The New York Mets and league-worst Miami Marlins own the bottom two spots in the NL East, which isn't surprising given how both clubs are sputtering toward the finish of their respectively frustrating seasons.
Miami has been successful against New York, though, and it will look to send the Mets to their fifth straight loss Friday night.
The Marlins (54-91) have lost five of six and need to finish 9-8 in order to avoid the second 100-loss season in the franchise's 20-year history. The majors' lowest-scoring team managed only a Donovan Solano RBI single in the third inning of Thursday's 6-1 loss to Atlanta.
Rookie Brian Flynn walked six through four innings as Miami fell after Wednesday's 5-2 victory that saw benches clear at one point."After an emotional night, we needed somebody to go out there, really pound the strike zone and put up some zeros," manager Mike Redmond said. "That just didn't happen."
Despite all the Marlins' struggles, they've had plenty of success against the Mets. They've won 10 of the 15 meetings while holding a 20-run scoring advantage over New York, which is coming off a four-game sweep following Thursday's 7-2 loss to Washington.
The Mets (64-81) were shut out twice while being outscored 25-5 in the series.
"There are expectations that come when you're a big league player, and part of those expectations is the ability to execute when you need to," manager Terry Collins said. "We're not doing that right now."
New York, which would seal its fifth straight losing season with a loss Friday, will send Jonathon Niese to the mound.
Niese (6-7, 3.86 ERA) went 2-0 with a 1.30 ERA over his previous four starts before allowing six runs in six innings of his 9-4 loss at Cleveland on Saturday. He gave up four runs over 27 2-3 frames during his hot stretch, but he gave up five in the first inning to the Indians.
The left-hander is 3-1 with a 2.95 ERA in six starts since returning from the disabled list Aug. 11 after recovering from a partially torn left rotator cuff.
Niese didn't earn a decision in either of his two starts against the Marlins this season prior to his injury, giving up two runs - one earned - in six innings of New York's 7-3 win April 6 before allowing three runs in 6 2-3 frames of the Mets' 8-4 loss June 9.
He'll be opposed by Brad Hand , who will make his first start and fourth appearance of the season.
After walking two in 1 2-3 innings of Miami's 7-6 loss to the Mets in his season debut May 1, Hand (0-0, 0.00) was sent to the minors and went 3-5 with a 3.42 ERA in 15 starts for Triple-A New Orleans.
The left-hander was called up Sept. 2 and pitched one inning of a 7-0 win over Washington last Friday before tossing three frames of Monday's 5-2 loss to Atlanta.
Hand, who hasn't allowed a hit in 5 2-3 innings this season, has lost six straight major league starts while posting a 7.45 ERA, including giving up one run and three hits in six innings before falling 1-0 to New York on Sept. 7, 2011.
|September 09, 2013||Jeff Mathis||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised right thumb|
|September 08, 2013||Giancarlo Stanton||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right foot and ankle|
|September 02, 2013||Henderson Alvarez||Day-to-Day||Left game - tight right hamstring|
|September 01, 2013||Giancarlo Stanton||Day-to-Day||Right ankle|
|August 19, 2013||Placido Polanco||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|August 19, 2013||Placido Polanco||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|New York Mets|
|September 10, 2013||Justin Turner||Day-to-Day||Strained right hamstring|
|September 09, 2013||Scott Rice||60-Day DL||Sports hernia|
|September 02, 2013||Ike Davis||60-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|September 01, 2013||Ike Davis||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right oblique|
|August 27, 2013||Matt Harvey||15-Day DL||Torn right UCL - out for season|
|August 26, 2013||Matt Harvey||Day-to-Day||Torn right elbow ligament|
NEW YORK (AP) -- Lucas Duda and the New York Mets finally flashed a little power of their own.
Duda hit a three-run homer and New York overcame two solo shots by Giancarlo Stanton , beating the Miami Marlins 4-3 on Friday night behind Jonathon Niese .
Andrew Brown also went deep for the Mets, outhomered 13-0 by Washington at Citi Field in a four-game sweep that ended Thursday.
"I think it's certainly something Lucas can feel good about right now," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He's a big, strong guy. Everybody expects him to hit homers. I just expect him to drive runs in. And I think that swing tonight might really start him here in the last couple of weeks."
Niese (7-7) struck out seven and walked none over 6 1-3 innings, improving to 4-1 in seven starts since returning from a shoulder injury last month. New York won for the third time in 12 September games and upped its mark to 6-10 this season against the Marlins, who have the NL's worst record at 54-92.
Making his first major league start of the year, Brad Hand (0-1) gave up the go-ahead homer to Duda in the sixth and fell to 1-10 in 17 career outings.
With the Mets trailing 2-1 in the sixth before a quiet crowd of 20,562, Eric Young Jr. hit a leadoff double on an 0-2 pitch. Two outs later, Hand worked carefully to Brown and issued a walk.
On a 2-2 count, Duda pulled a hanging breaking ball to right field. Stanton raced back but the drive cleared the shortened fence.
"That's the matchup we wanted: lefty-lefty. Just need to make a good pitch and get out of that," Hand said. "I left a pitch up to him."
It was Duda's 13th home run in the majors this season - the previous 11 were solo shots. He was recalled from the minors Aug. 24 and has been filling in at first base for injured Ike Davis , hoping to show the Mets he still belongs in their plans.
"It was just a hanging curveball and luckily I got enough of it and it got out. It was pretty windy out there," said Duda, who began the day batting .190 with four extra-base hits against lefties.
Stanton hit his 22nd home run on an 0-2 pitch leading off the seventh. That cut it to 4-3 and gave the slugger nine career multihomer games, three this season.
"We've got a few weeks left so, keep it up," Stanton said. "It really doesn't matter what I do to finish the season, I'll never get back how terrible I've been. But to turn it completely around is something I need to do, something I better do."
LaTroy Hawkins got three straight outs for his ninth save, ending a quick game that took 2 hours, 30 minutes. He struck out Stanton with a 92 mph fastball and retired Justin Ruggiano on a long fly to the warning track in right-center.
An angry Niese was lifted after a one-out single by Ed Lucas . Scott Atchison retired the next two batters before Vic Black and Pedro Feliciano combined for a scoreless eighth.
"I wanted to be in there. But that wasn't the reason I was mad," Niese said. "You set expectations for yourself and when you don't meet them, you get kind of angry. But, other than that, it was a good game and I'm glad we got the win."
Both cleanup batters homered leading off the second.
Stanton hit a screaming rocket deep into the left-center seats. Brown responded with a long drive into the second deck in left, New York's first home run since Justin Turner connected Sunday in Cleveland. The Mets allowed 14 unanswered homers during that stretch.
Consecutive doubles by Lucas and Donovan Solano put the Marlins ahead in the fifth. Miami could have scored more, but Hand bunted into an inning-ending double play with runners at the corners.
NOTES: Turner (right hamstring) probably will be sidelined until at least the middle of next week. ... New York rookie Travis d'Arnaud got dinged when Lucas' backswing hit the catcher on top of his helmet in the second inning. Collins and trainer Ray Ramirez came out to check on d'Arnaud, who remained in the game. ... Mets RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka turned 33. Matsuzaka (0-3, 8.00 ERA) is slated to start against RHP Henderson Alvarez (3-4, 4.34) in the opener of Saturday's traditional doubleheader, scheduled to make up a June 7 rainout. Carlos Torres faces Miami RHP Jacob Turner in the nightcap.