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MIAMI (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – The Miami Marlins are trying to play the spoiler role in the National League East.

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The Washington Nationals are finally stringing together some wins after a rough stretch, but the New York Mets have no intention of letting them back into the race in the NL East.

The Mets will try to increase their lead in the division when they visit the Marlins for the rubber match of a three-game series on Sunday.

New York showed off the formula that got them a five-game lead in the division with strong starting pitching and a trio of home runs in a 7-0 victory that evened the series on Saturday.

The Mets have the schedule lining up for success down the stretch, with only Washington (six games) and the New York Yankees (three) left with winning records the rest of the way.

The Marlins looked primed to throw a wrench into the race with wins in four straight before going down on Saturday and are two games ahead of the Atlanta Braves and three up on the Philadelphia Phillies in the battle to avoid the basement in the East.

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New York and Miami with both welcome back young starters who have dealt with recent injuries when the Mets send Steven Matz up against the Marlins’ Jarred Cosart.

TV: 1:10 p.m. ET, SNY (New York), FSN Florida (Miami)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Mets LH Steven Matz (2-0, 1.32 ERA) vs. Marlins RH Jarred Cosart (1-4, 5.36)

Matz was strong in his first two major-league starts before a tear in his left lat muscle sidelined him for two months. The 24-year-old’s return allows New York to skip Noah Syndergaard’s turn as the team tries to keep its young starters fresh down the stretch. Matz, who also has five RBIs in six career at-bats, surrendered a total of two runs and seven hits in 13 2/3 innings to beat Cincinnati and the Los Angeles Dodgers in his first two starts.

Cosart was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans after dealing with vertigo and an inner ear problem. The 25-year-old was winless in his last six starts in the majors and was sent down after getting pounded for seven runs on four hits – two homers – and three walks in 1 2/3 innings at the Chicago Cubs on July 4. Cosart had his best start against the Mets on April 27, scattering two hits and three walks over eight scoreless innings, but was held out of the decision.

WALK-OFFS

  1. Mets 1B Lucas Duda (back) began a rehab assignment with Double-A Birmingham on Saturday and could return by Tuesday.
  2. Miami LF Christian Yelich is 11-for-22 with four doubles during a six-game hitting streak.
  3. New York C Travis d’Arnaud is 7-for-11 with four RBIs and two runs scored in his last three games.
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