NEW YORK -- Amid a disappointing season that has seen many of the Marlins' big names exit in a fire sale, Miami welcomed back one All-Star, and watched one of its big free agent signings continue his hot streak at his old home.
The Marlins scored all four of their runs in the fourth Tuesday night, and that was enough to beat the New York Mets 4-0 on the night All-Star right fielder Giancarlo Stanton returned from the disabled list.
Stanton went 0-for-3 with a RBI in his return from arthroscopic right knee surgery, while Jose Reyes extended his hitting streak to a career-high 25 games, the longest streak in the majors this season.
Marlins left-hander Wade LeBlanc pitched four-plus innings of one-run ball on his 28th birthday, but he was lifted after 85 pitches. He was kept on a pitch count for the second straight game after pitching out of the bullpen for most of the last month. Five relievers limited the Mets to one run the rest of the way, with the official scorer giving the victory to Carlos Zambrano (7-9), who threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Steve Cishek earned his seventh save of the season with a perfect ninth.
John Buck added two hits and two RBI for Miami, which snapped its two-game losing streak. The Mets lost their second in a row.
"It was nice. I wish he could contribute," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said of Stanton's return, before quickly adding, "I was just kidding. ... The ballclub looks a lot different with him in the lineup."
Reyes, a former Met, continued to get a much different greeting from the fans who used to sing his name in tribute. Again he dismissed the boos, saying he was focused on Marlins fans now. He also was enjoying his hitting streak, which he extended with a questionable infield hit that helped spark the four-run fourth.
Reyes was battling a right hand injury and had it wrapped after the game, saying it bothered him when swinging from the right side of the plate. The switch hitter said he sustained the injury during the Marlins' last series against the Washington Nationals.
"That's good I got on base, I was able to score a run," Reyes said of his hit. Of the hitting streak, he added, "It's exciting because it's not easy to get a hit."
Mets starter Jon Niese (8-6) allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings. Three Mets relievers shut out the Marlins the rest of the way. Daniel Murphy homered and had two hits for New York, while Ruben Tejada extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
The Mets scored twice in the bottom of the fifth to cut the 4-0 deficit to 4-2. Murphy hit his fourth homer of the season to lead off the inning and chase LeBlanc. The Mets strung together three consecutive two-out hits against reliever Chad Gaudin, including an RBI single by Andres Torres.
The Mets had a chance for more with the bases loaded, but manager Terry Collins allowed Niese to hit, and the starter struck out looking.
Collins acknowledged he was tempted to hit for Niese but said he didn't want to deplete his bench, especially with backup catcher Rob Johnson a question mark due to a bruised right hand.
"I thought we had a lot more at-bats coming up," Collins said. "I already used a guy, we were down one guy with Johnson being questionable ... I thought we had a lot of game left, and I didn't want to use up my bench all in one inning."
Miami took a 4-0 lead with five hits against Niese in the fourth, including the questionable one by Reyes.
The first base umpire ruled first baseman Murphy was off the bag when trying to field a throw from Niese on Reyes' dribbler down the first base line, but replays indicated Murphy stayed on when he had possession of the ball.
Carlos Lee followed with a RBI single, and a Stanton sacrifice fly made it 2-0. Buck later doubled home two runs with two outs, with Austin Kearns sliding in just ahead of catcher Josh Thole's tag for a 4-0 lead.
"Yeah, definitely feels good getting the bat going a little bit, help the team defensively," said Buck, who entered the game hitting .172.
Asked if he considered pitching around Buck with the pitcher's spot coming up, Collins said he thought Niese could handle the matchup.
"I thought he would get Buck out easy," Collins said. "He just didn't make pitches when he had to."
NOTES: Collins admitted left-hander Tim Byrdak, who could require surgery for a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder, was overused this season, and the extra workload contributed to his injury. "I don't think there's any question," Collins said in his press briefing on whether Byrdak's appearance in a big-league-leading 56 games was a factor. "Injuries are caused by overuse. I've had too many doctors that have told me, too many doctors say it. ... There's no question we probably used him more than maybe we should have, but we also wouldn't be here without him." Byrdak could face a long road back, as his injury is similar to the ones that kept Johan Santana and Chris Young both out more than a year. ... Left-hander Garrett Olson was called up from Class AAA Buffalo, with righty Elvin Ramirez getting demoted. ... Before the game, a group of past and present Mets All-Stars revealed the logo for the 2013 All-Star Game, which will be played at Citi Field. The logo is similar to the Mets' skyline logo. ... Struggling left fielder Jason Bay will start platooning with left-handed hitters, he acknowledged. ... Marlins infielder Donnie Murphy was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Saturday, with a strained left hamstring. Stanton took Murphy's roster spot.
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