Lefty Jonathon Niese tries to make it two straight wins to start the season Saturday when the New York Mets host the Miami Marlins in the second of a three-game weekend series at Citi Field.
The 26-year-old from Lima, Ohio, who won a career-best 13 games in 30 starts last season, opened 2013 with an 11-2 defeat of the San Diego Padres while allowing four hits and two runs in 6 2/3 innings on April 1.
Niese was a seventh-round pick of the Mets in 2005 and reached the big leagues with New York in 2008, eventually becoming a full-time member of the rotation with 30 starts - and a 9-10 record - in 2010.
He was 11-11 in 27 appearances in 2011, then recorded a career-best 3.40 earned run average in 190 1/3 innings while allowing a .241 opposition batting average last season.
Niese was 1-1 in four starts against the Marlins in 2012, including a 7-3 win in a Sept. 21 outing in which he allowed three runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.
For Miami, righty Ricky Nolasco makes his second start of the season following a year in which he won 12 times in 31 starts.
The 30-year-old Californian faced the Washington Nationals on April 1 and took a 2-0 loss after giving up two runs on three hits in six innings with two walks and five strikeouts.
He's reached double-digit wins in each of his six full major-league seasons, including a career-best 15 in 2008 and 14 in 2010. He tossed three complete games and two shutouts in 2012 while posting a 4.48 ERA.
Nolasco is 5-8 in 24 career meetings with the Mets.
On Friday, Placido Polanco went 3-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored to help Miami take a 7-5 win over the Mets. Greg Dobbs hit a solo homer and drove in two runs, while Justin Ruggiano also drove in a pair for the Marlins, who were swept by Washington to start the season and scored just one run in the three games.
Alex Sanabia (1-0) pitched six shutout innings in the start, giving up just six hits with three walks and a strikeout to earn the win and give Miami skipper Mike Redmond his first win as a manager.
"It was pretty cool, obviously," said Redmond. "I knew it wasn't going to be easy, and it sure wasn't. I was happy with the way we went out and swung the bats."
Daniel Murphy hit a three-run home run and Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Lucas Duda each had an RBI for the Mets, who took two of three from San Diego to start the 2013 campaign.
"We've got guys on here who are going to breakout real soon," said New York manager Terry Collins. "Soon enough we'll be getting those two-out hits and scoring more runs."
Jeremy Hefner (0-1) gave up a run on five hits in six innings for the loss.
The Mets won 12 of 18 games last season - including seven of nine in New York.