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Sat, Apr 6, 2013 - 1:10 PM ET
 

Marlins-Mets Preview

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Mike Redmond knows it's not going to be easy as the manager of the Miami Marlins, but another big effort at the plate would surely help.

Justin Ruggiano certainly makes it look easy against the New York Mets.

After Redmond got his first victory at the helm of the Marlins, Ruggiano looks to continue pounding the Mets in the middle game of this series at Citi Field on Saturday.

Miami (1-3) hit .167 and was outscored 11-1 while being swept in its season-opening series at Washington. However, the club broke out of that early slump in impressive fashion Friday, collecting 11 hits - five for extra bases - in a 7-5 win at New York.

"Pretty cool, obviously," Redmond said of getting his first win. "I knew it wasn't going to be easy, and it wasn't. No easy wins in the big leagues, but for the first one, I will remember it for the rest of my life."

Redmond may have Ruggiano to thank after his center fielder doubled on one of his two hits, drove in two runs and stole two bases. That came a day after he connected for a solo shot to account for the Marlins' first run of the season in a 6-1 loss to the Nationals.

Ruggiano could be in for another strong performance at the plate since he's batting .400 with five RBIs and four steals in eight career meetings with the Mets (2-2). All of those stolen bases came in five games in Flushing, where he's gone 8 for 19.

He's 2 for 5 versus Jonathon Niese, who will take the mound for the Mets as he attempts to begin a second straight season with back-to-back wins.

The left-hander got 2013 off to an impressive start Monday, yielding two runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings while helping himself with two hits and an RBI in an 11-2 win over San Diego. He threw 101 pitches and insisted he go out for the seventh.

"Last year was kind of the year where I hit that sixth inning and I had 95 pitches, and they kind of shut me down," Niese told the team's official website. "This year, I want to be that guy that goes back out and finishes my start. I just told (manager Terry Collins) that I wanted to go back out and I felt like I had a lot left."

Niese is 1-1 with a 3.06 ERA in five starts against the Marlins over the last two seasons.

He'll be opposed by Ricky Nolasco, who hasn't won at Citi Field in five starts since September 2009. Miami wasted two solid performances there by the right-hander last season as he went seven innings in each and gave up three total runs.

The four combined runs he got in those starts were still much more than the Marlins gave him in Monday's 2-0 loss at Washington on opening day. Nolasco yielded three hits over six innings, but two were solo homers to Bryce Harper while Miami mustered three hits.

John Buck, a member of the Marlins the last two years, continues to be an unexpected offensive bright spot for the Mets. The catcher has hit safely in all four games, going 7 for 17 with two homers and five RBIs.

David Wright, who's off to a 3-for-14 start, might be able to get going Saturday. He's 12 for 27 with three homers and three doubles against Nolasco since 2010.

Tagged: Mets, Marlins, Ricky Nolasco, Justin Ruggiano, Jonathon Niese

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