Back in the once-friendly confines of Citi Field, Jose Reyes first got a mixed reaction from the New York crowd, nearly opened the game with a big hit and ultimately failed to reach base in the game.
While Reyes used the opener of this set to reintroduce himself to former teammates, Mark Buehrle faces the Mets for the first time as the Miami Marlins continue a three-game series in New York.
The 33-year-old Buehrle is coming of his first victory with the Marlins after losing his first two starts despite allowing just five runs over 12 1/3 innings. Buehrle seemed determined to do whatever it took to win on Wednesday versus the Cubs, with the former White Sox ace throwing eight innings of one- run ball while working around six hits and adding an RBI single.
"Everything was working for me tonight," said the left-hander. who didn't walk a batter and struck out five. "It seems like a few times I got pitches up but I was able to get away with it. I felt really good out there."
Buehrle takes the hill one day after Reyes made his return to Citi Field. The shortstop spent his first nine seasons with the Mets and hit .292 with 735 runs scored and 370 stolen bases in 1,050 games, winning the National League batting title a year ago with a .337 average.
Reyes, though, signed a six-year, $106 million deal with the Marlins this past offseason. He got a mix of cheers and boos and ended 0-for-4 at the plate in his return in a 2-1 loss.
"Most of the fans ... showed me a lot of love and some did not. I understand that. I play for another team now," Reyes said of the reaction.
Reyes opened the game by ripping a line drive deep to the center field warning track that New York's Kirk Nieuwenhuis grabbed just before crashing into the wall.
"Once I got to the wall I thought I had a pretty good chance. Thankfully I caught it because [Reyes] would have been running for days," Nieuwenhuis said.
After that, the game was a pitchers' duel until New York plated the go-ahead run in the eighth inning after Lucas Duda's liner off Edward Mujica's throwing hand allowed Nieuwenhuis to race home.
Neither starter, New York's Johan Santana or his counterpart, Josh Johnson, factored in the decision despite both allowing just one run on three hits over 6 2/3 innings. Santana, coming off the shortest outing of his career, struck out 11, two more than Johnson.
"[Santana] threw all of his pitches pretty much at will," Mets catcher Josh Thole said. "We were back to seeing who Johan is."
The Marlins lost their third straight game, while the Mets picked up just their second victory in seven games. The win by New York came on the same day it placed outfielder Jason Bay (rib fracture) and starter Mike Pelfrey (swollen elbow) on the 15-day disabled list.
The Marlins could struggle tonight against scheduled Mets starter R.A. Dickey, who won all three of his starts against Miami last season while allowing just one unearned run over 20 innings. He is 5-2 with a 3.91 earned run average in nine career games (7 starts) in this series.
Dickey won his first two starts of the season, allowing three runs over 13 innings while stretching his string of consecutive quality starts to 14. That run came to an end on Wednesday in Atlanta, where the right-handed knuckleballer was blasted for eight runs on eight hits, three homers and two walks over just 4 1/3 innings of a 14-6 setback.
"I've got to give us a better shot," Dickey said. "We were hitting the ball great. I wish I would've kept us in the game longer."
The 37-year-old saw his season ERA rise from 2.08 to 5.71.
The Mets and Marlins split 18 meetings last season.