997 when they were on NCAA probation and stuck with scholarship limitations.

Howell was 17 for 26 for 154 yards in the air with an interception while running for 98 yards on 17 carries. Chandler gained 104 yards on the ground on 18 attempts.

Howell’s touchdown runs covered 30 and 11 yards, both times pinballing off Miami defenders.

Miami nearly erased an 18-point deficit, pulling within 38-34 before stalling in North Carolina territory early in the fourth quarter. Then the Tar Heels drove 58 yards for a touchdown, aided by 30 yards on Miami penalties.

Freshman Jaylan Knight ran for two Miami touchdowns, including a 4-yard run to cap a 97-yard drive with 3:08 remaining that was followed by a successful two-point conversion pass play.

The Hurricanes, after using all their timeouts, regained possession at the 2:46 mark and picked up 56 yards before the interception.

Miami used Tyler Van Dyke, who made his third career starter and first away from home, at quarterback just days after it was announced that D’Eriq King would be lost to season-ending shoulder surgery.

Van Dyke, who was 5 for 15 and picked off twice in the first half, finished 20 for 45 with 264 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions.

Miami’s first points came on Jahfari Harvey’s 33-yard return with a first-quarter interception.

THE TAKEAWAY

Miami: The Hurricanes don’t seem equipped to overcome much adversity and they encountered more of it in their first true road game of the season. Miami lost team rushing and scoring leader Cam’Ron Harris to a lower-body injury on the first drive of the second half.

North Carolina: Receiver Josh Downs has scored on a touchdown reception in every game this season, including the team’s first TD on a 45-yard play Saturday. He has an eight game TD streak dating to last season. He made 10 of his 11 receptions in the first half, ending up with 96 yards.

UP NEXT

Miami is home against No. 22 North Carolina State on Saturday.

North Carolina has a bye week before traveling to Notre Dame on Oct. 30.

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