The best home team in baseball just keeps rolling along.
A night after rallying late to pull off their second walk-off victory in a row, the Marlins on Tuesday rode the arm of Henderson Alvarez and the bats of Casey McGehee and Giancarlo Stanton to their major-league leading 16th home win of the season.
The final: a 3-0 shutout of the visiting New York Mets in front of 18,315 at Marlins Park.
Alvarez was sensational and efficient.
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The 24-year old Venezuelan right-hander held the Mets to six hits, struck out six and retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced in tossing his second shutout of the season — and third since his no-hitter in last September’s season finale. Alvarez threw 111 pitches and 79 went for strikes.
“Not only was it efficient, it was a fairly easy 94 pitches going into the ninth,” said manager Mike Redmond, whose team breezed by the Mets in two hours and eight minutes — one minute longer than it took them to beat the Braves 9-0 when this nine-game homestand began back on April 29.
“It will be nice to get a little extra sleep with that early game [Wednesday].”
The Marlins (18-15) are in the midst of playing 20 games in 20 consecutive days and begin an 11-game West Coast trip — without a day off — on Thursday in San Diego. If the Marlins can finish off a sweep against New York on Wednesday afternoon, they’ll finish the homestand 8-1.
Tuesday, the Marlins didn’t wait until late to get their bats going against the Mets. Alvarez got all the offense he needed in the first inning.
Stanton put the Marlins ahead 1-0 when he crushed a Bartolo Colon pitch off the center field wall, scoring Derek Dietrich all the way around from first base. Casey McGehee followed with a single through the hole into right field to plate Stanton. It was McGehee’s 22nd RBI of the season.
Dietrich then ignited a two-out rally in the fifth with a single to center. After Stanton singled to right, McGehee upped his team-leading batting average with runners in scoring position to .441 with a line drive single to center.
Colon settled in after that, going seven innings for the Mets.
“You know Bartolo is going to throw the ball well. He’s been doing it a long time,” McGehee said. “You’re not going to have too many opportunities against him. It was definitely nice to get a couple early. Alvarez did the rest.”
The three times the Mets (16-16) threatened to score, Alvarez wiggled himself out of trouble.
In the fourth, with a runner on third and one out, Alvarez got David Wright to line out to Marcell Ozuna in shallow center, and then Curtis Granderson to line out to Stanton right. In the sixth, after a two-out double by Daniel Murphy put runners on second and third, Alvarez got Wright to ground out to short.
Murphy then doubled with one out in the ninth. But Alvarez got out of that by getting Wright to ground out to second and then striking Granderson out to end the game.
“I’ve been working with [pitching coach] Chuck [Hernandez] in the bullpen on fixing a few pitches — the slider, sinker, trying to get the sinker down like I was [Tuesday],” said Alvarez, who is now 2-2 with a 2.62 ERA.
“The sinker and change-up were really working.”
Among active pitchers with 65-or-fewer career starts, Alvarez has the most complete-game shutouts (four) of any. The next closest has two. Marlins starting pitchers are now 6-0 with a 1.92 ERA over their last 13 starts at home.
McGehee and Stanton, meanwhile, raised their combined RBI to 61 on the season — most by a pair of teammates in baseball.
“These streaks — the winning streaks, the winning — this is where you build your chemistry, your relationships,” Redmond said. “That’s where we’re at. We’re playing with a lot of confidence right now.
“Hopefully, we can finish it off [Wednesday], and then go on the road, and start winning some games out of our suitcases. I think that’s important and really big in our development process.”