By Ryan S. Clark
MIAMI -- It wasn't that long ago when the Marlins were nearly indomitable at home.
Sure. They still have a league-high 25 wins, although that's been recently challenged. Offensive struggles, at least lately, have been the hallmark of the Marlins losing four of their last five home series. An 11-5 loss to the New York Mets on Sunday means the Marlins, who went 3-7 on this homestand, have lost five of their last six home series.
"This was not a great homestand for us but we have to move on and turn the page," said Marlins manager Mike Redmond.
"We have Philly tomorrow night in a four-game set. Hopefully, we'll be able to go out there and get this thing going in the right direction."
The last time the Mets (35-41) were in town, they were swept by the Marlins (37-38) in a three-game set, having been outscored 8-3 with all three runs coming in Game 1 of the series. It was also the third and most recent time the Marlins swept an opponent at home.
Getting those home series sweeps are how the Marlins got over the .500 mark. Now, they're below .500 for the first time since April 30 when they were 13-14.
One would have expected the series finale to be much more like its three predecessors by being closely contested.
Marlins starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani wasn't that fortunate.
A Lucas Duda single plus a Kirk Nieuwenhuis double off the center field wall gave the Mets two men in scoring position with no outs in the second. Ruben Tejada worked DeSclafani for nine pitches before walking to load the bases. Catcher Anthony Recker hit a long RBI sacrifice fly to left center scoring Duda for a 1-0 lead before a Jonathon Niese suicide squeeze extended the lead to 2-0.
The Mets padded the lead to 4-0 in the third off a sacrifice fly from Curtis Granderson and a Nieuwenhuis double. DeSclafani was already at 69 pitches by the end of frame.
His fourth inning was ultimately the knockout blow surrendering three runs including a two-run home run to Daniel Murphy. Murphy's blast led to DeSclafani's departure and the worst start he's had this season. The 24-year-old had only allowed 11 earned runs in his last three starts. He was taxed with seven earned runs dropping him to 1-2 with a 7.59 earned run average for the year.
"This was not the start I wanted," DeSclafani said. "The slider was a non-factor and I fell behind hitters and the fastball was flat and up in the zone."
Niese was moving along until the sixth when the Marlins, after leaving eight men on base in a 4-0 loss Saturday, scored three cutting the lead to 7-3. Reed Johnson's RBI single was the first run the Marlins scored since the eighth inning in their 3-2 thrilling win over the Mets on Friday.
Recently-promoted Derek Dietrich was up with the bases loaded until Niese struck him out on an 0-2 count to get out of the inning.
Any chances of a comeback were quickly denied when the Mets exploded in the seventh adding four more runs for an 11-3 lead.
"You look at the box score and there are way too many big numbers giving up twos, threes and fours in innings," Redmond said. "That crushes you."
Sports | June 23, 2014 | Page 1C, 2C
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