Locke Searches For First Win As Marlins Look To Claim Series From Mets

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MIAMI (CBSMiami/Gracenote) – Don’t look now but the Miami Marlins are making a midseason charge at the National League playoff race.

While 25-year-old JT Riddle celebrated the passing of the torch at shortstop for the Miami Marlins by breaking out of a long slump Tuesday, 43-year-old Ichiro Suzuki picked an opportune time to show he can still make an impact coming off the bench.

The host Marlins eye their eighth victory in 12 meetings against the New York Mets when the National League East rivals continue a three-game set Wednesday.

Riddle officially became Miami’s everyday shortstop following Monday’s trade of Adeiny Hechavarria to Tampa Bay and promptly snapped a 0-for-23 stretch in his second at-bat Tuesday en route to a 2-for-3 effort.

However, Suzuki sparked the Marlins’ offense with a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh inning – his league-leading 12th pinch hit of the season – before coming around to score moments later on a two-run single from Christian Yelich to wrap a 6-3 victory.

While Miami improved to 15-5 at home since May 26, the Mets – who have already sent five starting pitchers to the disabled list this year – took another hit to their rotation when Robert Gsellman left the game with a hamstring strain after he unsuccessfully tried to beat out a grounder.

“It’s a little tough to comprehend. Just another frustrating night as far as injuries go,” manager Terry Collins told reporters after the game.

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

PITCHING MATCHUP: Mets LH Steven Matz (1-1, 3.60 ERA) vs. Marlins LH Jeff Locke (0-3, 5.70)

Matz was effectively wild in a no-decision Thursday at the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowing three runs on three hits – two homers – while walking a career-high five and striking out a season-high eight in six frames.

The 26-year-old surrendered three home runs six days earlier in a loss to Washington and has permitted five in three turns after giving up 14 in 22 outings last year.

Giancarlo Stanton is 3-for-7 with a pair of homers against Matz, who is 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA in two career starts at Marlins Park.

Locke remained winless since Aug. 27 of last season with his worst effort of the year Thursday, yielding a season-high five runs on seven hits and three walks across four innings.

The New Hampshire native, who has allowed eight runs on 12 hits and four walks over eight frames in his last two outings combined, is 0-4 during his 10-game winless streak and hasn’t recorded a quality start over that stretch.

Locke has also struggled against the Mets, going 0-2 with a 6.63 ERA in four starts.

WALK-OFFS

  1. The Mets, who have already set a club record for homers in a month with 48, hit two more in the opener and lead the majors with 70 homers on the road.
  2. Suzuki is two hits shy of tying Hall-of-Famer Rod Carew (3,053) for 23rd place on the all-time list.
  3. New York OF Curtis Granderson is one double away from becoming the eighth active player with at least 300 doubles and 300 homers in his career.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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