(Sports Network) – Texas-born right-hander Dillon Gee can stop the bleeding for the suddenly skidding New York Mets tonight when they finish off a three- game home series with the visiting Florida Marlins at Citi Field.
The Mets dropped their second straight to the Marlins and fourth in a row overall on Tuesday, falling back to .500 for the season when, after surrendering a 10th-inning grand slam to Mike Stanton in Monday’s series- opening loss, Jason Isringhausen allowed two runs in the top of the ninth as New York fell, 4-3.
The Marlins loaded the bases with one down against Isringhausen (2-2) before pinch-hitter Bryan Petersen dribbled a grounder toward second. Justin Turner fielded the ball and made an errant throw to first baseman Lucas Duda, allowing the tying and go-ahead runs to cross the plate.
Steve Cishek (2-1) threw two scoreless frames to earn the win, and Leo Nunez recorded his 31st save of the season after entering in the ninth with a runner aboard and closing the door.
Omar Infante belted two home runs for the Marlins, who moved to .500 for the first time since June 12.
The loss ruined a strong outing from starter Chris Capuano, who allowed two runs on four hits over six innings and scored a run.
Jose Reyes added a home run for the Mets.
New York and Florida are now tied at 55-55, good for third in the National League’s East Division, albeit 15 1/2 games behind the first-place Philadelphia Phillies.
The Mets and Marlins are each 7 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Braves, who currently lead the NL’s wild card race.
Gee, who won two of five starts in a late-season debut in 2010, picked up his 10th victory of 2011 on July 29, when he tossed 6 2/3 innings of four-hit ball in an 8-5 defeat of the Washington Nationals.
It was his second win in a row and third start without a loss since a 6-0 defeat to the Dodgers in Los Angeles on July 7.
Gee faced the Marlins two starts ago in Miami and got a no-decision after allowing seven hits and three runs in five innings of a game the Mets ultimately lost, 5-4.
It was his first career meeting with Florida.
The Mets are 13-7 in the 20 games he’s pitched.
The Marlins send Clay Hensley to the mound for his fourth start and 24th appearance of 2011.
The 31-year-old Texan was exclusively a relief pitcher with Florida last season, making nary a start in 68 appearances while posting a 2.16 earned run average over 75 innings.
He came in from the bullpen in his initial 20 outings of 2011, then transformed into a starter for a 4-1 defeat of the Mets on July 18 – allowing just one hit in five scoreless innings with three strikeouts.
Hensley’s started twice since, allowing a combined nine hits and five runs in 12 innings in a no-decision against the Mets on July 23 and a 5-0 loss in Atlanta on July 29.
Lifetime against New York, over 17 games and four starts, he’s allowed 14 earned runs in 34 2/3 innings while going 2-2 with two saves, a blown save and four holds.
The Marlins are 7-3 versus the Mets this season.