Florida's Dan Uggla hit his fifth home run of the spring in the second inning to give the Marlins a 1-0 lead with pitching prospect Dillon Gee on the mound for the Mets. Jorge Cantu hit another one off Gee in the fourth.
Mets manager Jerry Manuel, who implemented a drill in which his players take 80 straight pitches, likes what he's seeing from his hitters late in camp as they face tougher pitching like that seen from Marlins No. 2 starter Josh Johnson.
"You have to feel good that the effort to execute is in place," Manuel said. "I think that's big for us going forward."
The right-handed Johnson was solid for most of his outing, other than that third inning. He threw 102 pitches in 5 2-3 innings, giving up eight hits, five runs - only three earned - and two walks with seven strikeouts.
He was pleased with his performance, especially with the use of his slider in the last two innings and getting over the 100-pitch mark for the first time.
"That's pretty much all I'm worried about, getting my pitch count up and being able to get into a groove, get into a rhythm," Johnson said, "and I finally did that today, so it was good."
In the fifth inning, Hanley Ramirez hit a sacrifice fly to right off Fernando Nieve to bring in Emilio Bonifacio, who doubled, and cut the gap to 5-3. The Marlins added a fourth run in the top of the ninth, but fell short.
The Mets started Gee, who was reassigned to minor league camp earlier this spring, on the mound in place of projected fifth starter Livan Hernandez in order to get a better look at the young prospect. The right-hander, who spent most of last season in Single-A St. Lucie, gave up two runs on four hits and two walks with four strikeouts in 3.1 innings.
"I like him a lot because I see he has the ability - though he didn't do it today - to throw offspeed behind in the count, and he is around the strike zone," Manuel said. "He looks like a pretty good athlete, and he is just very interesting to me. I think at some point during the course, he could be in the mix, and I'd like to give him every opportunity to get a feel for what we do at this level."
Notes: Marlins outfielder Alfredo Amezaga, recovering from a knee injury, fielded some grounders Saturday morning in just his second day off a brace and is progressing well, Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ... Hernandez pitched a minor league game on Saturday, giving up eight hits, one run and no walks with five strikeouts in seven innings.
NEW YORK SPORTS AND MORE
SEND TIP OR PHOTO || REPORT TYPO || GET WIDGET
EYEWITNESS TWITTER || FIND US ON FACEBOOK