MIAMI (AP) The New York Mets are winning even when they can’t get a hit against the opposing starter.
Miami Marlins lefty Jarlin Garcia was pulled after pitching six hitless innings in his first major league start Wednesday, and the Mets rallied to take took advantage of a strong season debut by Zack Wheeler and win 4-1 for their eighth consecutive victory.
Garcia’s 70 previous career outings were in relief, and manager Don Mattingly took him out after 77 pitches. Mattingly said a complete game was beyond Garcia’s reach, and the decision wasn’t difficult.
”It’s real easy, honestly, but I know it’s not popular,” Mattingly said. ”I know he’s not going to make it. … His last two innings he had deep counts, and you could tell he was laboring.”
Pinch-hitter Adrian Gonzalez’s two-run single off Chris O’Grady in a four-run eighth put the Mets ahead and helped extend the best start in team history to 10-1.
Under new manager Mickey Callaway, the Mets already have six come-from-behind victories. They went 6-0 on a two-city swing, going unbeaten on a trip of six games or more for the first time since 1991 and the second time in franchise history.
”I think what you’re going to see throughout the season is that when we’re down, we know how to get the job done,” Callaway said. ”We’re never going to give up. That probably the biggest part of a good start like this.”
Drew Steckenrider replaced Garcia with a 1-0 lead in the seventh and retired the first two batters before Todd Frazier broke up the combined no-hit bid by lining a 1-2 pitch for a single.
Garcia had no complaint about being pulled.
”I felt like I could have kept going,” the Dominican said through an interpreter. ”But it’s not my decision. It’s up to the manager.”
Wheeler (1-0) gave up a homer to Miguel Rojas in the first inning but allowed only one other hit and retired his final 16 batters. He departed after seven innings and 83 pitches.
Wheeler made his first start of the year for the Mets after struggling in spring training and beginning the season in the minors. It marked the first time the Mets’ heralded quintet of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Matt Harvey and Wheeler made a rotation turn together.
When asked if Wheeler will get another start, Callaway smiled.
”I would assume so,” he said. ”He was pretty good.”
Wheeler said a change in his delivery has finally clicked.
”It’s very satisfying,” he said. ”I had a lot of trouble in the spring repeating it. It’s hard to get out of that other arm slot. But it’s paying off. The results showed that tonight, and I’m very happy with tonight’s performance.”
A.J. Ramos completed a two-hitter by getting the final two outs on a double play for his first save this year and the 100th of his career.
New York overcame a 1-0 deficit in the eighth. Kevin Plawecki was hit by a pitch, and he went to third when pinch hitter Michael Conforto doubled off O’Grady (0-1). Both scored on Gonzalez’s hit, Wilmer Flores singled home another run, and Frazier added a sacrifice fly.
For the third night in a row Miami drew the smallest crowd in the seven-season history of Marlins Park. Attendance was 6,150, and they saw the Mets sweep a series from their NL East rivals for the first time since August 2015.
Plawecki came out of the game for a pinch hitter soon after being hit on the back of his left hand by a pitch. X-rays were negative. He became the Mets’ regular catcher with the loss of Travis d’Arnaud, who went on the disabled list because of a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow that could end his season.
Marlins rookie Lewis Brinson went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts. He’s hitless in his past 25 at-bats with 12 strikeouts.
HISTORY OF HOOKS
Mattingly pulled Wei-Yin Chen after seven hitless innings and 100 pitches against Seattle last April 18 and Adam Conley after 7 2/3 hitless innings and 116 pitches verses Milwaukee on April 29, 2016. Each time the bullpen allowed a hit.
RHP Jacob Turner cleared waivers and was assigned to the Marlins’ Triple-A affiliate in New Orleans.
Marlins: RHP Dan Straily (forearm) is scheduled to begin a rehab stint Friday with Single-A Jupiter.
Mets: After an off day, Matz (0-1, 3.00) is scheduled to start Friday when the Mets begin a six-game homestand against Milwaukee and RHP Zach Davies (0-1, 5.40).
Marlins: They continue their homestand Friday, when LHP Dillon Peters (1-1, 9.35) is scheduled to start against Pittsburgh and RHP Chad Kuhl (1-0, 5.06).
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