NEW YORK (AP)All those missing pitchers finally caught up to the Miami Marlins.
J.D. Davis homered and drove in a career-high four runs, Pete Alonso and Michael Conforto also connected, and the New York Mets slowed down the makeshift Marlins with an 8-4 victory Saturday.
”We just got hurt by the long ball tonight,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said.
Davis hit a three-run shot and a sacrifice fly as New York (6-9) won for only the third time in 10 games and improved to 2-5 at Citi Field.
Rookie left-hander David Peterson (2-1) allowed two runs over five innings in his third major league outing, winning his home debut for the Mets.
”With every start I feel like I get more comfortable here,” Peterson said. ”I learn more.”
Conforto and Alonso each ripped an early two-run homer off Daniel Castano (0-1), the latest starter to make his big league debut for the depleted Marlins. Despite a coronavirus outbreak that ravaged the roster, Miami (7-2) had won six in a row during a streak that began July 26.
Going into Saturday night, the Marlins were 5-0 since returning to the field Tuesday from an eight-day layoff as 18 players tested positive for COVID-19. Surprising stuff – particularly for a club that finished 57-105 last year.
”In this type of season, it’s pennant-race baseball,” Mattingly said. ”It’s the best. Think about it – we’re in August. In a normal season, you’ve already played a ton of games to get here and every game feels big. And that’s what they feel like now. Big games every day.”
Logan Forsythe, signed on Sunday, hit his first home run with Miami and rookie Monte Harrison had a two-run single for the Marlins, who haven’t won seven straight since April 2016.
Brian Anderson delivered an RBI single in the first.
”We had a couple chances. I like what I saw. They kept playing all night into the ninth,” Mattingly said. ”A big hit here or there as this thing’s going, we could have jumped on top and taken control.”
Alonso walked ahead of Conforto’s drive in the second. All three of the lefty-swinging Conforto’s homers this season – and two of his three doubles – have come off left-handers.
Davis singled in the third, extending his career-best hitting streak to 12 games, before Alonso sent a screaming liner to left field for his second home run of the year. The ball left his bat at 117 mph.
”It was a rocket,” Davis said, grinning.
Entering the day, New York had left 123 runners on base – most in the majors.
”We just try to stay away from that sense of urgency. I think it does more damage than good,” Davis said.
Mets reliever Robert Gsellman looked sharp in a scoreless seventh, striking out two to protect a one-run lead. It was his first appearance this season after being sidelined by triceps tendinitis.
Davis, who also made a couple of nice plays at third base, broke open a 5-4 game in the bottom of the inning when he launched an opposite-field drive to right on the first pitch from reliever Josh A. Smith.
Miami leadoff batter Jonathan Villar grounded into an inning-ending double play with two aboard and helped out the Mets twice by swinging 3-0 with runners on. The first time, he flied out after Peterson had thrown seven straight balls. The second time, reliever Drew Smith came back from 3-0 to whiff Villar with two aboard on a disputed check-swing to end the sixth. The call kept New York in front 5-4 and left the angry Marlins barking loudly from their dugout at plate umpire Chad Whitson.
Lewis Brinson swung and missed at a breaking ball that hit him in the lower leg, twisting himself inside out for strike three to end the Miami fourth.
Marlins: Left-handed reliever Richard Bleier had an MRI and was placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained triceps. He won’t throw for three to five days. … Harrison was back in center field after a night off to rest his banged-up knee.
Mets: RHP Marcus Stroman (torn left calf) threw more than 80 pitches over five innings in a simulated game Friday at the alternate site in Brooklyn. He’s moving better and responding better to treatment, manager Luis Rojas said. Stroman’s next step is another simulated game. … RHP Brad Brach, who missed preseason camp after testing positive for COVID-19, is facing hitters during simulated games in Brooklyn, but there’s no timeline for his return.
Miami optioned Friday night’s starter, RHP Humberto Mejia, to its alternate training site heading into a week that includes two off days. The team added two fresh arms to its revamped bullpen; left-hander Brian Moran and ambidextrous switch-pitcher Pat Venditte were called up.
Pablo Lopez (1-0) is set to become the only Marlins pitcher to make a second start this season Sunday when he faces two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom (1-0) in the finale of the three-game series. Miami was the first team in big league history to start nine different pitchers in the first nine games of a season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Lopez struck out seven over five innings of two-hit ball Tuesday as the Marlins returned from their long layoff with a 4-0 win at Baltimore.
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