Mets rebound from blowout with win over Marlins

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- A night after New York Mets manager Terry Collins implied his team quit, he said he was wrong to think so, and his team showed a little more life while picking up a rare win at Citi Field.

Helped by some sloppy play by the Miami Marlins, the Mets scored five runs in the first two innings -- more than they had scored at home in a single game in more than a month -- and went on to a 7-3 win.

Scott Hairston homered, tripled and drove in three runs Friday night and Ike Davis later followed with his own homer for the Mets, who won just their fifth game at home since the All-Star break.

Jon Niese (12-9) allowed three runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings and two relievers shut out the Marlins the rest of the way.

"It felt like a playoff game, the win," Collins said of finally breaking through at Citi Field after the Mets had lost nine straight there. "They just came out and played like we know they can."

The caliber of play featuring two of the National League's worst teams was far from the postseason standard. The Mets were helped by the Marlins' sloppy play as, for the second straight night at Citi Field, a manager said he was "embarrassed" by his team's play.

This time it was Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, who watched his team's shoddy defense and mental errors help the Mets extend innings.

"You watch it? Too bad," said Guillen, who earlier in the day laughed off rumors about his job being in jeopardy. "It's kind of like ... I don't want to criticize the players (for making an) error, but the way we play the first three innings, it was embarrassing.

"I think, if I was pitching in that game, I might fight with somebody. ... I think the kid pitched well, we just played bad baseball."

Rookie Jacob Turner (1-3) gave up six runs (three earned) on eight hits in five innings. Donovan Solano had two hits and two RBI for the Marlins, also got an RBI single from Austin Kearns.

A night after their 16-1 loss to the Phillies, the Mets started off strong as Davis drove in a run with a single that had initially been called an error and Hairston followed with a two-run homer to left.

They added two more in the second for a 5-0 lead, giving them the most runs they'd scored in a game at Citi Field since their last win there, 6-5 over the Braves on Aug. 12. The Mets also snapped their streak of 16 straight games at home in which they had not scored more than three runs.

Collins said before Friday's game he had only implied his team quit as a motivational ploy. But the concept of questioning the Mets' effort was quickly brought up again when Collins pulled Lucas Duda after his first at-bat for failing to run hard. Duda had hit a blooper into shallow left that appeared set to be caught, but it fell in. The ball had hung high enough in the air to likely allow Duda to take second, but he only reached first.

"If we had won 10 out of 12 or 10 out of 15, I could turn my head," Collins said. "I couldn't turn my head tonight. After what happened last night and what has happened the last six weeks, something had to be done."

Said Duda: "I was frustrated up there at the plate and it carried over to my running. It is what it is. I didn't hustle and he took me out. I would have done the same thing."

The Marlins' sloppy play helped the Mets take a 6-1 lead in the fifth.

Daniel Murphy reached on a passed ball on a strikeout and moved to second on a grounder. He stayed there, thanks to former Met Jose Reyes, who had made an error in the second. Reyes appeared to lose track of the outs when he caught Davis' liner at shortstop and could have easily doubled off Murphy at second. But Reyes froze, allowing Murphy to return to third.

Asked if Reyes lost track of the outs, Guillen said, "He (lost) track of a lot of things today. He did. He had a bad game. Mentally, he had a bad game."

Said Reyes: "It's not a good game at all. Make a couple mistakes in the field, cost us a couple of runs there, wasn't too pretty. So I wasn't too happy about it."

Hairston then hit a sinking liner into left field, where Justin Ruggiano dived awkwardly with the ball still well in front of him. Hairston raced around for a triple and a 6-1 lead while Ruggiano left the game with a strained right shoulder. He said he didn't think it was too serious, but wasn't expected to play Saturday.

Collins said before the game he regretted implying his team quit following Thursday's 16-1 loss to the Phillies. When asked what he thought at that time, Collins said to ask the players and said he didn't want to express his opinion publicly.

Friday, Collins told reporters in his pregame press conference his comments Thursday were meant as a motivational tool.

"I don't want to ever challenge anybody's integrity," Collins said Friday. "That's wrong. My players are professionals and they didn't get here without being guys that played their hearts out all the time.

"Sometimes you say, 'What can I say to make them mad enough to say, 'I'll show that little ...,' " he added. "So that was the way I tried to approach it last night and I don't ever do that, so I did it the wrong way."

Notes: Mets right-hander Jenrry Mejia will start Monday's game against the Pirates to start the four-game series that will close out the Citi Field season. ... Scott Cousins will be called up Saturday to give the Marlins depth on the bench.
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