NEW YORK (AP) — Nate Robertson pitched five solid innings in his first start for Florida in eight seasons, and the Marlins beat the New York Mets 3-1 on Thursday night to win their season-opening series.
Jorge Cantu hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the fifth and Gaby Sanchez added a run-scoring double in the sixth for Florida, which took the last two of the three-game set after losing 7-1 on opening day.
The Mets wasted an effective outing by Jonathon Niese, who made his first start at Citi Field since he tore his right hamstring during a victory over St. Louis last August. The 23-year-old left-hander allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings.
Jeff Francoeur hit an RBI double in the fourth but that was all New York could manage against Robertson, who was acquired from Detroit on March 30 when the Tigers decided to give their final rotation spot to former Marlins star Dontrelle Willis. Florida got Robertson and cash from Detroit for a minor league pitcher.
It sure looked like a nice deal on Thursday night.
Robertson (1-0) allowed six hits in his first start for the Marlins since Sept. 7, 2002, at Pittsburgh. Florida selected the lefty in the fifth round of the 1999 draft and included him in a 2003 trade with Detroit that put Mark Redman in Miami, where he helped the Marlins win the World Series later that year.
Burke Badenhop followed Robertson with three innings of one-hit ball and Leo Nunez finished for his first save. The crisp effort by Florida's bullpen came one night after the Marlins had to go to the 10th inning for a 7-6 victory after they led 6-1 in the seventh.
New York left two runners on in the second and fourth in front of a sluggish crowd of 25,982. Ruben Tejada, making his first career start, grounded into a fielder's choice to end the second and Niese tapped out to finish the fourth.
Niese's injury last year was one of the lasting images from a trying season for the Mets. He was hurt covering first base on Aug. 5, and collapsed when he tried to throw a practice pitch. He spent three weeks in bed after surgery to repair his hamstring and couldn't walk normally for six weeks.
Back on the mound in New York, Niese (0-1) got a couple of bad breaks in the first. Cameron Maybin reached on a one-out grounder that skipped past lunging first baseman Fernando Tatis. He moved up on Hanley Ramirez's walk and scored when Dan Uggla's hard bouncer appeared to glance off third baseman David Wright's glove for an RBI single.
Tatis helped Niese with his glove in the third. With runners on second and third, he scooped up Wright's bouncing throw to retire Uggla for the final out of the inning.
NOTES: Mets SS Jose Reyes (thyroid) was scheduled to play in Class-A St. Lucie's season opener on Thursday night. If he gets through the rehab game with no problems, New York manager Jerry Manuel said he likely would play against Washington on Saturday. ... Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said he may try to get C Ronny Paulino some work at first base so he has more options late in games. ... Citi Field had a sellout crowd of 41,245 on Monday and hosted 38,863 on Wednesday night. ... Marlins RHP Chris Volstad is scheduled to face Dodgers RHP Hiroki Kuroda in Florida's home opener on Friday night. ... Mets RHP Mike Pelfrey and Nationals RHP Garrett Mock are slated to pitch when New York hosts Washington on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series.