Wright, Duda power surging Mets past Marlins 7-1

 

AP Sports Writer

All of a sudden, the New York Mets are putting on a pitching-and-power show at Citi Field.

David Wright went 4 for 4 with a mammoth homer, Lucas Duda also hit a long two-run shot and New York rocked recent nemesis Henderson Alvarez in a 7-1 victory over the Miami Marlins on Friday night.

Zack Wheeler shut down Miami again and Juan Lagares had three hits as the fourth-place Mets (43-50) improved to 6-2 on a 10-game homestand that takes them into the All-Star break.

"We can do some damage in the second half," Wright said.

After struggling at the plate most of the season, the Mets began the night with the most home runs in the National League since June 17 and increased their total to 25 in the last 23 games.

As for the pitchers, New York starters own a 1.29 ERA in 42 innings over the past six games. Add it all up, and the Mets have won 12 of their last 18 at spacious Citi Field to even their home record at 23-23.

"It's really hard to describe what it's like playing here in the early season when it's cold and it's damp and the ball just doesn't go anywhere," manager Terry Collins said. "We told them, 'Look, when it starts to warm up, it's a different park. It's a fair park.'"

Wheeler (5-8) pitched 6 2-3 strong innings and helped himself with an RBI double. He moved to 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA in five career starts against the Marlins, including a three-hitter in a 1-0 win June 19 that was his first major league complete game.

"It's always nice to go out there and pitch with some runs on the board," Wheeler said.

Alvarez (6-4) had been on quite a roll, allowing two runs or fewer in each of his last nine games. He was 4-0 with a 1.04 ERA during that stretch, and the Marlins had won his last 10 outings — a club record for one of their starters.

He was particularly tough on the Mets, too, going 4-0 with a 1.01 ERA in his past five starts against them. But this time, Alvarez was tagged for a season-high six earned runs and eight hits in five ineffective innings.

"He made a lot of mistakes over the plate on the center-cut fastballs and they did some damage with them," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "He didn't have the type of movement he's had over his last few starts. That ended up being the difference."

Lagares got the Mets started with a two-out double in the second and Ruben Tejada hit an RBI single, ending Alvarez's scoreless streak against New York at 20 innings. Wheeler then short-hopped the left-field fence between the 358 and 370 signs for his second extra-base hit and fourth RBI in 58 career at-bats.

Wheeler came in batting .037 this season (1 for 27), and Mets pitchers were at a paltry .077 with 13 hits in 168 at-bats.

Curtis Granderson flied out to the center-field fence to end the inning.

Duda had no such trouble with the dimensions in the third, sending a shot soaring into the second deck in right for his 14th home run. Giancarlo Stanton never moved his feet in right field, arching his back to stare straight up as the ball sailed way over his head.

"My pitches weren't really working today. I was leaving some pitches up in the zone," Alvarez said through a translator. "I just wish it was like the last 10 starts."

Wright did Duda one better in the fifth, driving an 0-2 pitch from Alvarez into the rarely reached second deck in left for his eighth home run.

"That's about all I've got," Wright said with a grin. "Usually they end up in that party deck, that first row. That one went a little bit farther."

Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a leadoff triple in the sixth and scored when Lagares grounded a single through the drawn-in infield.

Nieuwenhuis also made a tough play in the left-field corner and combined with Tejada on a strong relay that cut down Donovan Solano at the plate on Casey McGehee's fourth-inning double.

Christian Yelich had an RBI single for Miami in the fifth.

NOTES: Stanton snapped an 0-for-14 slide with an eighth-inning single. ... Wright also had three singles. His four hits matched a career high, done 19 times. ... New York signed its first-round draft pick, outfielder Michael Conforto out of Oregon State. ... Wheeler's double was the fourth extra-base hit by a Mets pitcher this year. He also had a sacrifice bunt. ... Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (6-7), from nearby New Rochelle, faces RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-3) on Saturday.

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