Updated: 9/23/10 7:15 a.m.
MIAMI (AP) — Despite being in third place in the NL East, the Florida Marlins are still looking to have a strong finish to the season.
Wes Helms had two of his three RBIs in a five-run first inning, Dan Uggla drove in a pair of runs and the Marlins held on for a 7-5 victory over the New York Mets on Wednesday night.
“Nobody likes to lose, whether you’re in it or out of it,” Uggla said. “We had a rough stretch there. Philly and the Cubs really put it on us, but every day is a new day. These last three have been fun.”
Alex Sanabia (5-3) allowed three runs in five innings for the Marlins, who have won three straight.
“He’s been outstanding,” Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “He’s putting himself in the picture and a very good situation for next year.”
Leo Nunez got the Marlins out of a jam in the eighth and Clay Hensley pitched the ninth for his fifth save.
With the Marlins leading 6-3 in the eighth, the Mets loaded the bases with one out while facing Jose Veras, who then issued a walk to Josh Thole, forcing in a run. Veras was replaced by Leo Nunez and Chris Carter drove in a run with a groundout to pull the Mets to 6-5. Nick Evans struck out to end the inning.
Uggla had an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to make it 7-5.
Hensley allowed a two-out triple to Carlos Beltran before Uggla made a diving play to his left to retire David Wright for the final out.
“They made some really good plays at the end,” Mets first baseman Ike Davis said. “It’s hard to start rallies when they make plays like that.”
The Marlins got off to a quick start, thanks to a wild first by Jonathon Niese (9-10).
He walked three, including Mike Stanton with the bases loaded. Helms followed Stanton’s walk with a two-run double and Brad Davis’ RBI groundout made it 5-0. Uggla started the scoring with an RBI single.
“I had no fastball command,” Niese said. “They eliminated the fastball, sat on the off-speed that I was throwing for a strike, which was my cutter. I don’t think one of their hits were on a fastball.”
The Mets cut the deficit to 5-3 on an RBI single by Jose Reyes, a solo homer by Beltran, and a sacrifice fly by Lucas Duda.
“I was able to see the ball good and hit it hard anywhere,” said Beltran, who had three hits. “It’s good feeling when you feel like that at the plate like you have chances every time you step into the plate.”
Niese allowed six runs, five hits, and six walks while striking out seven in 5 2-3 innings.
“This time of the year he could have easily packed it in,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “He didn’t have great stuff, but he went out there and fought.”
Notes: The Marlins won the season series with the Mets, 12-7 and won all six games at Sun Life Stadium. … Marlins Hanley Ramirez (sore left elbow) and Emilio Bonifacio (hamstring) were held out of the lineup. … Marlins LF Logan Morrison walked in the first inning to extend his streak of reaching base safely to 41 games. Only Mark Teixeira has had a longer streak (42) in the big leagues this season. … Reyes struck out in the first inning ending his streak of 48 plate appearances without a strikeout. … Miami Heat guard Mike Miller threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
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