Alvarez’s streak ends, Marlins lose to Mets 7-1
NEW YORK (AP) — For almost two months, Henderson Alvarez was a sure thing for a Miami Marlins team that hasn’t had many of them.
That run ended with a thud Friday night.
David Wright went 4 for 4 with a mammoth homer, Lucas Duda also hit a long two-run shot off Alvarez, and the New York Mets rocked their recent nemesis in a 7-1 victory.
Zack Wheeler shut down Miami again and Juan Lagares had three hits as the fourth-place Mets improved to 6-2 on a 10-game homestand that takes them into the All-Star break.
Wheeler (5-8) pitched 6 2-3 stingy innings and helped himself with an RBI double. He moved to 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA in five career starts against the Marlins, including a three-hitter in a 1-0 win June 19 that was his first major league complete game.
“When you get down early in games it puts a lot of pressure on the offense, and this guy has been real good against us,” Miami manager Mike Redmond said.
Alvarez (6-4) had been on quite a roll himself, allowing two runs or fewer in each of his last nine games. He was 4-0 with a 1.04 ERA during that stretch, and the Marlins had won his last 10 outings – a club record for one of their starters.
He was particularly tough on the Mets, going 4-0 with a 1.01 ERA in his past five starts against them. But this time, Alvarez was tagged for eight hits and a season-high six earned runs in five ineffective innings.
“He made a lot of mistakes over the plate on the center-cut fastballs and they did some damage with them,” Redmond said. “He didn’t have the type of movement he’s had over his last few starts. That ended up being the difference.”
Christian Yelich hit an RBI single in the fifth, but that was it for Miami.
Donovan Solano tried to score from first on Casey McGehee’s fourth-inning double, but Kirk Nieuwenhuis made a tough play in the left-field corner and combined with Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada on a strong relay that cut down Solano at the plate.
“Right now, our bats have been quiet. We haven’t gotten a whole lot going over the last three or four days and we have to pick it up and try to win these next two games and go out on a positive note,” Redmond said.
Lagares got the Mets started with a two-out double in the second and Tejada hit an RBI single, ending Alvarez’s scoreless streak against New York at 20 innings. Wheeler then short-hopped the left-field fence between the 358 and 370 signs for his second extra-base hit and fourth RBI in 58 career at-bats.
Wheeler came in batting .037 this season (1 for 27), and Mets pitchers were at a paltry .077 with 13 hits in 168 at-bats.
“Us pitchers, we take hitting very seriously – especially with me. I like to think that I’m a good hitter even though I’m batting below .100. But it’ll come around,” Wheeler said.
Curtis Granderson flied out to the center-field fence to end the inning.
Duda had no such trouble with the dimensions in the third, sending a shot soaring into the second deck in right for his 14th home run. Giancarlo Stanton never moved his feet in right field, arching his back to stare straight up as the ball sailed way over his head.
Alvarez entered with a 2.27 ERA, fifth in the NL, but the 24-year-old right-hander was left off the All-Star team Sunday.
“My pitches weren’t really working today. I was leaving some pitches up in the zone,” he said through a translator. “I just wish it was like the last 10 starts.”
Wright did Duda one better in the fifth, driving an 0-2 pitch from Alvarez into the rarely reached second deck in left for his eighth home run.
Nieuwenhuis hit a leadoff triple in the sixth and scored when Lagares grounded a single through the drawn-in infield.
“Henderson has absolutely dominated us this year, so for us to go out there and make the adjustment, it gives you confidence moving forward that hey, we can go out there and beat some really good pitchers,” Wright said.
NOTES: Stanton, the Home Run Derby favorite at next week’s All-Star game, practiced for the event with Redmond a couple of hours before batting practice at Citi Field. Redmond will be the slugger’s batting practice pitcher Monday night in Minnesota, too. … Stanton snapped an 0-for-14 slide with an eighth-inning single. … Wright is 9 for 19 (.474) against Alvarez, including 7 for 13 this season. … Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (6-7), from nearby New Rochelle, faces RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-3) on Saturday.
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