NEW YORK -- If the road to the top of the National League East goes through Washington and New York, as so many pundits predict, the Marlins are doing their best to travel it.Earning an 8-1 win over the Mets on Saturday behind Adam Conley's five strong innings and Marcell
NEW YORK -- If the road to the top of the National League East goes through Washington and New York, as so many pundits predict, the Marlins are doing their best to travel it.
Earning an 8-1 win over the Mets on Saturday behind Adam Conley's five strong innings and Marcell Ozuna's productive game, the Marlins ensured themselves a series win at Citi Field with one game to go. They also won their third straight against the NL East's behemoths on this season-opening road trip.
"It is a park that I love coming to," said Conley, who has a career ERA of 1.23 against the Mets. "I really like this stadium a lot. I think what it really comes down to in this game, a lot of times, there are pitches that are made throughout a game that are crucial in dictating the outcome. For whatever reason, I seem to be able to make that pitch."
Ozuna was the offensive star, hitting a leadoff homer in the second inning and finishing with his second consecutive multi-hit game. His night overshadowed that of even Giancarlo Stanton, who rapped out three singles and drove in the Marlins' first run.
"It felt like a complete game for us," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Adam threw zeros for us, we put some runs on the board early, and then we were able to tack on late, and take a little pressure off us."
Three of the runs came against Mets starter Robert Gsellman, who mustered five innings of three-run ball despite multiple defensive blunders behind him. The Mets simply never recovered from their early deficit, going hitless against Conley until Lucas Duda's two-out solo homer in the fifth. The Marlins left-hander allowed no other hits in five innings, striking out six.
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"We're just collectively not swinging as well as we know we can," Mets second baseman Neil Walker said. "These last two days haven't been great days for a lot of us."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Way gone: Ozuna left no doubt with his homer off Gsellman, parking it in the second deck in left field to lead off the second inning. Coming off Ozuna's bat at 111 mph, the ball was the Marlins' hardest-hit home run so far this season. Ozuna now owns two of Miami's six hardest-hit balls in 2017, though the other resulted in a 111.5-mph double play.
"We're ... staying aggressive," Mattingly said. "We're getting it from all different places. … We have that kind of lineup we feel can nick you all over."
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Triple the misfortune:Statcast™ estimated that Curtis Granderson had an 87-percent probability to catch J.T. Realmuto's leadoff hit in the third inning. Instead, Granderson misjudged the ball, breaking in as it flew over his head for a triple. The next batter, Miguel Rojas, hit a sacrifice fly to give the Marlins their third run.
"No one is trying to do too much. Everyone is sticking to their plan, staying in their zone, and it's showing. We've had good at-bats, with runners in scoring position, too. We had high averages last year, but we didn't score as many runs as we should have." -- Stanton after his three-hit game. The Marlins had 13 hits.
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Realmuto has four multi-hit games to start the season, the most by any Marlins player since Emilio Bonifacio in 2009.
Things could have been much worse for Gsellman, who found himself trailing, 3-0, with no outs in the third inning. But the rookie starter recovered to strike out five of the 14 batters he faced from that point forward, finishing with seven strikeouts over five innings of three-run ball.
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"I was just out of my mechanics a little bit," Gsellman said. "My sinker was moving side-to-side instead of sinking down, and that led to a couple hits and a couple runs early in the game. But I fixed it after the third inning."
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Mets manager Terry Collins lost his first challenge in three attempts this year on a would-be double play ball in the seventh. A replay review upheld first-base umpire Tony Randazzo's original call that Christian Yelich was safe at first base.
Marlins:Edinson Volquez started the road trip -- and Opening Day -- on April 3 at Washington, and the right-hander closes the six-game swing on Sunday at 8:00 p.m. ET in New York. When he was with the Royals in 2016, Volquez faced the Mets on Opening Day, and threw six shutout innings in a win.
Mets:Noah Syndergaard will return to prime time when the Mets and Marlins cap their series. Though Syndergaard left his Opening Day start early due to a blister on his right middle finger, he has been treating it all week and expects to experience no ill effects in Sunday's game.
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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.