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Masterful Matz leads Mets over Marlins

June 28, 2017

MIAMI -- Steven Matz gave hitters another pitch to think about on Wednesday. The left-hander unveiled a slider for the first time this season, sprinkling in four of them on a night his sinker was inducing plenty of ground balls and soft contact.Backed by two-run home runs from Asdrubal Cabrera

MIAMI -- Steven Matz gave hitters another pitch to think about on Wednesday. The left-hander unveiled a slider for the first time this season, sprinkling in four of them on a night his sinker was inducing plenty of ground balls and soft contact.
Backed by two-run home runs from Asdrubal Cabrera and Curtis Granderson, Matz worked seven brilliant innings and the Mets cruised to an 8-0 win over the Marlins at Marlins Park.

The Marlins never seriously threatened off Matz, who induced 10 ground-ball outs, including two double plays. The lefty threw 110 pitches and had just two swinging strikes. By mixing in the slider, he threw five different pitches, which helped keep Miami guessing.
"The pitch mix is different every start," Matz said. "I'm always going to stick with my strengths, but I'm going to look to see where they can do damage against me."

After the Mets jumped out to a three-run lead in the first inning, Marlins left-hander Jeff Locke settled down, retiring 12 straight after the first. He worked 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs.
"He has that first inning, we've seen a lot of guys having that [rough first], but he settled in really nicely," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "He threw the ball probably as good as he's thrown it after that, which was kind of encouraging, gave us chances to get back in, we just weren't able to do anything."
Locke said he found his rhythm after the first, but it ended up being too late on a night Matz was on point.
"I was happy with the way we came back and didn't give in to anybody," Locke said of weathering the first and getting into the sixth. "We continued to kind of make pitches the best we could. Sometimes when the damage is done, it's a little too late."
For the second straight day, the Mets had a first-inning home run. Cabrera belted a two-run shot to left field in New York's three-run first. Granderson, who connected on a leadoff homer in Tuesday's 6-3 loss, walked to open the game and scored on Cabrera's seventh home run.

Granderson broke the game open with a two-run homer off Justin Nicolino in the seventh inning. The Mets tacked on two more in the eighth on a Brandon Nimmo RBI single.
• Resurrected Granderson continues to rake
Changeup changes third: Matz was in command most of the night, but the lone inning he was in a potential jam was the third. Miami trailed by three at the time, and JT Riddle singled to open the inning and with one out, Dee Gordon singled. With runners on first and second, Matz fell behind in the count, 2-0, to Giancarlo Stanton. The lefty's biggest pitch of the night followed, an 83.3 mph changeup that got Stanton to tap to short, starting a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play.
"We always have to give that guy credit," Mattingly said of Matz. "We didn't have too many chances. Riddle and Dee kind of got something going. You feel like you're in a decent spot, with Big G coming up."

Reyes comes through: Two runs had already scored in the first inning, and the Mets were threatening for more off Locke, who was in position to minimize damage. But a two-out walk to Travis d'Arnaud was a big moment, because it prolonged the inning, and Jose Reyes provided a two-out RBI single to break open a three-run lead.

"I like the way we've been playing baseball lately. We've been doing a really good job, so when you get the ball handed to you, and you have the opportunity to keep the line moving, and hand it off to the next guy tomorrow, that's what your job is. Unfortunately, we had that tough first inning that ate up some pitches." -- Locke, on his 32-pitch, three-run first after his team had taken the series opener on Tuesday
With his two-run single in the eighth, Nimmo improved his career slash line to .471/.571/.471 as a pinch-hitter. Among Mets, only Alejandro De Aza (14) has more pinch hits than Nimmo's eight since the start of last season. And De Aza compiled more than three times as many pinch-hit at-bats during his tenure in New York.

The Marlins are shaking their rotation up for the weekend series at the Brewers. Nicolino is being pulled from the rotation, and Edinson Volquez, who started on Sunday in a win over the Cubs, is now slotted to open the series at Miller Park on Friday. Miami hasn't announced who will start on Saturday, but Mattingly said Tom Koehler is a possibility to get called up from Triple-A New Orleans. Koehler has appeared in three games with the Baby Cakes, posting a 1.15 ERA in 15 2/3 innings. His ERA in eight starts with the Marlins was 7.04 ERA.
Mets: Right-hander Seth Lugo (2-1, 3.72 ERA) will look to keep Matz's momentum rolling in Thursday's 7:10 p.m. ET finale at Marlins Park. Long known for his high-spin rate curveball, Lugo has begun using the pitch more frequently, throwing a career-high 24 of them last time out in San Francisco.
Marlins: Wrapping up the series and homestand for the Marlins is right-hander Jose Urena (6-2, 3.33 ERA), who has won five straight decisions. His last loss was May 17.
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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.