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Rapid Reaction: Marlins 7, Mets 5

WHAT IT MEANS: The Mets have lost two in a row. But you can't blame the starting rotation.

A day after Dillon Gee was a hard-luck loser after a fine performance, Jeremy Hefner suffered the same fate, as the Mets lost to the Miami Marlins, 7-5, at Citi Field.

The Marlins (1-3) had scored just one run in their first three games of the season, against the Washington Nationals. They had been the last winless team in the major leagues.

After scoring 19 runs in their first two games, the Mets (2-2) have scored six runs in their past two. And the bullpen looks shaky (see below).

STRONG START: With the injuries to Johan Santana and Shaun Marcum, Hefner has a chance to prove he belongs in a big-league rotation. He looked capable on Friday.

The 27-year-old righty went six innings, allowing just one run on five hits. It wasn't easy -- Hefner needed 102 pitches to get through those six frames. But he battled, giving up just a Greg Dobbs solo homer to lead off the second inning.

TURNING POINT: The top of the seventh was a disaster. Relievers Greg Burke and Scott Rice combined to give up five runs -- although only two of the five were earned. The first batter, Donovan Solano, hit a hard grounder to Ruben Tejada that the shortstop bobbled -- Tejada was charged with an error, his third in four games. Burke then walked pinch hitter Austin Kearns, the Marlins loaded the bases when Juan Pierre bunted and Burke's throw to third was not in time, and Placido Polanco drove home two runs with a single.

With one out, Rice relieved Burke, but subsequently gave up a sacrifice fly to Dobbs and RBI doubles to Justin Ruggiano and Rob Brantly, making it 6-0.

The Marlins' final run came in the ninth off LaTroy Hawkins.

AT THE PLATE: The Mets put runners on base in each of the first six innings, but ultimately could do no damage against 24-year-old Alex Sanabia, who was making his first major-league start since 2011.

They finally got on the board in the seventh. Mike Baxter led off with a pinch-hit single off reliever Chad Qualls, Jordany Valdespin walked and Daniel Murphy smacked a three-run homer into the left-field seats.

With two outs in the eighth, the Mets loaded the bases, thanks to two walks and a hit batsman. But Murphy grounded to second to end the inning.

The Mets scored twice in the ninth. Ike Davis walked, and pinch hitter Kirk Nieuwenhuis drove him home with a double. Then Lucas Duda drove Nieuwenhuis home with a single.

With the tying run at the plate and one out, John Buck struck out and pinch hitter Justin Turner grounded to first to end the game.

Valdepsin had two hits and a walk in his first start of the season, but also made a blunder on the basepaths, geting picked off first in the third inning.

Davis was 0-for-4 with a walk, and is now 1-for-16 to start the year.

WHAT'S NEXT: A quick turnaround -- these two teams will be back at it Saturday afternoon, first pitch at 1:10 p.m. It'll be Jonathon Niese (1-0, 2.70) starting for the Mets, opposed by Ricky Nolasco (0-1, 3.00).