Mets use four-run eighth inning to back Zack Wheeler's strong outing in 4-1 victory over Marlins



MIAMI — Just Amazing. After being no-hit for six innings, the Mets rallied for four runs in the eighth inning Wednesday night to beat the Marlins 4-1 in their MLB-leading sixth come-from-behind win. That capped the season’s longest and perhaps most dominating Mets start of the season by Zack Wheeler, who was demoted after losing a battle for a spot in spring.


The Mets (10-1) are off to the best start in franchise history. They swept the Marlins (3-9) for the first time since 2015 and won every game on a road trip of six games or more for the first time since 1991.


Wheeler was brilliant in his first start since July 22, 2017. He held the Marlins to a run on two hits. He walked one, struck out seven and became the first Mets starter to pitch into the seventh inning this season. He needed just 77 pitches to do so.


It almost went to waste.


After a real scare to start the eighth, with Kevin Plawecki, the Mets only remaining healthy big-league catcher, taking a 100-mph fastball on the back of his hand, the Mets let loose. Michael Conforto, who was “surprised” he was not in the lineup, came off the bench and doubled off lefty Chris O’Grady.


Mickey Callaway went with Adrian Gonzalez to pinch hit for Wheeler and the move paid off. Gonzalez singled on a line drive to center that scored two. Wilmer Flores hit a ground-rule double to score another.


Just an inning before, the Mets lineup looked helpless.

Zack Wheeler allowed just a run over seven innings of work.

Zack Wheeler allowed just a run over seven innings of work.

(Lynne Sladky/AP)


Jarlin Garcia no-hit the Mets for six innings. He walked two and struck out three on 77 pitches before Don Mattingly pulled him and went to his unreliable bullpen. Drew Steckenrider took over and gave up a two-out single to Todd Frazier in the seventh.


Wheeler was almost as dominant, giving up a home run to Miguel Rojas in the first and then, after a single to Chris Wallach in the second, retired 16 straight batters he faced.


“He has to put the ball over the plate, his stuff is so good,” Callaway said. “If he feels that comfort level where he can do that consistently, then that’s the case.… He’s got to have confidence, and if it gives him confidence, then it will work.”


Wheeler looked confident Wednesday night making the start in the rotation spot for the injured Jason Vargas. He lost his rotation spot basically when the Mets went out and signed Vargas, a veteran lefty, as insurance for an injury-prone rotation. He also struggled this spring as he tried to adopt a new, shorter delivery.


He made that change to try and take some stress off his arm. After 2015 Tommy John surgery, Wheeler had a setback-filled, two-year rehab. He pitched half a year in 2017 before being shut down with a stress reaction in his right arm.


Wednesday night, Wheeler looked comfortable with the changes he made. He was aggressive attacking the zone and efficient.

Jarlin Garcia didn't allow hit over six innings before being pulled by manager Don Mattingly.

Jarlin Garcia didn’t allow hit over six innings before being pulled by manager Don Mattingly.

(Lynne Sladky/AP)


PLAY OF THE GAME


Michael Conforto’s pinch-hit double in the eighth sparked a four-run rally to keep the Mets’ winning streak alive.


TURNING POINT


Mickey Callaway’s decision to pinch hit Adrian Gonzalez against lefty Chris O’Grady paid off as the Mets rallied to take the lead in the eighth inning.


STAR OF THE GAME


Zack Wheeler returned from the minor leagues to pitch perhaps the best start of the season by a Mets pitcher. He is the first to go seven innings. He held the Marlins to one run on two hits. He walked one and struck out seven.


UNSUNG HERO


Todd Frazier broke up the no-hit bid in the seventh, waking the Mets offense, and drove in a run on a sacrifice fly in the Mets’ four-run eighth inning.


STAT OF THE GAME


6-0. The Mets swept their first road trip of the season and first time that they have won every game on a road trip that was six games or more since July 1-7, 1991. They went 7-0 against Montreal and Philadelphia on that trip.


MIA


Yoenis Cespedes’ struggles continued Wednesday night going 0-for-3 with a walk. He finished the road trip 3-for-27 with 14 strikeouts.

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