Masterful Conley hopes to help down stretch

August 20th, 2017

NEW YORK -- If the Marlins are going to get back over .500 and make things interesting in the National League Wild Card standings down the stretch, they will need to mirror the performance he turned in on Sunday.

The left-hander struck out a career-high 11 batters and scattered three hits over seven innings in the Marlins' 6-4 win over the Mets at Citi Field.

Miami took two of three, improving to 60-62 before facing Philadelphia in a doubleheader on Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park.

Matched against , one of the top pitchers in the NL, Conley allowed just one run -- a first-inning homer to . From there, he cruised and made it through seven innings, finishing with 102 pitches.

"He was getting better as the game went on. That was good to see," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Early on, I wasn't quite sure, but then it got better."

All three of the lefty's pitches were working, and Conley kept the New York hitters off-balance.

"The big thing for me is just pitching with my gut, what I see in the swing," Conley said. "I see a swing or timing and I kind of just have a gut feeling of what I want to throw."

According to Statcast™, Conley threw 66 fastballs, 21 sliders and 15 changeups. The lefty collected 18 swinging strikes, including nine on his slider.

"If you get the ball in on them, or get it up and in, or you're throwing some good sliders and you're seeing some good swings there, you start to get a lot of information," Conley said. "And you start to basically put those hitters on their heels. And that's really the goal every time you go out there: It's to throw the pitches that I want to throw and force them to swing at what I want them to. I had a pretty good string of that today."

Conley collected a big double play to get out of the fourth inning. He started to wobble a bit after hitting and walking to open the inning. With one out, he got to bounce to shortstop for a double play with a shifted infield.

Conley fanned Smith twice, including with one out and one on in the seventh inning.

The Marlins have 40 games remaining and look to make a push in the final six weeks.

"We're playing good baseball right now," Conley said. "I want to be a big part of that. It feels good going out there playing knowing that we're doing well. To come win a series on the road is huge, especially in our division."