18-19, 4-11 Away
19-18, 10-9 Home

Maybin, Marlins take advantage of Mets starter's struggles

MIAMI -- The Florida Marlins loaded the bases to begin the game before taking a swing. They went on to their season-best third consecutive win, with lots of help from the hapless New York Mets.

John Maine had a wild start for New York, Rod Barajas committed a baserunning blunder in the ninth and Florida took advantage, winning 7-5 Saturday night.

Maine's first 12 pitches were balls to Chris Coghlan, Gaby Sanchez and Hanley Ramirez.

"I like those at-bats where I really don't have to do much," Sanchez said. "He probably just couldn't find the rhythm and his arm slot, and we were able to get some runs from it."

The Mets said Maine was sharp warming up before the game.

"I never threw that many balls in a row," the right-hander said. "It's one of those things where you throw eight straight balls, and you're not going to get borderline pitches. Had I been throwing strikes, maybe a few of those calls go my way."

Maine came within a strike of allowing only one run in the inning, but Cameron Maybin hit a two-out, two-single.

"He walked the bases loaded, and I was just trying to capitalize on that," Maybin said. "We really needed to get more than one run out of the inning, and it's nice to be able to help."

Maine (1-3) lasted five innings but gave up six runs, increasing his ERA to 6.13.

Leo Nunez, Florida's fourth reliever, pitched the ninth for his eighth save in 10 chances. He benefited from a mistake by Barajas, who was thrown out by left fielder Chris Coghlan trying to stretch a leadoff single into a double with the score 7-4.

"Dumb baserunning," Barajas said. "I've seen guys make those mistakes and I say, 'What are you thinking?' Well, I'm sure we had 24 guys doing the same thing. It was just bad. There's no excuse for it."

Nunez gave up two more hits, including an RBI single by Luis Castillo, before Angel Pagan bounced out to end the game.

Marlins right fielder Cody Ross threw out Ike Davis trying to score from second on a one-out single in the second.

Thanks to plays like that, the Mets (18-19) matched their longest losing streak of the season with their fourth in a row. They fell below .500 for the first time since April 24. They're 4-11 on the road and last in the major leagues in away victories.

Nate Robertson (4-3) lasted only 5 2/3 innings but was better than Maine, allowing three runs, two earned.

Maybin tied a career high with three RBIs to help the up-and-down Marlins (19-18) climb above .500. They had 12 hits, including four doubles.

"This is the start of something," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "This series we've been swinging it."

Hanley Ramirez had three hits, scored twice and drove in a run. Jorge Cantu also had three hits and an RBI.

"We're still trying to find ourselves," Robertson said, "and winning three games against a division rival is big."

The Marlins will try to complete a four-game sweep Sunday.

New York's sputtering offense showed improvement with 13 hits. David Wright drove in two runs with his eighth homer and a sacrifice fly. Castillo drove in two runs and had an RBI triple for his first extra-base hit from the left side this season. Jose Reyes, returning to the leadoff spot after manager Jerry Manuel tweaked the lineup, contributed a single and a double.

"At least we saw some life in the offense," Manuel said. "That's a good sign."

It wasn't enough, and now the Mets have lost all five road series this year.

The crowd of 26,007 was still settling in when Maine walked the bases loaded in the first. Manuel and Gonzalez said they couldn't remember seeing such a start by a pitcher.

Maine finally threw a strike to Cantu, who then lined out. Dan Uggla ducked out of the way of a 3-2 pitch to force in a run, and Maybin's single made the score 3-0.

Maine needed 40 pitches to get through the inning.

"It was really shocking and surprising that he couldn't find the strike zone," Manuel said.

Game notes
The first homer by a left-handed hitter for the Marlins -- by Coghlan -- came in their 36th game Friday. The Marlins said that's the longest such drought to start a season since 1963, when Houston's first homer by a lefty was in its 52nd game by 19-year-old Rusty Staub, based on research by the Elias Sports Bureau. ... Mets OF Carlos Beltran, who has been rehabilitating in nearby Port St. Lucie following knee surgery, visited the clubhouse before the game. He has begun a running program and is expected to face live pitching starting next week. ... Florida's Ricky Nolasco, scheduled to start Sunday, is 3-6 in 16 games against the Mets with a 5.82 ERA.