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Mets' Marcum blanks White Sox to end skid

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- Before Wednesday night's game, Mets manager Terry Collins praised Shaun Marcum's professionalism and said the right-hander, who was 0-9, deserved a win.

The manager said his team needed to score more runs for Marcum.

However, the way Marcum pitched at U.S. Cellular Field, only one run was necessary.

Marcum pitched eight shutout innings, and the Mets recorded a 3-0 win over the Chicago White Sox in front of 18,249.

Marcum gave up four hits, walked two and struck out two. Bobby Parnell retired the side in order in the ninth to earn his 13th save.

"I'd call it contributing, finally. It's nice to be able to do that every now and again," said Marcum, who improved to 1-9 and saw his ERA drop from 5.76 to 5.08. "The guys played great behind me. Omar (Quintanilla) made some unbelievable plays, David (Wright) made some great plays, Bucky (John Buck) throwing out a guy at second. If I didn't have those guys behind me, it probably wouldn't have looked as good as it did."

Marcum, who possesses a solid changeup, admitted the pitch was not working for him in the bullpen before the game and said he abandoned it for the entirety of the contest. Instead, he debuted a split-finger pitch he had never thrown in a game.

"I've been toying with it for a couple years," Marcum said of the split-finger. "We ended up throwing that tonight. It worked out for us. It might be a new pitch. I have to keep working on it."

The Mets got on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth when Juan Lagares' grounder was misplayed by shortstop Alexei Ramirez, allowing Josh Satin and Andrew Brown to score. Lagares got one RBI on the play.

Later in the inning, Eric Young's infield single scored Lagares. Young finished the night 3-for-4.

White Sox starter John Danks also has struggled this season. The lefty probably pitched well enough to win, but he was let down by his fielders and a lack of run support. Danks (1-5) gave up three runs, only one of them earned, and seven hits in 7 1/3 innings. He struck out seven and didn't walk a batter.

"It's a tough game to lose," Danks said. "It's just as much my fault as anyone else's. It's just the way it goes. Today, I just had a focus to keep the ball in the ballpark and try to make them hit it on the ground."

With the White Sox defense struggling as it has been, maybe that wasn't such a good idea.

For the third straight game, the White Sox made costly errors. On Sunday, two eighth-inning miscues, including one by Ramirez, contributed to a loss in Kansas City. Second baseman Gordon Beckham's comical tumble into third baseman Connor Gillaspie on a ninth-inning popup extended Tuesday's game, though the White Sox eventually won.

On the flipside, the Mets' defense came up with a few impressive plays Wednesday. Quintanilla, the shortstop, had a sliding pickup and throw to nail Ramirez in the ninth, and he threw from the edge of the grass to retire catcher Tyler Flowers if the fifth. He also was part of a double play in the fifth in which Satin, the first baseman, had to leap and catch second baseman Daniel Murphy's throw before putting a sweeping tag on Beckham.

"I'll tell you what, I thought we played some great defense," Collins said. "David (Wright) made two or three great plays, Q (Quintanilla) made two outstanding plays. (It's important) to catch the ball behind (Marcum) because he's not a big strikeout guy. If you play defense, he will keep you in the game."

The White Sox finished with just four hits.

"(Marcum) is always in charge, his approach and everything else," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "But there's just nothing there (with our offense). It's just flat."

NOTES: White Sox 3B Conor Gillaspie was placed on paternity leave before the game because he and wife Amanda are expecting the birth of a child. INF Brett Morel was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte and went right into the starting lineup. ... Chicago 1B Paul Konerko was scratched from the starting lineup for a second straight game because of back tightness. ... Collins acknowledged that he and pitching coach Dan Warthen were aware RHP Zack Wheeler was tipping his pitches during his second career start Tuesday. Collins said Wheeler was doing the same thing during his debut in Atlanta last week and said the rookie was tipping his off-speed stuff more than his fastball. ... Mets RHP Jeremy Hefner was scheduled to fly to Colorado early Wednesday in order to get a good night's sleep before his Thursday start against the Rockies. However, Hefner's Southwest Airlines flight from Chicago's Midway Airport was delayed three hours and the player returned to U.S. Cellular Field in order to fly out with the team. ... Collins acknowledged he would be willing to adjust his starting rotation to allow Harvey to start the July 16 All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York. Harvey, who leads the National League with a 2.05 ERA and 121 strikeouts, is scheduled to start two days before the Mid-Summer Classic, but Collins said he could bring Harvey forward in the rotation to make sure the youngster is available for the NL team. San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy will choose the team's starter.
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