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Wilmer Flores, Jacob deGrom propel New York Mets past Miami Marlins

By
Jerry Beach, The Sports Xchange
New York Mets' Wilmer Flores throws to first base in the 2nd inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field in New York City on June 15, 2016. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
New York Mets' Wilmer Flores throws to first base in the 2nd inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field in New York City on June 15, 2016. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK -- The task of finding playing time for both Wilmer Flores and Jose Reyes within the New York Mets' infield is a delicate one for manager Terry Collins, not to mention the players involved. But it was also a winning one for the Mets on Wednesday afternoon.

Flores produced his second two-homer game in four days and Reyes added his first two hits since returning to his original major-league club as the Mets beat the Miami Marlins, 4-2, at steamy Citi Field.

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Collins planned to play both Flores and Reyes on Wednesday, though Flores moved from first base to third base and Reyes went from third to his old position when usual shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera fell ill just before first pitch.

"You can never have too many good players," second baseman Neil Walker said. "It's invaluable on days like today, where 'Cabby' couldn't go. To be able to just slide guys around and plug guys in and feel confident about them. That depth is really important going into the second half of the season."

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The hard part is likely coming this weekend for Collins. The Washington Nationals, who arrive in town for a four-game series Thursday, are scheduled to start a quartet of right-handers, which means Flores won't likely draw the nod at first base in place of left-handed hitting James Loney.

Reyes, who joined the Mets for his second stint with the club on Tuesday, is expected to serve as the nearly-everyday leadoff hitter.

So, Terry, how do you get both players in the lineup?

"I don't know," Collins said. "I haven't looked at it yet. It's going to be hard."

The arrival of Reyes was expected to spell the end of Flores' times as the Mets' everyday third baseman. Reyes missed the first 51 games of the season serving a suspension for a domestic violence arrest last fall and signed a minor league deal with the Mets after being released by the Colorado Rockies on June 25.

But Flores is batting .326 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 11 games since Reyes' signing. Flores, who went deep twice among his team record-tying six hits in Sunday's 14-3 win over the Chicago Cubs, hit a solo homer to give the Mets the lead in the second Wednesday and hit another blast leading off the fourth.

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"It's great to see," Reyes said of Flores' recent stretch. "Hopefully he can continue to hit that way. Flores has always been such a good hitter."

Reyes, who went 0-for-4 Tuesday, popped out leading off the first before he exhibited his old spark plug ways in his final three at-bats. Reyes doubled with one out in the third and raced home on Curtis Granderson's two-run single. He doubled again in the fifth and was robbed of a possible triple in the seventh by Marlins center fielder Marcell Ozuna, who made a running catch in the gap.

"Talked to him before the game today and he was a lot calmer," Collins said of Reyes. "What you saw tonight, I think you're going to see more of it. Even the ball to right-center field - we know if that's in the gap, it's pretty fun to watch."

The win was the sixth in the last seven games for the Mets (46-38), who ensured they would remain no more than four games behind the Nationals.

Right-hander Jacob deGrom (5-4) earned his second straight win after allowing two runs - both on monstrous blasts to left field by Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton. He also yielded six hits and two walks while striking out seven.

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Addison Reed threw a perfect eighth inning before Jeurys Familia notched his 30th save with a one-hit ninth.

Stanton went deep in both the fourth and sixth inning for his second two-homer contest in a span of less than 24 hours for the Marlins (44-41), who have alternated losses with wins in their last six games. He drove in all seven of Miami's runs in the final two games of the series.

"It's like the game is always the same - one guy gets hot and then you've got guys that get cold," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "You're looking to get everybody together and that doesn't happen that often."

The second blast was the 200th career homer for Stanton, who went deep twice in a game for the 18th time in his career.

"I did not know that until a minute ago," said Stanton, who received the milestone ball because the fan that caught it threw it back on the field. "So that's really cool."

Left-hander Justin Nicolino (2-5) took the loss after allowing all four runs on nine hits and one walk while striking out two over four innings.

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NOTES: Following the game, the Mets placed RHP Matt Harvey (right shoulder discomfort) on the 15-day disabled list and recalled RHP Seth Lugo from Triple-A Las Vegas. Harvey is scheduled to visit with doctors Thursday. ... The Marlins placed 1B Justin Bour (right ankle sprain) on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 3, and purchased the contract of INF Don Kelly from Triple-A New Orleans. Kelly started at third base and batted seventh in his season debut. To make room for Kelly on the 40-man roster, the Marlins designated for assignment LHP Eric Jokisch.

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