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Sunday, July 20, 2014
Morning Briefing: Don't blow it

By Adam Rubin

SAN DIEGO

FIRST PITCH: If the Mets want to be taken seriously in the second half, it sure would help to produce a win Sunday.

Zack Wheeler (5-8, 3.90 ERA) opposes Cuban right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne (2-1, 1.35) in the 4:10 p.m. ET rubber game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.

Wheeler allowed one run and pitched into the seventh inning in each of his final three first-half starts.

Sunday’s news reports:

Dillon Gee surrendered a pair of solo homers and All-Star Tyson Ross tossed seven scoreless innings as the Padres beat the Mets, 6-0, Saturday at Petco Park. The Mets now trail the Braves and Nationals by seven games in the NL East. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.

• More than 250 folks spent Saturday night at Citi Field participating in a sleepover at the ballpark.

• Veteran San Diego sportswriter Bill Center deduced an interesting stat: Mets reliever Buddy Carlyle is the lone active major league player to have been a teammate of the late Tony Gwynn. Carlyle pitched for the Padres in 1999 and 2000.

Andrew Brown had a go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth and Wilmer Flores extended his hitting streak to 20 games with an RBI single in the ninth as Las Vegas beat Salt Lake, 6-2. Phillip Evans drove in three runs with St. Lucie down to its final out and the Mets beat Brevard County, 8-6. Yoryi Nuez tossed six scoreless innings as Kingsport blanked Princeton, 3-0. First-round pick Michael Conforto went 1-for-4 with a sixth-inning single and run scored in his professional debut as Brooklyn beat Williamsport, 8-4. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Read more on Conforto’s debut in the Daily News and Newsday.

Jordany Valdespin returned to the majors with the Miami Marlins on Saturday. He batted second and played second base and went 1-for-4 in a loss to the San Francisco Giants. "This is an opportunity to bring up a guy who's been playing well in the minor leagues and hopefully can give us a little bit of a boost," Marlins manager Mike Redmond told Juan Rodriguez in the Sun-Sentinel. "Our offense has been sluggish, so we're looking for a guy that can hit at the top of the order, give us some good at-bats, get on base for the big boys and see if he can get us going a little bit."

• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger looks at Travis d'Arnaud’s success since returning from Triple-A.

• Billy Witz in the Times looks at Sandy Alderson’s task as the trade deadline approaches.

BIRTHDAYS: No one to play for the Mets celebrates a birthday Sunday, but Gisele Bundchen, Sandra Oh and Chris Cornell all were born on this date.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

.@jordany023 looks ready to go! He'll play second base and bat no. 2 tonight. pic.twitter.com/gLsToLHLgg

— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) July 19, 2014
YOU’RE UP: Is Saturday’s loss a serious setback?