Looking to build off of a 3-2 win over the Cardinals, the Mets headed to South Beach to take on a division foe, the Miami Marlins. Two youngsters got the start in this one, with Zack Wheeler for the Mets and Andrew Heaney for Miami. What better chance for the Met bats to break out of their skid than to feast off of a young pitcher’s first-ever Major League Start.
A pitcher’s duel throughout one run was all the Mets needed on this night, as Zack Wheeler pitched the best game of his early career, a three-hit, 1-0 shutout.
The first inning has been a friend to the Mets’ offense this year, and Thursday night was more of the same. After two hits on Wednesday afternoon, David Wright blasted a home run to off the hideous home run sculpture in left-center field to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.
Wheeler looked impressive right from the get-go. His fastball continually had some zip, topping out around 96 mph. Unlike some of his not-so-good starts, Wheeler pounded the strike zone and got quick outs. He limited the contact the Marlins made off of him, and was able to pitch deep into the game.
Not to be outdone, Heaney looked just as sharp. He settled in after the Wright homer and shut down the Met bats. His first-ever start went well, giving up just the one run in six innings of work.
It appeared the Mets would finally give Wheeler some support in the seventh when Heaney was replaced by reliever Bryan Morris. Curtis Granderson lined a single, which was followed by a double by the ever-struggling Chris Young. But Morris waded through the trouble, and got Taylor Teagarden and Wheeler to both bounce out.
He did not come through with the bat, but Wheeler continued to excel on the mound. He made it through the seventh and eighth inning unscathed. He sat at just 96 pitches after the eighth inning.
The Mets did nothing in their half of the ninth, so the scored remained 1-0 heading to the bottom half. Wheeler had not pitched nine innings since his days in Double A, but Terry Collins had faith in his young right-hander to leave him in for ninth. Jenrry Mejia warmed in the pen, but Wheeler needed no help on this night. He completed his first-career shutout a year and a day after his Major League debut.
The second game of the Mets-Marlins series will get underway Friday night at 7:10 p.m. Daisuke Matsuzaka will get the ball for the Mets and Henderson Alvarez gets the nod for Miami. Daisuke was limited to just one inning in his last start due to stomach issues.