- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 28, 2017

MIAMI (AP) - In the context of the New York Mets‘ injury-filled season, Steven Matz looked especially robust Wednesday.

The left-hander pitched seven innings and two relievers completed a seven-hitter for an 8-0 victory over the Miami Marlins.

Asdrubal Cabrera and Curtis Granderson each hit a two-run homer in support of Matz (2-1), who allowed six hits, all singles, and one walk while lowering his ERA to 2.67 in four starts this year. He struck out four and threw 110 pitches.

“I’m letting them put the ball in play,” Matz said. “That’s been the key to going deep in the game.”

The performance gave the rotation a welcome lift hours after right-hander Robert Gsellman became the sixth Mets starting pitcher to go on the disabled list this season. Gsellman strained his left hamstring Tuesday.

Matz spent the first two months of the season on the DL because of left elbow inflammation but has gone seven innings three times in June.

“I’ve been very surprised,” manager Terry Collins said. “Coming off the issues he had in spring training we want to be careful, knowing we’ve got a long way to go yet. But he’s doing a good job. He’s throwing strikes. He hasn’t thrown a ton of pitches. He has done a nice job every time he has been out there.”

Cabrera hit his seventh homer in the first inning, and Granderson connected for his 12th in the seventh - and his eighth this month. The Mets have 50 homers in June, the most in a calendar month by any team since 2006.

Jose Reyes had three hits to hike his average to .202. The Mets have won four of their past five games while outscoring opponents 35-14.

Second baseman Cabrera and shortstop Reyes made fine defensive plays for New York, robbing Miami of hits, and the duo combined to turn two double plays.

Cabrera was unhappy to be put at second base rather than shortstop when he was activated from the DL last week, but he’s batting .476 (10 for 21) since his return.

“I’m a professional player,” he said. “I come here and do my job.”

He left in the eighth inning because of leg cramps but said afterward he was fine.

Jeff Locke (0-4) allowed three runs, all in a 32-pitch first inning, but lasted 5 2/3 innings.

“When you give up the blast to Cabrera and that becomes the deciding factor with the second hitter in the game, it really makes you want to go back and have that lap back again,” Locke said.

The left-hander retired 12 in a row after his rocky start but fell to 0-3 with a 6.20 ERA in five career starts against the Mets.

Granderson led off the game with a walk, Cabrera followed with his homer, and Reyes added a two-out RBI single in the first.

Granderson homered off Justin Nicolino, making his first relief appearance of the year after being dropped from the rotation. Brandon Nimmo pinch-hit for Matz in the eighth and delivered a two-run single for his first RBIs of the year.

The shutout was the third for the Mets this season, who trail by 10 games in the NL wild-card race.

“We’ve got to get our pitching going,” Collins said. “That’s what it’s going to take to get back in this.”

Miami was shut out for the third time, and manager Don Mattingly said Matz deserved credit.

“There are nights when the guy is making some pitches,” Mattingly said. “He got ahead in the counts. He just did a nice job.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: OF Michael Conforto (bruised left wrist) again sat out.

UP NEXT

Mets RHP Seth Lugo (2-1, 3.72 ERA) is scheduled to start the rubber game of the series Thursday against RHP Jose Urena (6-2, 3.33 ERA), who has an ERA of 1.50 in his past three starts.

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More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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