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Friday, September 21, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Mets 7, Marlins 3

By Adam Rubin

WHAT IT MEANS: In a battle for last place in the NL East, the Miami Marlins made a strong case for supremacy with a disgusting series of fielding gaffes that left manager Ozzie Guillen with his head at least briefly buried in his palms in the dugout.

Multiple Marlins miscues led to rookie right-hander Jacob Turner surrendering five runs in the first two innings, and the Mets went on to win, 7-3, Friday night at Citi Field.

The Mets snapped a nine-game home losing streak and improved to 5-24 at Citi Field since the All-Star break -- matching the Braves’ second-half win total in Flushing and moving to within one of the Nationals’ MLB-leading total in the ballpark during that span.

Aided by the Marlins’ gaffes, the Mets snapped a streak of 16 straight home games failing to exceed three runs. The streak ended narrowly shy of matching the MLB record -- 18 straight home games of three runs or fewer by the 1915 Yankees at the Polo Grounds.

The Mets (67-83) opened a 1-game lead over the Marlins (66-85) for fourth place in the division. The teams have five games remaining, including a season-ending series in Miami from Oct. 1-3.

Jon Niese, who surrendered three runs in 6 1/3 innings, benefited from the run support en route to his career-high 12th win.

PULLED: Lucas Duda was removed from the game for the start of the third inning and replaced by Mike Baxter in the outfield. The Mets announced the decision was made by Terry Collins and not injury-related. In his first at-bat, Duda jogged and only reached first base on a pop-up, which dropped in shallow left field after a miscommunication by Marlins fielders.

Seemingly fearful of losing his players, Collins had retracted pregame his previous night’s insinuation that players had quit. Still, Collins must have been on the lookout for an opportunity to make a point.

MILESTONES: After a scoring change on his first-inning grounder, Ike Davis was credited with an RBI. Davis then passed David Wright for the team lead with his 83rd RBI on a solo homer in the seventh. Davis’ 28 homers are the fourth most by a first baseman in franchise history. Carlos Delgado had 38 twice (2006 and 2008) and Dave Kingman had 37 in 1982. Davis passed Eddie Murray, who had 27 in 1993.

Scott Hairston’s first-inning homer was his career-high 18th long ball.

Wright went 0-for-4 and remained four shy of matching Ed Kranepool’s franchise-record 1,418 career hits.

LOL MARLINS: Had the official scorer not changed his original ruling -- an error on Marlins second baseman Donovan Solano -- to a single for Davis with two outs in the first, the first six runs the Mets posted would have been unearned.

Hairston followed the Solano-error-turned-Davis-single with a two-run homer off Turner.

In a two-run second, Thole doubled off left fielder Justin Ruggiano’s glove. Later in the inning, Jose Reyes had Thole nailed at third base on a grounder to shortstop, but the ex-Met errantly bounced the throw to Gil Velazquez and Thole was ruled safe.

The Mets’ sixth run also scored after some lackluster Marlins fielding. Daniel Murphy reached first despite striking out on a passed ball in the fifth. Later in the frame, Davis lined out to Reyes, and the shortstop had Murphy dead to rights -- having strayed too far off second base. But Reyes showed no awareness and Murphy successfully scampered back with Reyes making no attempt at a double play. Hairston followed with a run-scoring triple for a 6-1 lead.

WHAT’S NEXT: R.A. Dickey bids for his 19th win Saturday at 1:10 p.m. Dickey (18-6, 2.67 ERA) opposes left-hander Mark Buehrle (13-12, 3.78).