Mets, Marlins open series after differing outcomes

NEW YORK — The New York Mets, in the midst of a long-awaited winning streak, probably cannot wait to get back on the field Monday. The Miami Marlins, on the other hand, might prefer to take the day off following one of the most stunning losses any team endured yet this season.

A pair of teams that experienced vastly different results Sunday will meet Monday night, when the Mets host the Marlins in the opener of a three-game series at Citi Field.

Mets left-hander Jason Vargas (0-3, 13.86 ERA) is scheduled to make his first start in almost two weeks when he opposes Marlins right-hander Elieser Hernandez (0-0, 2.25 ERA).

The Mets should be bursting with momentum after Asdrubal Cabrera and Amed Rosario hit back-to-back homers in the eighth inning Sunday to lift New York to a 4-1 win over the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Marlins, on the other hand, may be reeling after they gave up six runs in the ninth inning and fell to the host Atlanta Braves, 10-9.

The late dramatics marked the second straight game in which the Mets (23-19) grabbed momentum in their penultimate at-bat. On Saturday, catcher Devin Mesoraco hit a game-tying two-run homer in the eighth inning before Wilmer Flores delivered the walk-off sacrifice fly in the ninth. On Sunday, New York had just three hits, including Rosario’s solo homer in the first six innings before scoring all its seventh-inning runs with two outs.

The three straight wins mark the first winning streak for the Mets since a nine-game run from April 3-13 when they began the season with 11 wins in 12 games. They were 9-18 in between winning streaks.

“Mes got a big hit yesterday and then Cabby today those are the things that we were missing,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said Sunday afternoon. “Today’s game, for six or seven innings, looked like the games that we’ve been playing for the last six weeks. We were in it, but we had one hit and then Rosey pops a homer and then Cabby comes up, gets a homer.

“We just hadn’t been getting those timely hits that we need to win games and we’ve been getting those the last few days.”

The Marlins (17-29) appeared on their way to a series win over the National League East-leading Braves before Atlanta stormed back with a rally that included five runs scored with two outs. Atlanta produced five hits, drew three walks and took advantage of a two-out error by Miami first baseman Miguel Rojas, who had two homers and four RBIs.

Instead of building off a second straight series win over an NL contender after taking two of three from the Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly acknowledged Miami might have a hard time putting Sunday’s loss in the rear-view mirror.

“You don’t really get much tougher than this,” Mattingly told reporters afterward. “Obviously we’re going to have to, but right now, it feels pretty hollow to talk about getting ready to play (Monday). That’s what’s going to have to happen.”

“This one is going to sink in a little bit and hopefully we find some ways to learn from it.”

Vargas lost for the third time in as many starts on May 8, when he gave up four runs in four innings as the Mets fell to the Cincinnati Reds, 7-2. With a pair of off-days last week, the Mets were able to utilize a four-man rotation and allow Vargas to get in some side work in hopes he could fix what has been ailing him.

Vargas suffered a broken right hand during a minor league game on March 16 but returned to the Mets after making just one minor league rehab start.

Vargas will be making just his second career start against the Marlins, with whom he began his big-league career in 2005. He took the loss on June 25, 2011, when, as a member of the Seattle Mariners, Vargas allowed four runs over six innings in the Mariners’ 4-2 victory.

Hernandez, a 23-year-old rookie, will be making his second big league start and fourth career appearance. He didn’t factor into the decision in his first start last Wednesday, when he gave up one run over five innings in the Marlins’ 6-5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

This will be Hernandez’s first appearance against the Mets.

The Mets completed a three-game sweep in Miami April 9-11.