MIAMI -- Some 1,100 miles from Queens, a group of youngsters skipped school Thursday to sit in 90-degree heat and chant, "Let's go Mets!"
Not everyone has given up on New York's beleaguered baseball team. The Mets rewarded the faithful, matching a season high with 17 hits and beating the Florida Marlins 10-3 to snap a five-game losing streak.Tim Redding pitched 6 2/3 innings to give New York's injury-ravaged staff a boost. Fernando Tatis and Angel Pagan homered, and the Mets scored nine runs with two out."We were able to put everything together today," Redding said.The inspired performance came on a sweltering afternoon before less than 5,000 spectators, some cheering for the visitors. Redding shrugged off all the empty seats."This stadium has been empty for years," he said. "It's just sad. But it's 90 to 100 degrees here every day from the middle of May to the beginning of October. I wouldn't want to be out there sitting in the stands roasting, either."Making his second start since July 2, Redding (2-4) allowed three runs -- all on leadoff homers -- and five hits."When you get good pitching and the guy is throwing strikes, it makes it a lot easier," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "As long as the tempo is right, the dog days don't seem as bad."These days are especially "ruff" for the Mets, who have 13 players on a rapidly expanding disabled list. They lost three pitchers, including ace Johan Santana, to season-ending injuries in the first two days of the series.Redding said he took the mound trying not to think about the ravaged roster."You wish the guys were here," he said. "You wish they were all healthy. You can't go out there and worry about trying to fill somebody else's shoes, trying to pitch like Santana, trying to pitch a shutout."Redding's shutout lasted one batter. Chris Coghlan led off the Marlins' first inning with a home run and went deep again in the sixth. Dan Uggla hit his 23rd homer to start the seventh, but that still left Florida trailing 8-3."That's better than three three-run home runs," Redding said.The Mets' patchwork lineup more than compensated, with some help. Florida fielding lapses led to five runs.Tatis connected in the eighth to finish 6-for-13 in the series. Wilson Valdez reached base four times, scored twice and drove in a run. Daniel Murphy doubled twice and drove in three runs."We really were locked in at the plate," Murphy said. "It's one of those things that is so contagious. It just starts rolling, and everybody starts putting together really good at-bats, and all of a sudden those good at-bats are with runners in scoring position with two out, and those are backbreakers."The Marlins' Anibal Sanchez (2-5) lasted only 3 2/3 innings in his second start since recovering from a shoulder strain that put him on the disabled list. He said his shoulder felt fine, but he allowed four runs, two earned, and eight hits."I didn't have too much command my first couple of innings," Sanchez said. "I was behind in the count on everything."The Mets scored two unearned runs in the second thanks to an error by first baseman Ross Gload and added three in the fifth after center fielder Cody Ross hesitated when he had a chance to throw out a runner at third.The Mets trailed 1-0 before scoring three times in the second. Anderson Hernandez doubled in the first run, and another came home when Gload misplayed a sharp grounder by Valdez. Murphy followed with an RBI double."Sometimes those errors it's just the way the pace of the game was going," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Eighty pitches at three innings kind of puts you in a lull."Valdez reached on a bunt single in the fourth, advanced on an error and scored on Jeff Francoeur's two-out single.New York scored four runs in the fifth -- all with two out -- to make it 8-1. Valdez hit an RBI single, Murphy doubled home two runs and Francoeur added a run-scoring single.
Mets left-hander Pat Misch will make his first start of the season Friday against the Cubs. ... Manuel gave second baseman Luis Castillo and left fielder Gary Sheffield the day off. Sheffield is nursing a sore back. ... Marlins catcher John Baker (back) took the day off. ... Before his homer, Uggla was 1-for-14 lifetime with eight strikeouts against Redding. ... Mets right-hander Brian Stokes pitched the ninth to extend his streak to 12 2/3 scoreless innings, a career best.