Miami Marlins starter Tom Koehler could have plenty of support in what figures to be a sparse Citi Field crowd Sunday as he tries to end his second seven-start winless run of 2013.
The Marlins have never lost to the New York Mets when the New York native has been on the mound heading into the finale of this four-game set.
Koehler (3-10, 4.80 ERA) is 0-4 with a 5.89 ERA in seven starts since pitching six innings Aug. 1 to earn a 3-0 home victory over the Mets. He also was winless in his first seven 2013 starts.
His other start this year against New York (66-82) was an 8-4, 10-inning road victory June 9 in which he gave up four runs in seven innings. Koehler, who was born in the Bronx and pitched in college at nearby Stony Brook, had about 100 family members and friends at Citi Field.
"All of a sudden, you look up and you could see them cheering you on when you're walking off the field or walking out there to stretch," Koehler said after that outing.
Juan Lagares is 3 for 6 and Daniel Murphy 3 for 8 versus Koehler, whose 7.32 road ERA since Aug. 7 is one of baseball's worst marks.
Murphy went 2 for 4 with a solo homer in a 3-1 victory that earned the Mets a split of Saturday's doubleheader. He entered that contest mired in a 3-for-21 slump, going hitless in four at_bats in a 3-0 defeat in the opener.
"The numbers, they are what they are," Murphy said. "You always feel like you can do more, but if people feel like they look good then hopefully I'm helping the team win more games than I'm not."
Miami (55-93) received seven scoreless innings from Henderson Alvarez in Game 1, with Donovan Solano homering for the first time since July 25.
"Long days with doubleheaders, you need somebody to step up and be the hero. And today Alvarez and Solano gave us a big lift,' manager Mike Redmond said.
Redmond and Mets skipper Terry Collins juggled their lineups Saturday. Solano, Giancarlo Stanton, Adeiny Hechavarria and Justin Ruggiano started both games for the Marlins while Murphy, Eric Young and Lucas Duda were the only Mets to do so.
No reliever for either team saw action in both contests, and Mets right-hander Frank Francisco left Game 1 with what is being called a bruised hand suffered on a line drive off the bat of Logan Morrison.
"I thought it was broke for sure," Francisco said. "Just hope that it goes away soon and I'll be able to throw as soon as possible."
New York will start right-hander Dillon Gee (11-10, 3.61), who owns a 2.56 ERA in 19 starts since May 30 - actually lower than injured teammate Matt Harvey's 2.60 mark in 15 outings in that span.
Gee has faced the Marlins once this year, giving up four runs in five innings to get credit for a 7-6 road win May 1.
These teams have each scored seven runs in this series, with the Mets winning two of the first three.
The Associated Press News Service
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