The Marlins dug themselves into an early hole, and it was all done by hand — Brad Hand.
The Mets lit up Hand for seven runs in the first two innings, with six coming on three homers, before coasting to a 7-0 victory Saturday at Marlins Park.
The victory kept the first-place Mets five games ahead of Washington in the National League East. The loss for the Marlins brought an end to their four-game winning streak.
It was over early.
“You dig yourself a hole that deep, it’s tough to dig out of,” Marlins manager Dan Jennings said. “Brad just didn’t have it tonight.”
Travis d’Arnaud tagged a 3-run homer off Hand in the first, followed immediately by a solo shot by Wilmer Flores. The Mets chased Hand in the second, with Juan Lagares connecting on a two-run shot and d’Arnaud adding a RBI single off mop-up reliever Andre Rienzo.
Bartolo Colon, meanwhile, continued his mastery over the Marlins.
The 42-year-old hurler scattered nine hits without allowing a run while extending his streak of consecutive scoreless innings to 25. He become the second pitcher this season to toss a complete-game shutout against the Marlins. Atlanta’s Shelby Miller did it on May 17.
Once again, he didn’t walk any Marlins, and has now gone 491/3 straight innings without issuing a free pass to Miami. Colon even dazzled the crowd when he nonchalantly made a behind-the-back flip to first on Justin Bour’s grounder in the sixth.
“He knows how to control bat speed,” Jennings said. “He lets you put the ball in play. He’s not going to beat himself. He understands the art of pitching.”
This and that
▪ The Marlins are looking forward to Jose Fernandez starting the 2016 season in the rotation. But they also want to ensure he’s there for them at the end, as well, and will likely take measures to lighten his workload to achieve that goal.
Fernandez, who returned from Tommy John surgery in July, has thrown only 77 total innings (minors and majors) this season, and could finish with right around 100, assuming he returns from his latest stint on the disabled list to make three or four more starts.
He hasn’t pitched a full season since 2013.
Jennings said a plan for Fernandez would likely be developed during the offseason, or early in spring training.
“I think we’ll address the plans for him next year,” Jennings said, “whether it’s potentially skipping starts, adding a day somewhere here and there —realizing that it’s essentially been a year-and-a-half since he’s gone through a full major-league season.”
Scott Boras, who is Fernandez’s agent, spoke out earlier in the week about another of his clients who returned this season from Tommy John surgery, Mets pitcher Matt Harvey.
Boras said the Mets should allow Harvey to throw no more than 180 innings. Harvey, who did not pitch at all last season, is already up to 166 innings, and the Mets are pushing for the playoffs.
“This is not a club’s decision,” Boras told cbssports.com on the Harvey situation. “This is a doctor’s decision. Any club that chooses to defy a surgeon’s wishes is putting the player in peril.”
If ever there was a season that Jarred Cosart would like to forget, this would be the one. Cosart has spent most of the year dealing with vertigo caused by an ear infection. As a result, he’s made only eight starts with the Marlins, going 1-4 with a 5.36 ERA.
“This is the craziest [season], obviously,” Cosart said.
Cosart will receive Sunday’s start against the Mets, even though his minor-league numbers haven’t been spectacular. Cosart has gone 0-3 with a 4.98 ERA and a high WHIP of 1.573 in eight minor-league rehab outings.
“It’s a lot better now,” Cosart said of his vertigo.
Cosart said he underwent therapy and a battery of tests.
“A lot of therapy stuff,” he said. “A lot of machines, reaction-time stuff. Dark rooms, a lot of lights moving around, getting your eyes and ears on the same page. It wasn’t fun, obviously. But it was necessary to get back and try to help the team finish up strong.”
▪ Sunday: Marlins RHP Jarred Cosart (1-4, 5.36) vs. New York Mets LHP Steven Matz (2-0, 1.32), 1:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
▪ Monday: Marlins LHP Justin Nicolino (3-2, 3.07) vs. Milwaukee Brewers RHP Zach Davies (0-0, 8.31), 1:10 p.m., Marlins Park.