Zack Wheeler lasted just four innings in his return from surgery – giving up Derek Dietrich’s two-run triple and Christian Yelich’s two-run homer – as the New York Mets lost 7-2 to the Miami Marlins on Friday.
Making his first big league appearance in three years, the 26-year-old Wheeler started strongly and was given a lead when Curtis Granderson singled in a run in the first against Wei-Yin Chen.
Then Wheeler’s adrenaline appeared to dissipate on a raw night with the temperature in the 40s. The Marlins took a 3-1 lead in the second, and Yelich broke open the game in the third when he drove a pitch off the right-field foul pole – his fourth straight game at Citi Field with a home run.
Chen (1-0) reached an infield single in the fourth to end a 0 for 51 slump at the start of his career.
— FOX Sports Florida (@FOXSportsFL) April 8, 2017
Wheeler (0-1) allowed five runs, six hits and one walk with four strikeouts, throwing 54 of 80 pitches for strikes.
He had gone 924 days between starts, losing at Washington in September, 2014, in his previous big league outing. The right-hander, among the Mets’ heralded young starters, injured his elbow pitching against Miami in a spring training game the following March and had surgery 16 days later to repair a torn ligament.
Wheeler returned last summer and threw 17 pitches over one inning in a rain-shortened start for Class A St Lucie, then complained of elbow discomfort and didn’t pitch again. Amped up for his return, he reached 95-98 mph on the radar readings in the first two innings, then dropped to 93-94 mph in the third.
Working on the first base edge of the pitching rubber on a blustery night, Wheeler worked a 1-2-3 first and retired Giancarlo Stanton leading off the second on a deep fly to left into a 22 mph wind.
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) April 8, 2017
He walked Justin Bour, Marcell Ozuna reached on a soft single and Dietrich tripled off the base of the centre field wall for a 2-1 lead. Adeiny Hechavarria followed with an RBI groundout.
Yelich homered on an offspeed pitch in the fourth, and Ozuna and Dietrich added RBI singles in the fifth against Josh Smoker.
Chen gave up one run and seven hits in six innings with five strikeouts and one walk. He threw 86 pitches.
With only a few hundred fans remaining, Yoenis Cespedes hit his first home run of the season in the eighth – a drive to left off Nick Wittgren.
AJ Ellis made his Marlins debut behind the plate and went 0 for 4 with a walk. JT Realmuto was rested after a 7-for-12 start.
Marlins: LHP Jeff Locke (bicep) is making progress but is not likely to pitch until May. Martin Prado (hamstring) will be evaluated next week and could go on a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment.
New York complete the first turn of their rotation on Saturday when RHP Robert Gsellman starts against Adam Conley – the third straight left-handed starter to face the Mets.
Friday’s MLB Results:
San Francisco Giants 6-7 San Diego Padres
New York Yankees 5-6 Baltimore Orioles
Atlanta Braves 4-5 Pittsburgh Pirates
Washington Nationals 7-6 Philadelphia Phillies
Oakland Athletics 5-10 Texas Rangers
Chicago Cubs 1-2 Milwaukee Brewers
Cincinnati Reds 2-0 St Louis Cardinals
Seattle Mariners 1-5 Los Angeles Angels
Boston Red Sox 5-6 Detroit Tigers
Los Angeles Dodgers 1-2 Colorado Rockies
Toronto Blue Jays 8-10 Tampa Bay Rays
Minnesota Twins 3-1 Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals 5-1 Houston Astros
Cleveland Indians 3-7 Arizona Diamondbacks