MIAMI (AP) — Scoring early and often, the New York Mets made up for a slow start to their 10-game trip.
The Mets took the lead in the first inning for the fourth game in a row and won the rubber game of their series against the Miami Marlins 6-3 Thursday.
New York went 5-5 in three cities despite being swept in four games by the Dodgers starting the trip.
“We’ll take it,” manager Terry Collins said. “We didn’t get down and pack up and go home. We showed up every day and played hard.”
Jay Bruce capped the trip by scoring twice and delivering a pair of RBI hits, including a single in the Mets’ two-run first .
“To get the momentum early is huge,” Bruce said. “The person it’s probably the biggest for is our pitcher — to settle in and get in a groove and not have to feel like they have to make every single pitch.”
Seth Lugo (3-1), making his fourth start of the year, kept the lead. He went six innings and allowed three runs, including Giancarlo Stanton’s 21st homer .
“I struck him out on the same pitch the time before,” Lugo said. “It happens.”
Addison Reed, New York’s fourth pitcher, pitched around a leadoff single in the ninth to earn his 12th save.
T.J. Rivera had three hits and two RBIs, while Curtis Granderson scored twice and drove in a run for the Mets, who overtook Miami for third place in the NL East. They’ve outscored opponents 41-17 winning five of their past six games.
“It’s a steppingstone in the right direction,” Collins said. “We hope our starting pitching is starting to fall in place for us, and if it does we’ve got an exciting second half ahead of us.”
The Marlins, by contrast, are sputtering. They’ve scored only 21 runs in their past eight games.
“We put ourselves in trouble every day in the series in the first inning getting behind,” manager Don Mattingly said. “At some point, you’re not going to be able to continue to get yourself back to win games.”
Jose Urena (6-3) gave up five runs, three earned, in six innings. He retired his final 11 batters but still lost for the first time in his past six decisions.
Granderson led off the first with a double, Bruce hit an RBI single and Rivera doubled home a run.
A bad throw by rookie shortstop J.T. Riddle helped the Mets score three runs, two unearned, in the third. Bruce’s bloop double scored one run, and another came home on Rivera’s RBI single.
Riddle made amends with a nifty unassisted double play in the eighth.
The Marlins bunched three consecutive two-out singles and scored twice in the sixth. The rally might have been even bigger, but Dee Gordon was thrown out trying to steal early in the inning, a questionable move with his team down four runs.
“He’s probably thinking he’s pretty sure he can get there,” Mattingly said, “but it does end up being something that hurts us.”
∫ CLOSE CALL: Stanton was unhurt taking a nasty, awkward spill when he crossed home plate scoring from second on Martin Prado’s single. Catcher Rene Rivera was shaken up but stayed in the game.
“That was a bad play on my part,” Stanton said. “I wanted to slide I just couldn’t get my timing and footing down.”
∫ STILL RUNNING: Marlins 43-year-old Ichiro Suzuki started in left field for the third time this season and made a sliding catch in foul territory after a long run chasing Jose Reyes’ popup.
∫ TRAINER’S ROOM: Mets: RHP Zack Wheeler (biceps tendinitis) threw a bullpen session, and barring a setback he’ll be activated to start Saturday against the Phillies. … OF Michael Conforto (bruised left wrist) missed his third game in a row and said he still feels discomfort swinging a bat. … 1B Lucas Duda (flu) was held out of the starting lineup and struck out as a pinch hitter in the ninth.