NEW YORK -- Marlins right-hander Elieser Hernandez found himself in a pitchers' duel with Mets left-hander Jason Vargas at Citi Field on Monday night. When it was over, Hernandez ended up taking the defeat in Miami's 2-0 loss at Citi Field.The Marlins are now on a three-game skid, which has
NEW YORK -- Marlins right-hander Elieser Hernandez found himself in a pitchers' duel with Mets left-hander Jason Vargas at Citi Field on Monday night. When it was over, Hernandez ended up taking the defeat in Miami's 2-0 loss at Citi Field.
The Marlins are now on a three-game skid, which has dropped their record to 17-30.
Hernandez has thrown five innings of one-run ball in each of his first two Major League starts, including Monday when he scattered five hits and struck out three batters.
The 23-year-old rookie was coming off a bad cold, but he retired seven of the first eight batters he faced before New York took a 1-0 lead in the third inning. After Amed Rosario singled, Asdrubal Cabrera doubled past first baseman Justin Bour, allowing Rosario to score from first base with two outs.
"He was pretty good. He used his breaking ball a little more tonight," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said about Hernandez. "Again, he attacks. He is always coming after you. It doesn't matter who you are. He is coming to get you. He holds runners really well. He is quick to the plate. You have to earn your bases on him. He did a nice job. We'll see how it progresses."
Prior to the Marlins acquiring Hernandez in this past winter's Rule 5 Draft, Hernandez had never pitched above the Class A Advanced level. But it didn't seem to faze him that he was pitching in the Big Apple in his fourth big league outing.
"It is emotional pitching out here in New York -- in a big city, big stadium," Hernandez said through an interpreter. "But I remind myself, I'm pitching. I got to do my job. I remind myself what I have to do. I go out there and execute."
New York scored an unearned insurance run off reliever Nick Wittgren in the seventh inning on Wilmer Flores' pinch-hit RBI single to drive in Devin Mesoraco.
After matching a season-high nine runs and collecting 12 hits in Sunday's loss to the Braves, the Marlins had a tough time reaching base against the Mets. Vargas had his way with his former ballclub, pitching five innings and permitting just two hits.
The Marlins didn't get their first hit until the fourth inning and had a chance to at least tie the score off Vargas in the fifth. With runners on first and second with one out, Lewis Brinson and Hernandez struck out to end the threat.
"Early on, I thought [Vargas'] changeup had good depth to it. We chased a few early, I thought," Mattingly said. "As the game went on, we got better with it. We didn't do a lot, but we did force him up in the strike zone as the day went on. We couldn't break through."
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Miami loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth, but Mets reliever and former Miami closer AJ Ramos -- the third pitcher for New York in the inning -- struck out pinch-hitter Derek Dietrich to end the threat.
"[Dietrich] gets ahead in the count and just wasn't able to get to AJ," Mattingly said.
Left-hander Adam Conley, who struggled in 2017 and began the season at Triple-A New Orleans before being recalled on Friday, made his season debut. He pitched one shutout inning out of the bullpen, lowering his career ERA to 1.83 -- nine earned runs in 44 1/3 innings -- against the Mets.
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Rookie Brian Anderson, who continues to make the transition from third base to right field look seamless, made a sliding catch to rob Mesoraco of a hit to end the fourth inning.
Left-hander Caleb Smith will face the Mets for the second time this season at 7:10 p.m. ET on Tuesday at Citi Field. In his previous start against New York on April 10, Smith pitched five innings, allowing three runs and striking out seven batters over five innings. Smith's counterpart, Zack Wheeler, looks to rebound from his last start in which he allowed six runs in four innings against the Blue Jays.
Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.