New York Mets starter Zack Wheeler pitched a gem against the Miami Marlins Thursday night at Marlins Park. A year and a day since his major league debut against the Atlanta Braves, the young righty pitched a complete game 1-0 shutout.
Wheeler allowed just three hits and one walk, striking out eight, and faced the minimum amount of batters through 8 2/3 innings. Wheeler picked up the win, improving to 3-7 on the year.
Marlins top pitching prospect, lefty starter Andrew Heaney, took the hard luck loss in his major league debut. Heaney lasted six innings, allowing one run on four hits, walking one batter and striking out three.
Left fielder Eric Young Jr. led off the game for the Mets by beating out an infield single to shortstop. Second baseman Daniel Murphy grounded a ball to second. Young was forced out and Murphy was out at first to complete the double play. Third baseman David Wright then blasted a shot to dead center, hitting the bottom of the statue in center (a hideous one at that) for a home run, giving the Mets a 1-0 lead. First baseman Eric Campbell popped out to short to retire the side. The Marlins went in order in the bottom of the first, and the Mets failed to score in the top of the second.
Third baseman Casey McGhee lined a single to center to lead off the bottom of the second. First baseman Garret Jones then lined a shot but right at Eric Campbell who grabbed the ball and stepped on first to double off Jones. Left fielder Marcell Ozuna grounded out to short to end the inning. Neither team scored for the next two and a half innings, with the Marlins going 1-2-3 in the bottom of the third and fourth.
In the bottom of the fifth McGhee walked to start. After a long at-bat Jones was called out on strikes for the first out. Ozuna then grounded a ball to Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada who threw to Daniel Murphy for the first out. Murphy turned and fired to get Ozuna completing the double play and the inning was over.
Eric Young Jr. started the top of the sixth by hitting a grounder to short. Adeiny Hechavarria gathered the ball and threw to first. It appeared Young Jr. had beaten the throw but he was called out. The Mets decided not to challenge the play, because it was too close to make a clear decision either way. Daniel Murphy hit a soft liner to center, but was erased when David Wright hit into a double play, retiring the side.
Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled to left leading off the bottom of the sixth. Hechavarria then grounded into a double play, Saltalamacchia was out at second and Hechavarria was out at first. Rookie infielder Justin Bour pinch-hit for Andrew Heaney and flied out to center to end the inning.
In the top of the seventh, Marlins reliever Bryan Morris, recently acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates, entered and induced a grounder to first from Eric Campbell for the first out. Right fielder Curtis Granderson followed with a walk. Centerfielder Chris Young then ripped a shot to left. Marcell Ozuna grabbed the ball and threw to third, but Granderson was safe. Young moved to second on the throw. Catcher Taylor Teagarden grounded to first for the second out. Ruben Tejada was intentionally walked to load the bases. Zack Wheeler hit a soft grounder to third to retire the side. The Marlins were retired in order in the bottom of the seventh.
Eric Young Jr. led off the top of the eighth with a walk, but was erased on a double play hit by Daniel Murphy. David Wright followed with a walk of his own, but was left stranded when Campbell struck out looking to retire the side. Both teams went 1-2-3 in their next at-bats.
Having thrown just 97 pitches through an already career high eight innings, and having faced the minimum 24 batters, Zack Wheeler went back out to pitch the ninth. Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out swinging to start the bottom of the ninth. The ball got away from Taylor Teagarden, but he found it and threw to first to complete the strikeout. Adeiny Hechavarria popped out to first for the second out. Outfielder Reed Johnson, a noted Met killer, then grounded a ball in the hole between shortstop and third base for a single. But second baseman Rafael Furcal flied out to center to end the game.
The two teams return to action tomorrow night when Daisuke Matsuzaka takes the mound for the Mets against Henderson Alvarez for the Marlins.