Mets-Marlins Preview

The Associated Press

David Wright was healthy enough to make a late appearance in the series opener, and he could return to the New York Mets' lineup in the next game.

Giancarlo Stanton won't be available for the Miami Marlins for at least a couple weeks.

The light-hitting Mets and the major league-worst Marlins are back at it Tuesday night in Miami after the longest-ever game between these NL East foes.

A stiff neck kept Wright out of the starting lineup Monday for the first time this season, but he came on in the 13th inning and struck out.

"I'm very unconcerned about it," Wright told the Mets' official website prior to the 4-3, 15-inning loss. "It's not something I'm worried about."

The Mets (10-14) are extremely concerned about their .169 batting average and 10 total runs during a season-worst five-game skid. They went 1 for 18 with runners in scoring position Monday, the lone hit an infield RBI single by Ruben Tejada in the 15th.

"We just cant drive any runs in," manager Terry Collins said.

That's been an ongoing issue for the Marlins (7-19), who have crossed home plate a major league-low 71 times.

Miami has scored 10 while winning two straight for the first time since Oct. 1 and 2 against the Mets, but Stanton landed on the 15-day disabled list after Monday's game due to a strained right hamstring. The injury occurred in the 10th inning when Stanton, second in the NL with 37 homers last year, was trying to beat out a tapper.

It was horrible news for a team that just finished celebrating Nick Green's game-winning sacrifice fly. The 5-hour, 31-minute contest went three innings longer than any other Mets-Marlins game.

"We're enjoying this win," manager Mike Redmond said, "but at the same time, on Tuesday the reality will set in that (Stanton is) not in the lineup anymore."

Stanton's absence may come as particularly bad news to Kevin Slowey (0-2, 2.43 ERA), who enters his start Tuesday already with the second-lowest run-support average in the majors at 1.21. The offseason acquisition has made five starts and given up eight total runs, including a season-high three in six innings of Thursday's 4-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

That leaves Slowey, who didn't pitch last season due to injuries and went 0-8 in 2011, winless since Sept. 18, 2010, while with Minnesota. He'll try to help the Marlins win three straight for the first time since July 4-6.

New York's starter Tuesday, Jeremy Hefner (0-2, 5.14), hasn't won since a 4-2 victory at Miami on Oct. 3. The Mets have lost each of his five starts this season, but Hefner's last outing - Thursday's 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers - gave him some reason for optimism.

"When the guys come to the park and they see my name, I don't want it to be, 'Oh man, we've got to score 10 runs because Hef's pitching,'" he told the Mets' official website after giving up one run in a season-high seven innings. "I want it to be, 'Oh, Hef's pitching today. Let's just grind out a couple, and we'll be in it."

Catcher John Buck is doing his part to get the Mets back into the win column. With a two-run shot Monday, Buck matched the club record for homers in April with nine. He's one RBI shy of tying the April team mark of 26, set by Jeff Kent in 1994.

Buck is 3 for 11 with a double off Slowey, while Wright is 2 for 3 with a homer.

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