"We got you a huge lead," Collins said, tongue in cheek. "Just
ride it out to the end."
That "huge lead" was, in actuality, just 1-0, and Zack Wheeler made
it stand up, pitching his first career shutout to lead the Mets past
the Miami Marlins on Thursday night at Marlins Park.
"Zack showed you tonight what we've been talking about all along
with him -- plus stuff, tremendous effort," Collins said. "It was
his night. That's why I ran him out there for the ninth inning. I
don't care what his pitch count was -- he deserved it. He was
Third baseman David Wright's first-inning homer was all the offense
Wheeler (3-7), a 24-year-old right-hander, allowed just three hits
-- all singles -- and one walk. The Mets turned three double plays,
and Wheeler struck out eight.
Twice this season, Wheeler left games without allowing a run. But
the Mets lost both those games, including a 1-0 loss at Miami on May
This time, though, Wheeler finished the job, tossing 111 pitches.
Wheeler was throwing 96 mph in the ninth and said he felt he had
plenty left in the tank as he improved to 1-0 with a 0.96 ERA in
four career starts against the Marlins.
"I made a few mistakes," Wheeler said. "Sometimes it cost you, and
sometimes it doesn't. Today, it didn't.
"I was around the strike zone, getting ahead of guys. It's a lot
easier to pitch when you get ahead and can attack."
Miami (36-36), which lost five of seven on this 10-game homestand,
failed to advance a runner past first base. It's the first time the
Marlins have been back at .500 since June 1.
New York (33-40) won its second straight game. The Mets, however,
had lost 11 of its previous 14 games, causing them to fall to last
place in the National League East.
The only good news for Miami was that two injured players -- catcher
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (concussion) and right fielder Giancarlo
Stanton (wrist) -- returned to the lineup. Saltamacchia played for
the first time since May 31, and Stanton came back after getting
hurt on Wednesday.
Wheeler's brilliant effort somewhat tarnished the night for
left-hander Andrew Heaney (0-1), the Marlins' top prospect. He made
an impressive major league debut, pitching six innings and allowing
just four hits, one walk and one run.
Heaney called his debut -- even in defeat -- "a special moment", and
said his wife and the rest of his family did a great job of allowing
him to relax.
"I was already nervous enough," he said. "But I got to take some
pictures on the field (before the game), so it was really exciting."
[to top of second column]
Marlins manager Mike Redmond was pleased with Heaney.
"He did a nice job -- gave us a chance to win," he said. "It was
just one pitch to a really good hitter (Wright)."
Collins said before the game that he started right-handed first
baseman Eric Campbell instead of lefty Lucas Duda in part because
Heaney held lefty hitters to a .154 batting average in Double-A this
Collins also hoped the move would encourage Heaney to pitch to
Wright, just in front of Campbell, and that's what happened in the
first inning. Wright homered to left-center to give the Mets a 1-0
"That ball was crushed," Collins said. "You have some things you can
say about our ballpark (and how big it is). You have to mash the
ball here (to get it out), and David did.
"He is starting to get out of this little funk he's been in, and
hopefully this is a good start for us."
NOTES: Marlins LHP Andrew Heaney threw the first pitch of his major
league career for a 91-mph strike to Mets LF Eric Young, who ended
up getting an infield single. ... Marlins LF Christian Yelich
(strained back) took some swings Thursday and should be ready to
come off the disabled list on July 1. ...OF Michael Conforto, the
Mets' top draft pick and a two-time Pac 12 Player of the Year, has
reportedly agreed to a $2.9 million signing bonus. ... Mets RHP
Dillon Gee (strained right lat), on the disabled list since May 11,
is set to pitch his first minor league rehab game on Tuesday. ...
Mets CF Juan Lagares (intercostal strain), on the DL since June 2,
is expected to play rehab games by next week. ... Mets RHP Matt
Harvey, who has missed the entire season due to Tommy John surgery,
threw long toss on Thursday and hopes to pitch in September.
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