MIAMI — In this colossal wreckage of a season, at least the Mets have Zack Wheeler’s reemergence.
Once an afterthought in a rotation that included Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Steven Matz, the 28-year-old Wheeler has moved to No. 2 in the pecking order — at least for now — as the Mets dream of a 2019 revival built on starting pitching.
Friday night Wheeler was scored upon for the first time in three starts, but that hardly derailed the Mets in a 6-2 victory over the equally inept Marlins.
Wheeler (7-6) extended his scoreless streak to 23 innings before Miguel Rojas blasted a two-run homer in the seventh that sliced the Mets’ lead to 4-2. The homer was the first allowed by Wheeler in his past four starts, dating to July 9 against the Phillies.
Over his past five starts Wheeler — whom the Mets declined to trade at the July 31 non-waiver deadline because they were unsatisfied with the offers — is 5-0 with a 2.08 ERA. In those 34 ²/₃ innings, he has struck out 34 and walked six.
The performance nearly matched Wheeler’s first of the season on April 11, when he was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas and pitched a two-hitter over seven innings at Marlins Park and allowed one run.
Wheeler kept the Marlins hitless until the fifth, when Martin Prado singled. J.T. Realmuto’s double in the sixth and Rafael Ortega’s single in the seventh were Miami’s only other hits against the right-hander.
Kevin Plawecki delivered a two-run single in the eighth that gave the Mets’ bullpen a cushion. Austin Jackson’s third hit of the game, a double, fueled the rally.
Amed Rosario’s two-run single highlighted a sixth inning in which the Mets scored three times to build a 4-0 cushion. Jackson also delivered an RBI single in the inning to continue his torrid play since signing with the Mets on July 27. The veteran outfielder entered 14-for-32 (.438) with two homers in his Mets tenure.
Michael Conforto’s RBI single in the third gave the Mets their first run. Jeff McNeil and Wilmer Flores singled ahead of Conforto to begin the rally.
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