NEW YORK (AP)—Marlins ace Josh Johnson(notes) might well make Mets manager Jerry Manuel sick every time he takes the mound—and it would have nothing to do with the stomach bug that seemed to be going around Citi Field on Saturday.
The Marlins’ big right-hander was among several players who felt ill during the game. Teammate Wes Helms(notes) was making regular trips to the clubhouse with similar symptoms, and Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran(notes) was pulled late in the game with a stomach virus.
“I just go out there and battle, take it one pitch at a time,” said Johnson, who is 6-0 against the Mets, including the five-hitter he tossed in a 2-1 victory over Johan Santana(notes) on April 12. “The first inning was a little rough, but after that I settled down.”
Johnson (4-1) also had been having trouble with a callus on the middle finger of his right hand, which had caused him to be erratic during his last three starts.
He only walked two in this one against a makeshift Mets lineup that was missing David Wright(notes), Gary Sheffield(notes) and Luis Castillo(notes). All three were given the day off, even with Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado(notes) and Ryan Church(notes) still out with injuries.
“I thought with the way their guy was pitching,” Manuel said, trailing off without finishing his thought. “When you’re in the situation we’re in, you need to match their pitching. That’s true in any game, but especially when you have guys sidelined like we do.”
Jorge Cantu(notes) drove in two runs for the Marlins, who battered starter Tim Redding(notes) in building a 7-1 lead by the fifth inning. The top of the Florida order did most of the damage, with leadoff hitter Chris Coghlan(notes) walking three times and the first five spots combining for nine hits.
“They did a nice job of getting on base,” Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “We were able to add some runs late in the game and J.J. was again terrific.”
Martinez made a couple of nice plays in right field, got his first big league hit in the third inning and drove in his first run with a double in the fifth.
Redding (0-2) never got in a groove, walking Coghlan to start the game and giving up a double to Emilio Bonifacio(notes). An error on Fernando Tatis(notes), starting at third in place of Wright, helped allow the first run to score. Hermida made it 2-0 moments later with a single up the middle.
Hanley Ramirez(notes), back in the lineup after missing two starts with a groin injury, singled leading off and Cantu doubled off the left-field wall. Hermida stepped to the plate and drove a 2-1 pitch off the Pepsi Porch that overhangs right field, making it 7-1 and bringing Manuel out of the dugout.
He was greeted by derisive cheers from the crowd of 40,727, which turned to boos the moment Redding began his long walk to the clubhouse.
His ERA ballooned to 10.23 in three starts this season, and Manuel said he might re-evaluate Redding’s place in the rotation.
“Even as professionals, there are days when you go out there and you are a little intimidated, because you know you don’t have your quality stuff,” Redding said. “You’re pitching scared in a way, just trying to do the best you can.”
Ramirez finished 2 for 5 and did not have any trouble running the bases. “I don’t feel 100 percent,” he said, “but you got to put it out of your mind.” … RHP Lance Broadway(notes), acquired by the Mets on Friday night in a trade with the White Sox, will report to Triple-A Buffalo on Sunday. … Schneider went 1 for 3 and scored a run. … Marlins starters have not allowed more than three earned runs in their last seven games.