Mets-Marlins: John Maine's the Man

John ZimmermanContributor IMay 31, 2009

NEW YORK - MAY 31:  John Maine #33 of the New York Mets pitches against  the Florida Marlins during their game on May 31, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Four times this season the New York Mets have split the first two games of three-game series. All four times, the Mets have lost the third game.

That changed on Sunday afternoon, as the Mets downed the Florida Marlins 3-2, and took two out of three from their fellow NL East opponent.

John Maine continued his dominance of the Marlins as he pitched a brilliant six innings, allowing only three hits and striking out five to pick up his fifth win of the season. He left the game prior to starting the seventh inning, however, due to a stomach virus.

His counterpart Chris Volstad pitched a solid game as well, but back-to-back doubles in the seventh by Martinez and Santos, both scoring a run, knocked Volstad out of the game. He surrendered six hits in seven innings of work, striking out two.

After a Wilson Valdez walk, Angel Pagon got the Mets going by lacing a two-out double to score Valdez and put New York on the board. John Maine helped his own cause by silencing the Marlins' bats and keeping his team's slim 1-0 lead in check.

The Mets added some insurance to their lead in the seventh. After a 35-foot ground ball put Gary Sheffield on first, Dan Murphy's sac bunt put Sheffield on second, and Fernando Martinez blooped a double over the head of Hanley Ramirez in shallow left field to score Sheffield. Omir Santos then contributed with his third big hit of the series, smashing a double down the left field line.

Things got scary quickly, as the Mets' eight-inning man, J.J. Putz, allowed three consecutive singles following a walk to cut the Met lead to 3-2. Bobby Parnell came in to get two key outs and keep the lead in tack.

K-Rod took the mound for the ninth and allowed a walk but struck out the other three batters he faced to stay perfect on the year with his 14th save in 14 opportunities.

With the win, the Mets complete a six-game homestand 5-1 and keep close to the Phillies in the NL East Race.