Alvarez (1-1, 2.64 ERA), who didn't make his season debut for the Marlins until July 4 due to right shoulder inflammation, has been much better lately after posting a 4.58 ERA in his first three starts. The right-hander has held opposing batters to a .159 batting average over 13 scoreless innings in his past two outings.
That included six innings of two-hit ball in a 2-0 win over Pittsburgh on Friday to pick up his first win with Miami.
"He just had explosive stuff," Pirates catcher Russell Martin said. "His fastball was electric."
Alvarez has seemingly been helped by his offseason trade from Toronto, where he allowed 1.39 home runs per nine innings, the ninth-worst total in the majors, while pitching in one of the league's most hitter-friendly parks. With Miami, where the Marlins (40-65) play in one of the toughest venues to hit a home run at, Alvarez has yet to surrender a home run in 30 2-3 innings.
He'll face off against Mejia (1-0, 0.00), who followed brief stints with the Mets (48-56) in 2010 and 2012 with an excellent season debut Friday. Mejia limited Washington to seven hits and struck out a career-high seven in seven innings of an 11-0 win.
"I haven't seen him obviously that good in a long time," manager Terry Collins said. "The command of his stuff was very, very good. His location. I thought he pitched an outstanding game. His best changeup. I didn't know he had one. He used it and used it effectively."
While avoiding the home run has made the difference for Alvarez, avoiding the walk has been key for Mejia. The right-hander walked 29 in his first 55 innings in the big leagues, but walked no one Friday.
Mejia's strong start was only the latest in a stretch that spans back to Double-A Binghamton, where he allowed a run and six hits in 11 innings.
Mejia isn't the only Met to enjoy a strong July. John Buck , after singling home the two go-ahead runs in New York's 4-2, 10-inning win over Miami on Tuesday, has 16 RBIs this month, surpassing his combined total from May and June. The catcher is batting .302 since July 6.
On Tuesday, he was able to deliver after failing to drive a runner in from third with one out in the eighth."When I came up I kind of had a similar situation with (Miami reliever Steve) Cishek, who is more funky, I said, 'All right, just stick with that approach,'" Buck said. "He left it over the plate and I got the results I wanted this time."
He was joined by Juan Lagares , who went 3 for 3 with a triple and a walk Tuesday. Lagares, who entered June with a .149 average, is batting .319 since with 16 of his 43 hits going for extra bases.
Alvarez, who has received 10 runs of support over his first five starts, hopes the Marlins can break out after averaging 2.4 runs per game while losing eight of 13.
He'll look to avenge his only start against the Mets on May 20, 2012, when he allowed six runs in five innings of a 6-5 loss.
|New York Mets|
|July 26, 2013||Justin Turner||Day-to-Day||Sore right shoulder|
|July 25, 2013||Eric Young||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right knee|
|July 13, 2013||LaTroy Hawkins||Day-to-Day||Sore right triceps|
|July 09, 2013||Shaun Marcum||15-Day DL||Thoracic outlet syndrome|
|July 09, 2013||Shaun Marcum||15-Day DL||Thoracic outlet syndrome|
|June 22, 2013||Lucas Duda||15-Day DL||Strained left intercostal|
|July 26, 2013||Kevin Slowey||15-Day DL||Right forearm discomfort|
|July 23, 2013||Marcell Ozuna||15-Day DL||Torn left thumb ligament|
|June 25, 2013||Justin Ruggiano||Day-to-Day||Sore left shoulder|
|June 09, 2013||Chris Coghlan||15-Day DL||Right calf irritation|
|June 09, 2013||Casey Kotchman||60-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|May 27, 2013||Alex Sanabia||60-Day DL||Right groin discomfort|
MIAMI (AP) -- Jake Marisnick is part of the Miami Marlins ' young core of players that the franchise is building around.
Marisnick, a 22-year old outfielder, hit his first major league home run to help lift the Marlins to a 3-2 victory over the New York Mets on Wednesday night.
"It felt good," Marisnick said. "It was the first at-bat where I really slowed everything down."
Miami starter Henderson Alvarez (2-1) pitched into the eighth inning. He allowed two runs and six hits in 7 1-3 innings, and had two hits and scored a run, too.
"I felt I prepared well, and all of my pitches were working good tonight," Alvarez said.
Alvarez is 2-0 with a 1.33 ERA in his last four starts.
Marisnick and Alvarez were acquired from Toronto, along with shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria , in November's blockbuster trade that sent veterans Jose Reyes , Mark Buehrle , Josh Johnson , John Buck , and Emilio Bonifacio to the Blue Jays.
"I think you realize how good of players we got in that trade and how much those guys are going to be a big part of not only this team this year, but the future," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "These guys can play."
Giancarlo Stanton and Placido Polanco also drove in a run each for the Marlins, who dropped the first two games of the four-game series with the Mets.
Mike Dunn got four outs for his second save in place of Steve Cishek , who pitched two innings and took the loss in Tuesday's 4-2 loss to New York.
Dunn issued a leadoff single to Buck before retiring the next three batters to end the game.
"That was his inning," Redmond said. "We want him to go out there and not have a guy warming up in the bullpen behind him and let him take that inning and see what he could do.
"He did a great job."
Marisnick homered off of Jenrry Mejia (1-1) in the second inning to give the Marlins a 1-0 lead. He was hitting .179 (5 for 28) in his first eight games before the home run.
"It was honestly the farthest thing from my mind," said Marisnick, who initially received the customary silent treatment from his teammates in the dugout after the home run.
Mejia gave up three runs in six innings.
Eric Young nearly matched Marisnick's homer in the third inning, but his long drive to center field hit the top of the fence and stayed in play. Umpires used video replay and upheld the original call, giving Young a triple.
He was stranded at third base.
"I thought it came off the wall funny," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "That's why I went out. (Second base umpire) Andy Fletcher said, `I know it came off the wall funny. We'll take a look at it."'
Redmond had no complaints about the call.
"I think they got it right," he said.
The Marlins added to their lead in the bottom half of the third inning with back-to-back sacrifice flies by Polanco and Stanton that made it 3-0.
New York broke through against Alvarez with an RBI double by Ike Davis in the sixth. It was the first run allowed by Alvarez in 18 innings, the longest streak by a Marlins pitcher this season.
Young led off the eighth with a walk and advanced to third on a ground ball to Polanco at third. Alvarez was relieved by Chad Qualls , and Young scored on a passed ball to pull the Mets within 3-2.
"I was just playing the percentages, who was at third base and who was at first base," Young said of his alert baserunning. "I felt good about going."
David Wright singled, stole second, and advanced to third on a fly out. Dunn came in for Qualls and got pinch-hitter Josh Satin to fly out to left to end the inning.
NOTES: Carlos Torres , New York's scheduled starter for Saturday, pitched a scoreless eighth inning. ... A video montage of Qualls' celebration stumble from Tuesday's game was shown on the scoreboard hours before the game as the Marlins continued to laugh at their teammate's expense. "We lost a tough game, but we all laughed about the whole situation," Redmond said. "That was great. Classic." ... Before the game Redmond praised Hechavarria for being the best defensive shortstop in the National League. "I've not seen a better shortstop in this league than Hetch, and hopefully he'll get the notoriety he deserves," Redmond said. ... RHP Matt Harvey (8-2, 2.11 ERA) will start the series finale for the Mets on Thursday against Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (2-6, 4.67 ERA).