The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT)
Vargas sharp after being skipped, N.Y. blanks Miami
NEW YORK — Jason Vargas returned to the rotation with five excellent innings, AJ Ramos pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth and the New York Mets beat the Miami Marlins 2-0 on Monday night.
The Mets got their fourth straight win, following up a three-game sweep of NL West-leading Arizona. New York is 6-2 in its past eight games, 5-1 on this homestand and 24-19 overall.
The 35-year-old Vargas (1-3) had his previous turn skipped after three sloppy outings to open the season, but he shut down Miami with changeups and guile for his first victory with the Mets. Ten of his outs came via the change, and he struck out seven without reaching 90 mph even once with his fastball. He allowed two hits and a walk before leaving after 86 pitches.
New York used three pitchers in a scoreless — but eventful — sixth inning. Paul Sewald got two outs but put two on before lefthander Jerry Blevins entered to face lefty slugger Justin Bour. Blevins walked Bour on a full count and was replaced by Ramos, and the right-hander struck out pinch-hitter Derek Dietrich swinging to leave the bases loaded and preserve a 1-0 lead.
Ramos followed with a scoreless seventh, ending the inning by beginning a bold 1-6-3 double play on pinch-hitter J.B. Shuck’s hit-and-run comebacker. Ramos’ throw to second narrowly nabbed Miguel Rojas.
Mets left fielder Brandon Nimmo made a diving catch on Brian Anderson’s twoout line drive to help Seth Lugo escape the eighth unscathed. Jeurys Familia pitched the ninth to cap a five-hitter for his 13th save and New York’s second shutout this season.
The game ended when shortstop Amed Rosario went deep in the hole to field Lewis Brinson’s grounder and threw out the sliding speedster by a hair at first base. The Marlins challenged, but a replay review upheld the call.
Rosario got a big cheer for a single in the third inning a day after his first multihomer game as a pro. He then scored from first on a double to right field by Asdrubal Cabrera that made it 1-0. Rosario also smashed a line drive to deep center that was caught in the seventh inning.
Miami starter Elieser Hernandez (0-1) held New York to a run and five hits over five innings. The Rule 5 draft pick from Houston was making his second major league start and dropped his ERA to 2.08 in four appearances. The 23-year-old is the first Marlins’ Rule 5 pick to play in the majors for Miami the year of his selection since Dan Uggla in 2005.
Pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores drove in Devin Mesoraco from third with a single in the seventh inning.
Tayron Guerrero pitched for Miami a day after allowing Dansby Swanson’s game-ending, two-run single as the Marlins blew a five-run lead in the ninth inning of a 10-9 loss to Atlanta. Guerrero worked around a single and a walk in a scoreless eighth.
Vargas broke the hamate bone in his right hand during spring training and had struggled since, entering Monday with a 13.86 ERA in three starts. The lefthander signed a $16 million, two-year deal in February to provide rotation depth, but his miserable results led manager Mickey Callaway to skip Vargas’ turn following a loss May 8 to Cincinnati.
Vargas threw roughly 80 pitches during a simulated game at Citi Field on May 15. That seemed to help him sharpen up his repertoire for the matchup with lastplace Miami.
Vargas hit his only spot of trouble in the fifth, when he walked Cameron Maybin and allowed a single to Rojas with one out. Vargas struck out Brinson and Hernandez to strand the runners.
Mets: Mesoraco was checked briefly by Callaway and a trainer during the seventh inning. The catcher appeared to be having some discomfort near his left triceps or elbow but stayed in the game. … 3B Todd Frazier took batting practice on the field for the first time since going on the DL with a strained left hamstring.