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NYM@MIA: Alvarez strikes out seven, shuts out Mets

MIAMI -- Runs have been coming in bunches all homestand for the Marlins. On Tuesday night, the starting pitching carried the load.

Giancarlo Stanton and Casey McGehee provided some early support, and Henderson Alvarez was able to finish what he started.

Alvarez scattered six hits and turned in the fourth shutout of his career as the Marlins blanked the Mets, 3-0, at Marlins Park.

"He's still a young guy, and he's still learning how to pitch and understanding how to pitch," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "But when you see nights like this, you realize this guy has a chance to be really, really good. It just really comes down to consistency for him."

In the 2013 season finale, also at Marlins Park, Alvarez threw a no-hitter. The right-hander was making his seventh start of '14 on Tuesday, and he logged his second shutout at home. On April 19 against Seattle, he tossed a two-hitter in a 7-0 victory.

Alvarez, who struck out seven, polished the game up in a brisk two hours and eight minutes.

"When you get in a roll, the game moves fast," Alvarez, a Venezuelan native, said in Spanish. "I was thinking about trying to throw all my pitches down, hitting on my breaking pitches and trying to get the hitters to swing early."

Dating back to last year, he's posted three shutouts over his last eight starts.

"I just think each time I go out I want to give 100 percent, to win the game for the team and I'm focused on my job," said Alvarez, who threw 111 pitches.

The Marlins didn't need much run support off Bartolo Colon, who yielded three runs in seven innings.

Miami continued its masterful homestand, improving to 7-1 after taking the first two against New York.

At 18-15, the Marlins are moving up the standings in the National League East.

"These winning streaks, and the winning, this is where you build your chemistry," Redmond said. "You build your relationships. That's where we're at. We're playing with a lot of confidence right now. You saw that with the at-bats. We're getting big hits. They're excited. The energy is there."

Heading into Tuesday night, the Marlins averaged 6.4 runs per game on the homestand.

Off Colon, McGehee drove in two runs, and Stanton chipped in with an RBI double.

"You know Bartolo is going to throw the ball well," said McGehee, who has had at least two hits in six of his last seven games. "He's been doing it a long time. You're not going to have too many opportunities against him. It was definitely nice to get a couple early. Alvarez did the rest. He was really good tonight."

The Marlins are now 16-5 at home this season. The quickest start at home in club history was 17-5 by the 1997 team.

The Marlins struck quickly for two runs in the first inning. The big blast was delivered by Stanton, who crushed an RBI double that was a few feet from being a two-run homer to deep center. The drive sailed more than 410 feet and hit off the top of the wall.

"I don't know if you can hit a ball any harder than that," Redmond said of a ball he thought was out.

The roof being open at Marlins Park may have factored into Stanton's drive being held up.

The roof stays open only on ideal weather nights.

"It just seemed like tonight, with the roof open, the ball just wasn't carrying," Redmond said. "Some nights the ball seems to carry more. Tonight, it seemed to be dead."

Derek Dietrich, who was hit by a pitch, scored easily from first base. McGehee's RBI single to right gave Miami a two-run cushion.

In the fifth inning, Miami used three straight two-out singles off Colon to take a three-run lead. Dietrich and Stanton singled, putting runners at the corners, and McGehee slapped an RBI single to center.

The Mets didn't mount many threats against Alvarez. But when they did, the right-hander was able to get some timely ground balls. He benefited from double plays in the third and fifth innings.

In the sixth inning, New York put runners on second and third after Juan Lagares was hit by a pitch with two outs and Daniel Murphy doubled to left. Alvarez escaped by getting David Wright to ground out to short.

In the ninth inning, Murphy ripped a one-out double, but he was stranded at third when Alvarez struck out Curtis Granderson to end the night.

"He was moving the ball to both sides of the plate," Murphy said. "He's got that sinker. And then once you thought you kind of had that measured, like the last third of the game, he started really shoving it to the other side of the plate.

"He was using the changeup more as like a sinker today. He threw the ball well. He doesn't walk guys, pounding the zone, and he got big double plays when he needed to. It's no fun."

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