Miami Marlins starter Henderson Alvarez hit hard in loss to New York Mets
07/12/2014 12:00 AM
07/31/2014 5:15 PM
It had to end sometime.
Henderson Alvarez’s team-record run of leading the Marlins to victories in 10 consecutive starts came to a halt Friday night with a series of thumps.
David Wright and Lucas Duda each smashed a pair of towering two-run home runs off Alvarez — each landing in the second deck — as the Mets pounded the Marlins 7-1 in front of a crowd of 25,914 at Citi Field.
Alvarez surrendered a season-high six earned runs on eight hits and lasted only five innings.
“None of my pitches were working like they’ve always worked,” said Alvarez, who hadn’t given up a run to the Mets in 19 1/3 innings (the longest active streak in baseball by a pitcher against an opponent). “I was also leaving pitches up in the zone. The home run Duda hit was a high pitch. The changeup Wright took out was a little up, too.”
Alvarez’s rough night ended one of the best runs by a starting pitcher in baseball as the Marlins (44-48) lost to the Mets (43-50) for the fourth time in their past five meetings. The defeat also guaranteed the Marlins a sub-.500 finish at the All-Star break for the fifth consecutive season.
Zach Wheeler, who tossed a three-hit shutout the last time he faced the Marlins in Miami on June 19, went 6 2/3 innings for New York to improve to 5-8 on the season.
Wheeler gave up only one earned run — a Christian Yelich two-out RBI single in the fifth — on five hits and struck out six.
The Marlins had a chance to do more damage against Wheeler but ran themselves out of a run in the fourth inning when a good relay throw from left field by shortstop Ruben Tejada easily beat Donovan Solano to the plate.
But that one run wouldn’t have been enough to save Alvarez, who allowed nearly as many runs Friday as he did in his previous nine starts combined (seven).
Entering Friday, Alvarez had the second-lowest ERA in baseball since May 22 (1.04) behind only Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (0.97). His ERA, seventh-lowest in the majors entering the day, jumped from 2.27 to 2.63.
“You know when he’s doing good when he’s getting a lot of ground balls, and a lot of quick outs, and [Friday] you could see them starting to elevate, which told you that he was missing up in the zone and out over the plate,” manager Mike Redmond said.
“Unfortunately for him, we weren’t able to muster up a whole lot of offense either, to bail him out. Right now, our bats have been quiet. We haven’t had a lot going over the last three or four games. We need to pick it up and try to win these next two games, and go out on a positive note.”
Juan Lagares started the onslaught against Alvarez with a two-out double to right field in the second inning. Two batters later, Wheeler doubled off the wall in left field to give the Mets a quick 2-0 lead. It was Wheeler’s second hit of the season in 28 at-bats.
The third inning wasn’t any better. After Wright collected the second of four hits with a hard ground ball to left, Duda smacked a 2-1 pitch for his 14th home run of the season. Right fielder Giancarlo Stanton didn’t even move.
Wright then extended the Mets’ lead to 6-1 with an equally impressive bomb to left field two innings later.
Alvarez entered the night with the lowest home run rate (0.29) of any starter in the majors since 2013.
“I’d like for all my starts to be like the 10 before, but there are going to be good days and bad days,” Alvarez said. “I have to keep my head up and move on.”• Marcell Ozuna’s 15-game hitting streak ended with a 0-for-4 performance Friday.
• Stanton ended a 0-for-14 run at the plate with an eighth-inning single but is still only 4 for 28 on the road trip.
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