Granderson homers twice off bench, Mets beat Marlins 7-4
NEW YORK (AP) Curtis Granderson needed only three innings of playing time to do all sorts of damage.
Granderson came off the bench and homered twice, Jose Reyes had four hits and the surging New York Mets beat the Miami Marlins 7-4 on Tuesday night.
Asdrubal Cabrera added to his recent tear at the plate, hitting a two-run homer after missing one start with a sore knee. Rookie right-hander Seth Lugo (2-2) gave up two runs in the first inning but recovered nicely as the Mets won for the eighth time in 10 games.
''We're playing good baseball. We just need to play consistently right through September,'' Reyes said.
By taking the first two games of the four-game series, the defending NL champions moved ahead of slumping Miami for second place in the NL East. New York (68-64) remained 2 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the league's second wild card.
''I think it helps having a little bit of pressure,'' Lugo said. ''It's a little easier when there's something on the line. Gives you focus.''
Looking to spark a scuffling offense, Marlins manager Don Mattingly shuffled his 2-3-4 hitters. It worked right off the bat, with Christian Yelich hitting a two-run homer in his first career plate appearance batting cleanup.
It was Miami's first home run in eight games, but that was all for the Marlins until J.T. Realmuto hit a solo homer off Jim Henderson in the ninth. Jeff Francoeur tripled with two outs and scored on Dee Gordon's single before Jeurys Familia struck out Marcell Ozuna for his major league-leading 43rd save in 46 chances.
Familia matched his 2015 total and again tied the franchise record for one season, first set by Armando Benitez in 2001. Seven of Familia's saves this year have come against Miami - most for any major league reliever versus one team.
New York has won nine of the past 12 meetings this season.
Miami has dropped four straight and six of eight overall.
''We can't try to fix it overnight. It's not going to work that way. We've just got to play good ball,'' starter Tom Koehler said.
Granderson, batting for Lugo, connected against Koehler (9-10) for his second career pinch-hit homer leading off the sixth, extending the Mets' lead to 4-2 with the club's ninth pinch-hit homer this season.
Alejandro De Aza added an RBI single later in the inning off Dustin McGowan.
Granderson, who stayed in to play right field, launched a two-run shot in the seventh.
''It's tough to pinch-hit in any situation,'' he said. ''Not an easy task by any means.''
Reyes singled leading off the first and Cabrera went deep on the next pitch. It was the 17th home run this season and fourth in 11 at-bats for the reigning NL player of the week. He is batting .447 with four doubles and 11 RBIs in 11 games since coming off the disabled list Aug. 19.
Reyes and Cabrera got on base seven times in 10 combined plate appearances from the top two spots in the lineup.
Slumping slugger Jay Bruce, who started over Granderson, doubled and scored on a two-out single by Wilmer Flores that gave the Mets a 3-2 lead.
Before the game, manager Terry Collins said he thinks De Aza is the team's best option in center field right now. Bruce and Granderson, both with All-Star track records, have been sharing time in right as each tries to get going at the plate.
''I've commissioned the commissioner's office to give us a rover. They haven't OK'd that yet,'' Collins joked. ''So we're going to do the best we can. But I think both of them are everyday players. We just don't have everyday spots.''
Lugo went six innings and retired the final eight batters he faced in his third major league start. He has won the past two.
Struggling reliever Hansel Robles followed Lugo with two scoreless innings.
LIKE A HAWK
Scott Hairston (2011) and Hawk Taylor (1964) were the only other Mets players to homer twice in a game they didn't start.
Marlins: LHP Adam Conley (finger tendinitis) began a throwing program in Florida. It could take him about three weeks to return, Mattingly said.
Mets: Rookie LHP Steven Matz (shoulder) is not ready to come off the disabled list and was scratched from his scheduled start Thursday night. Jacob deGrom will be moved up a day to start for Matz in the finale of the four-game series, Collins said. ... 2B Neil Walker sat out his third straight game with a stiff back.
The Las Vegas 51s of the Pacific Coast League will remain the Mets' Triple-A affiliate for at least two more years. The teams announced an extension of their player development contract through the 2018 season. Well aware of how inconvenient it's been at times to have players travel across the country on red-eye flights when they get promoted to the big leagues, Collins sounded unenthused. ''The only thing that's good about it is there's enough flights out of Vegas late at night,'' he said. ''That situation is what it is, and I don't have anything else to say except we hope that those flights keep going.''
Marlins RHP David Phelps (7-6, 2.52 ERA) starts Wednesday night against 43-year-old RHP Bartolo Colon (12-7, 3.44 ERA).