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Alvarez leads Marlins to shutout win over Mets

The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- Henderson Alvarez is starting to show a knack for pitching performances like these.

The Miami Marlins' 24-year-old right-hander pitched his second shutout of the season and third in his last nine starts going back to his final outing of 2013, a no-hitter against the Tigers.

Some early offense proved to be all he would need as the Marlins made quick work of the struggling New York Mets in a 3-0 win Tuesday night at Marlins Park.

The game, which lasted just 2 hours, 8 minutes, featured two teams going in opposite directions in the tight National League East.

The Marlins (18-15) improved to 7-1 on their nine-game homestand, which began with a sweep of the division-leading Atlanta Braves.

"We came off a rough road trip, came home, knew that we had an extended period here against good teams," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "Whenever you sweep the Braves -- I think that was a big momentum turn for us.

"With the winning streaks, this is where you start to build your team, build your chemistry, build your relationships, and I think that's where we're at."

The Marlins are 16-5 at home, the best 21-game start at home since posting the same mark in their 1997 World Series-winning season.

The Mets (16-16) suffered their fifth loss in six games.

Alvarez, who also recorded the last Marlins' shutout in a 7-0 win over the Seattle Mariners on April 19, had everything working Tuesday. He struck out seven and allowed six hits and no walks.

"I just concentrated on keeping the ball down, keeping the breaking balls down and letting the batters swing," he said.

Alvarez (2-2) retired eight batters in a row toward the tail end of his outing before giving up a double to second baseman Daniel Murphy with one out in the ninth. He wrapped up the night with a strikeout of right fielder Curtis Granderson on a two-seamer in the dirt.

"I thought he was very good, really moved the fastball around on us, made some good pitches with his slider. We couldn't mount anything," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We had to get a big hit because they got it, and we didn't get it."

Right fielder Giancarlo Stanton and third baseman Casey McGehee led the offense for the Marlins. Both had multi-hit games, and they combined to drive in the Marlins' three runs.

Mets starter Bartolo Colon (2-5) gave up two runs in the first but settled in after that. He allowed just one more run in his seven-inning, seven-hit outing. Colon struck out five and walked one.

"I was up in the zone, and I think after that I did a good job and I think I threw a good game," Colon said. "I was trying to be aggressive early in the count and believing I still had command of my pitches."

Murphy doubled twice for New York, which didn't get much else.

Stanton, the National League's RBI leader, got the Miami offense going from the start. His first-inning rocket off the top of the center-field wall went for an RBI double. Stanton then scored on a single to right from McGehee, giving the Marlins an early 2-0 lead.

"You know Bartolo's going to throw the ball well, so you're not going to have too many opportunities against him," McGehee said. "It was definitely nice to get a couple early and Alvarez did the rest."

The Mets squandered a good scoring opportunity in the fourth after center fielder Juan Lagares led off with a double. No one could bring him around to score.

Miami added a third run in the fifth when McGehee capped a three-hit rally with a two-out, RBI single.

The Marlins are tied for second in the division with the Washington Nationals and half a game back of Atlanta for first.

Of what that means to the club, McGehee, says "Nothing. We've seen how many times this year how quick things can turn, good, bad, or whatever. Beginning of May, I don't hold any weight on where we are in the standings."

The teams square off again Wednesday afternoon with two right-handers on the mound, the Mets' Zack Wheeler (1-3, 5.13 ERA) and the Marlins' Tom Koehler (3-2, 2.41).

NOTES: The Marlins released INF Greg Dobbs. The 35-year-old left-handed-hitting veteran was designated for assignment April 29 after he went 1-for-13, all as a pinch hitter, this season. ... Mets manager Terry Collins went back to leading off with CF Juan Lagares on Tuesday after LF Eric Young Jr. hit first Monday. Lagares led off the previous four games after Young topped the batting order in 24 of the team's first 26 contests. Lagares had his 13-game hitting streak snapped Monday when he was unsuccessful in a pinch-hit at-bat.
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