Jeremy Hefner took to the mound for his first start of the season, and he was in quite the pitching duel with Alex Sanabia. The right-hander gave up a solo home run to Greg Dobbs in the top of the second inning. After that, both hurlers matched zeroes for the rest of their outing, and the scoring didn’t get started until they both made their exit.
Greg Burke saw four runs cross the plate against him in the seventh inning, but only one of them counted as an earned run, thanks to another fielding error by Ruben Tejada to start the inning off. Placido Polanco, Dobbs, Justin Ruggiano, and Rob Brantly all collected RBI in Miami’s five-run seventh.
As they were relishing in their first lead of the 2013 season, the Mets started to mount their comeback from a 6-0 deficit. Mike Baxter pinch hit for Scott Rice, and delivered with a leadoff single in front of Jordany Valdespin, who walked. Daniel Murphy provided a burst of power, as he hit a long home run out to left center field to cut the Marlins’ lead in half going into the final two frames. After a bases loaded threat was squashed in the eighth inning, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Lucas Duda provided RBI hits to cut the lead to 7-5, but New York eventually fell short. The Amazins have now lost two straight after taking the first two games of the season.
- Jeremy Hefner put together a solid season debut as he tries to stick in the major leagues in 2013. He threw six innings while allowing one run on five hits, two walks, and three strikeouts.
- Burke lasted only a third of an inning, while Rice threw the final two outs of the seventh, giving up a run himself.
- Scott Atchison threw a scoreless eighth, needing 15 pitches (10 strikes) to dispose of opposing hitters.
- Giancarlo Stanton continues to struggle at the plate; he struck out three times against Mets pitching before doubling in the ninth. He’s hitting .143 so far this season.
- Jordany Valdespin got his first start of the season in center field and in the leadoff spot, and took advantage of it by going 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
- Ike Davis continued his early season struggles, going 0-for-4 with a walk. He’s now hitting .063 through four games.
For the fourth straight game, it was nice to see the Mets provide solid starting pitching, but a little disheartening to see the bullpen give up late-game runs. The seventh inning rally did get started by the Tejada error, but Burke then walked the next hitter, and once the runs started crossing the plate, they didn’t stop.
Watching the comeback unfold late is always a good sign, but it was too little, too late once New York went down six runs. However, Murph showed some serious power hitting his home run out to left center field, and it would be great to get him hitting long balls earlier and more often this season. It was unfortunate that the bases loaded threat in the eighth inning didn’t yield any runs, as that would have been their best chance to seriously swing the momentum in their direction.
It’s a great pitching matchup tomorrow afternoon in Flushing, as Jonathon Niese (1-0) squares off against Ricky Nolasco (0-1), who is looking to bounce back from his Opening Day loss against the Nationals. First pitch at Citi Field is scheduled for 1:10pm.