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Uplifting win as rookie and vet lead Mets over Marlins

Johan Santana. Photo by: Stacy Podelski

On a day where everything could have gone wrong, the New York Mets (9-8) were able to regain their winning ways against the Miami Marlins (7-9) in a 2-1 comeback victory on Tuesday night. New York rallied for the fourth come-from-behind victory, which is their first since April 21 versus the Giants.

It was a day that the younger guys needed to step-up as both Mike Pelfrey and Jason Bay were both placed on the 15-Day Disabled List. Emotions were also running high, as former mate Jose Reyes made his return to Citi Field in a Miami uniform.

Reyes, who was greeted in the pre-game batting practice with chants of his name, and a video tribute-received a much different greeting when he took his first at-bat….as the Citi Field faithful booed the shortstop.

Jose also got a glimpse of what the future maybe like for New York, as center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis went all-out after a fly ball in the first inning, which if it touched the turf, could have been an easy triple for the speedy Reyes.

Instead Nieuwenhuis was able to track down the ball, crashing into the outfield wall to make a great grab.

“Huge that should be the lead story tonight-Jose’s return crashes one and a rookie center fielder makes the great catch,” manager Terry Collins said after the game. “We really needed it, we needed that lift in the beginning and he gave it to us.”

Starter Johan Santana had a sensational start for New York, sitting down 11 batters for the 50th time in his career, which is the most by a Mets pitcher since Chris Capuano fanned 13 on August 26, 2011 vs. Atlanta.

“This is for me what big pitchers do, they stop stuff-they stop losing streaks, they go and give you a chance to win games,” Collins said of Santana’s uplifting performance.  “What this guy brings to this team isn’t just in wins and losses -it is what he can do when you really need him too and if you need someone to step-up he can do that.”

New York was not able to support the ace-lefty at the dish though, as the team has yet to produce a run in the four starts by Santana. The one thing they did do though was start to work the count again and have patient at-bats towards the end of the game-that has been a big key to the success of the Metropolitans thus far this season.

It was in the bottom of the seventh when four consecutive walks led to the Mets tying up the game. Working the pitch count in that frame were Lucas DudaJustin TurnerScott Hairston and Josh Thole who forced in the first run for New York.

“To be able to draw the four walks and score runs in that inning that is the team that I know we have,” Collins said. “We are willing to be patient at the plate until we can get something we can handle.”

Thole has been red-hot at the dish for the Mets, as with his double in the third innings allowed the backstop to reach base in all 15 games he has played this year.

“He is swinging the bat well, I felt real comfortable with that at-bat with the way he (Thole) can make contact to any part of the field,” Collins said. “He is a tough guy to defend and I felt real good about that inning.”

Duda drove home the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth with a clutch single to drive in Nieuwenhuis, which allowed the Mets to win their third straight game in their last at-bat.

Making his Major League Debut for New York was infielder Zach Lutz, with a pinch hitting appearance in the seventh inning. Fans should keep an eye out for lefty Robert Carson, as the rookie has been called to take the place of Pelfrey.

The franchise also announced that they have signed outfielder Dustin Martin to a minor league contract, and have assigned the outfielder to Buffalo (AAA). The 28-year-old hit .265 (130-490) in 2011, with 26 doubles, 15 homers, five triples and 69 RBI’s in 36 games for the Rochester Red Wings.

Earning the victory for the Mets was Jon Rauch (3-0) who tossed one inning of scoreless ball, since coming to New York the reliever has been impressive continuing to keep opponents off the scoreboard.

“He has done great, he told me that he can pitch whenever I needed him too,” said Collins. “He has done just that and has done a tremendous job.”

It will be an interesting match-up for game two as Miami is slated to send out lefty Mark Buehrle (1-2, 2.66 ERA) to take on R.A. Dickey (2-1, 5.71 ERA).

Buehrle is set to make his fourth start of the season, after coming off his first NL victory, which was a 9-1 decision over the Chicago Cubs on April 18 at Marlins Park. The lefty has never faced the Mets over his 12 +-year career, but he does have some history pitching in the Big Apple holding a 1-3 record with a 4.93 ERA against the cross-town rival Yankees.

Dickey has done well in his starts against the Marlins, holding a 5-2 record with a 3.91 ERA. The righty had a 3-0 record in in starts versus the Fish.

Game Two between the Mets and Marlins is set to air on the SNY Network, with first pitch slated for 7:10 p.m.

Notes:  The Mets had a ton of special moments prior to Game One against the Marlins, as sanitation heroes Joseph Maneggio and Semi Nkozi, who rescued five children and their mother from a burning building in Queens on December 13th, were on hand to greet players and throw out the first pitch.

The guys also took time to interact with families from Tuesday’s Children prior to the game. The 9-11 charity serves all those directly impacted to by the events of the events of September 11, 2001-through life-changing programs and services.

Fans interested in learning more about Tuesday’s Children are encouraged to click on the link below:


Written on April 24, 2012 seen on the Examiner.com site below:


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