Baseball / Sports

The Miami Marlins' Marcell Ozuna flies out in the eight inning against the New York Mets at Marlins Park in Miami on Thursday, June 19, 2014. The Mets won, 1-0. (Hector Gabino/El Nuevo Herald/MCT)

Wheeler out-pitches Heaney as Mets nip Marlins

MIAMI -- Marlins' fans could come away from Andrew Heaney's major league debut Thursday feeling good about the team's future rotation. The same could be said for Mets' aficionados after watching Zack Wheeler, himself a touted prospect.

Heaney was good. Wheeler was exceptional. He held the Marlins to three singles and a walk in the Mets' 1-0 win at Marlins Park. David Wright's first-inning homer off Heaney held up as the Marlins lost for the fifth time in seven games during the homestand.

Making his 32nd career start, Wheeler completed his first shutout. He had not gone more than 62/3 innings in 17 starts this season.

Beginning with a sixth-inning double play, Wheeler capped the 111-pitch performance retiring 11 of the final 12 batters, the exception being Reed Johnson, who reached on a two-out, pinch-hit single in the ninth. Wheeler walked one and struck out eight.

Bidding to become the 10th starter in Marlins history to earn a win in his major league debut, Heaney early on didn't look like he would be around long enough to qualify. Though Heaney only gave up three hits and walked one, he needed 60 pitches to record the first nine outs. Eight of the first 11 batters he faced saw between five and eight pitches.

"The first three innings were a little bit of a struggle, kind of all around the zone, falling behind guys," Heaney said. "It felt like my offspeed wasn't crisp, wasn't sharp. I stuck in there."

Eric Young Jr. opened the game with the first of two eight-pitch plate appearances off Heaney, who watched him reach on an infield single. Though Heaney eliminated Young on a Daniel Murphy double play, he couldn't put away Wright after getting ahead 1-2.

Wright took one 93-mph fastball out of the zone and unloaded on the next one. It clanked off the base of the home run sculpture in left-center for his sixth homer.

"I just remember throwing a fastball right down the middle and he hit it really far," Heaney said. "You don't know how you're going to react when you get out there. The first few innings, just a little antsy and getting quick to the plate. I had to calm myself, slow down and trust myself."

Though Heaney did not pound the strike zone (61.5 percent strikes), he finished strong. A seven-pitch fourth and 12-pitch fifth during which he retired six straight bought him another inning. He exacted some retribution on Wright, getting him to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play to culminate the outing.

"All in all it was a good start for him," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "We just couldn't get anything going offensively to help him out and that ended up being the difference, one hit."

The Marlins did not have an answer for Wheeler, who held the top third of the order -- Rafael Furcal, Jake Marisnick and Giancarlo Stanton -- hitless in 10 at-bats with four strikeouts. He also eliminated the Marlins' only three baserunners through seven innings with double play balls. Garrett Jones, Marcell Ozuna and Adeiny Hechavarria each grounded into one.

Playing in his first game since he suffered a concussion on May 31 and went on the disabled list, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia stroked one of the three singles Wheeler allowed. Casey McGehee opened the second and fifth innings with a single and walk, respectively.

Offensively, the Marlins have plodded through the first seven of this 10-game homestand, hitting .213 (55 for 258) with 67 strikeouts and 3.7 runs per game. They've gone a season-high four games without at least one double.

"When we started to maybe mount a rally we got shut down quick," said Redmond, who was impressed with Heaney. "I thought he handled himself well, he competed, showed a little fire when he got a big double play there. He's going to be a big leaguer for a long time."

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

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