Fresh off their home and home Subway Series sweep over the Bronx Bombers, the Mets took their five game winning streak to Miami this evening for a weekend series against the Fish. The Mets’ last place division rival entered tonight’s action losers of their last nine in a row.
Shaun Marcum climbed the hill for the Metropolitans, still in search of his first victory of the season. He was opposed by Miami’s right-hander, Jacob Turner who was making his season debut. Miami’s starter only allowed a single to Daniel Murphy his first time through the order. After Murphy, Turner retired his next eight batters in a row. Looking to pick up where he left off in his previous start, Marcum faced the minimum through the first three innings, picking up two strikeouts along the way. His economy of pitches was excellent, averaging twelve pitches per inning. He had thrown thirty-six pitches to that point, twenty-six for strikes. Both pitchers maintained excellent pace, as the Mets and Marlins completed three innings of play in just forty-six minutes.
Lucas Duda picked up the Mets second hit of the game, a two out single to right in the fourth. However, Jacob Turner picked up two more strikeouts in the inning, giving him three, while posting another zero on the board. In the bottom half of the fourth, Marcum faced the top of Miami’s order again. Juan Pierre led off with the Marlins’ first hit of the game, a well struck line single to left over a leaping effort by Omar Quintanilla at short. With Marcum still in his stretch prior to his initial pitch to Placido Polanco, Juan Pierre took off for second base. Marcum calmly stepped off the mound and threw to second base, completing a 1-6 pick-off play. Shaun finished the inning facing the minimum.
Jacob Turner issued a one out walk to Marlon Byrd in the fifth. With Ike Davis up, Marlon Byrd inexplicably set off for second base, and similarly got picked-off by Jacob Turner at second base. Naturally, Ike Davis followed with a well hit ball to the left/center field gap for a double. At a minimum, Byrd makes third, if not scores on the play. With Marcum on deck, perhaps the strategy is to get into scoring position for Ike. That’s fine. That’s still no excuse to misread a right-hander’s move on the mound that badly. Shaun Marcum came up with two outs and grounded to third base, stranding Davis at second.
In the bottom of the fifth, right fielder Marcell Ozuna led off the inning with a single to left. Chris Coghlan then followed with a single to right, but Ozuna held up at second base, guilty of questionable base running. Shortstop Ed Lucas successfully sacrificed the runners over with a finely placed bunt fielded by David Wright. The Mets opted to intentionally walk first baseman Greg Dobbs to load the bases with one out. Number eight hitter Jeff Mathis followed, and promptly bounced into a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat, and the inning.
Omar Quintanilla led off the top of the sixth with a single off Jacob Turner. Murphy muscled a ball to deep left/center for the first out. David Wright grounded to short and reached on a fielder’s choice, as Quintanilla was forced out at second. Lucas Duda, then flied to left. Marcum came off the mound like a cat to pounce on Juan Pierre’s bunt attempt in the bottom of the sixth inning, recording the second out, as Shaun Marcum retired the side in order for the fourth time in the game.
Derek Dietrich led off the bottom of the seventh with a double to center field off Marcum. Marcell Ozuna dropped a blooper between Murprhy and Marlon Byrd for a hit, setting up first and third with no outs. With the second baseman and shortstop playing back for a double play ball, Miami’s number five batter Chris Coghlan struck out on three pitches for the first out. Rookie Ed Lucas followed with yet another blooper between Murphy, Rick Ankiel in center, and a converging Byrd, that dropped in for Lucas’ first major league run batted in. Terry Collins made no move to the mound, as lefty Greg Dobbs came up against righty Marcum with first and third, and only one out. You might say Marcum issued the unintentional walk to Dobbs, loading the bases for catcher Jeff Mathis, who lofted a fly to mid-center field, far enough to score Ozuna from third. Shaun Marcum stayed in to face pinch-hitter Jordan Brown with two outs. Terry Collins’ decision to leave Marcum in the game proved costly, as Brown doubled to left center to drive in a pair of runs. Just a game earlier, Coach Collins had a substantially shorter hook with Dillon Gee. So, perhaps a batter too late, Coach Collins finally made a move for Robert Carson to face Juan Pierre with a runner on third and two outs. A ground ball to Ike Davis finally ended the inning. The Marlins struck for four runs in all.
Shaun Marcum threw a total of ninety-seven pitches in the game, sixty-six for strikes. In 6.2 innings pitched, he was charged with all four earned runs, allowed seven hits, walked two and struck out four before being relieved. He entered the game with a 5.77 ERA, and left with a 5.71 mark.
Jacob Turner’s night was also through. He pitched seven full innings, allowed five hits, no runs, walked one batter and struck out three before exiting. The Mets faced reliever Mike Dunn in the top of the eighth, who secured the first two outs. But after Omar Quintanilla picked up his second hit of the evening, Daniel Murphy spoiled the Marlins shutout with a double to left/center field, scoring Quintanilla all the way from first. David Wright then stepped in against Dunn, and looked at a fastball for strike three.
Greg Burke was summoned from the Mets bullpen to pitch the bottom of the eighth inning. With one out, Ike Davis couldn’t handle an errant throw in the dirt from Omar Quintanilla. As the ball went into the stands, Derek Dietrich was awarded second base. Marcell Ozuna then connected on his third hit, a double down the left field line to score Dietrich from second, making it a 5-1 game. Coghlan followed with a long fly to center - Ozuna tagged-up to third base. With two outs, Ed Lucas grounded out to Wright, and into the ninth they went.
Lucas Duda stepped in against the Marlins’ submariner closer Steve Cishek, and lofted a short fly to right for the first out. Mike Baxter followed, and grounded to first for out number two. Rick Ankiel then came to the plate and struck out to end the game.
The Mets managed seven hits in the game, and drew only one walk. Shaun Marcum was the Mets best player this evening, as his team mates suffered a Friday night let down to their old/new nemesis. Marcum pitched a gem through six, but could have used an assist from his manager in the seventh, or a little more offensive support. After two consecutive stellar starts, unfortunately, his record now reads 0-6 for the season.
* Tonight marked the eve of the Mets first ever no-hit game pitched last season by Johan Santana.
* In the fifth, Mets pitchers issued their first base on balls, covering forty-one innings pitched, since Monday’s game against the Yankees.
* The Mets laid a dud, again, against the Miami Marlins. Leave it up to the Fish. Why do the Mets consistently underachieve against this team? Ponderous! The Fish broke their nine game losing streak and snapped our five game winning steak. They were done with us by 9:46pm. Great pace to a game, but ponderous!
* Marlon Byrd base running gaffe in fifth inning of scoreless game.
Collin McHugh will make his first start of the season for the New York Mets in Game Two Saturday (4:10pm) afternoon. He will be opposed by Miami’s Jose Fernandez. Collin McHugh’s last start was for Las Vegas on May 12th.