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Ozuna, Cespedes, Two Of Baseball’s Hottest Sluggers

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MIAMI (SportsDirect Inc.) — Two of baseball’s hottest sluggers look to continue their early-season barrage when Yoenis Cespedes leads the visiting New York Mets into the second contest of a four-game series Friday at the Miami Marlins and red-hot Marcell Ozuna.

Both players continued their recent power surge in Thursday’s 9-8 series-opening victory by the Mets in 16 innings, as Cespedes homered twice and Ozuna blasted a grand slam.

Cespedes leads the majors with six homers on the season – five coming in the past three games – and Michael Conforto lined a game-tying double in the eighth as New York won its fifth game in a row.

Ozuna tops the majors in RBIs with 16, driving in 10 in his past three games.

Miami’s bullpen failed to hold a late lead for the second consecutive game, and Friday’s scheduled starter Adam Conley came on to give up a solo homer to Travis d’Arnaud in the top of the 16th.

The Mets catcher also tripled home three runs in the second inning and finished 4-for-6 with three runs scored and four RBIs.

TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, SNY (New York), FSN Florida (Miami)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Mets RH Noah Syndergaard (1-0, 0.69 ERA) vs. Marlins TBA

Syndergaard makes his third start of the season and looks for his second consecutive victory over the Marlins, after holding Miami to one earned run in seven innings with nine strikeouts Sunday. He started his season with six innings of shutout pitching April 3 against Atlanta, striking out seven over six innings while getting a no-decision. Syndergaard, who has yet to walk a batter in 13 innings this season, is 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA in four career starts against Miami while walking two and striking out 38 in 27 innings.

It remains to be seen who Miami turns to for the start, as Conley threw 19 pitches in allowing one run on two hits in the 16th inning. Edinson Volquez, who was scheduled to start Saturday’s third game of the series, would be pitching on four days rest if Miami elects to bump him up to Friday’s outing. Volquez, who is 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA in 11 innings this season, gave up five runs (four earned) on seven hits in six innings in a loss to the Mets in New York on Sunday.

WALK-OFFS

1. Ozuna is 3-for-11 with a homer lifetime against Syndergaard, but RF Giancarlo Stanton is 0-for-11 with six strikeouts.

2. Cespedes is the third Mets player with six homers in the first 10 games of a season (Dave Kingman, 1976; John Buck, 2013).

3. Both teams need good outings from their starters Friday as New York relievers pitched 11 1/3 innings Thursday while Miami’s bullpen covered 13 innings.

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