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CIN@MIA: Turner tosses seven scoreless innings

The Marlins' final road trip of the season begins Friday as they open a three-game series against the Mets in Queens. The contest will be the first of six games the National League East rivals play against each other in the final two weeks of the season.

The Mets have won four straight against the Marlins, including sweeping a three-game series in Miami from Aug. 30-Sept. 2. The Marlins will turn to rookie right-hander Jacob Turner to try to reverse the trend.

Turner was a key piece of the deal that sent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Tigers at the non-waiver Trade Deadline. Turner has made four starts for the Marlins since the trade, and has a 3.75 ERA in 24 innings. He has struck out 17 and walked just three batters.

Manager Ozzie Guillen said the Marlins are paying close attention to how Turner and Nathan Eovaldi, another of their deadline acquisitions, finish their seasons. Both have put themselves in a position to compete for a spot in the 2013 rotation.

"They are going to have the experience here," Guillen said. "They are going to have a lot more innings. I think that creates confidence. Right now, in their last couple of starts, that's how we're going to treat them."

The Mets will counter with left-hander Jon Niese, for whom they've been good about giving run support, averaging 4.33 runs while he is on the mound. In his last start, a 7-3 victory in Milwaukee, the Mets staked him to a 4-0 lead in the second inning. Niese said he is happy to be able to pitch with the lead.

"It's good," Niese said. "It makes a pitcher feel a lot more comfortable on the mound when you've got the lead."

Niese is 11-9 with a 3.46 ERA and has struck out 145 batters in 177 innings this season. He is one victory and four strikeouts shy of establishing career highs in those categories and is on pace to finish with the lowest ERA and WHIP of his career.

Marlins: Rookie's hitting streak nears franchise record
Rookie catcher Rob Brantly extended his hitting streak to nine games with a double in the second inning of the Marlins' 3-0 loss to the Braves on Wednesday night. Brantly is hitting .448 with four doubles and a home run during the streak.

Brantly is one game shy of matching the Marlins' record for a catcher. Four Marlins catchers have had 10-game hitting streaks. John Baker was the last to do so in 2010.

• Right fielder Giancarlo Stanton missed all of the Marlins' three-game series against the Braves this week due to a sore left intercostal muscle. The Marlins hope Stanton will be ready to return in Friday's series opener against the Mets after four days off.

Stanton is hitting .283 with 34 home runs this season. He's playing even better against the Mets. In 11 games, Stanton is hitting .349 with a .628 slugging percentage and three home runs.

Mets: Tendinitis sidelines Francisco
Closer Frank Francisco has been battling right elbow tendinitis since Sunday, manager Terry Collins said Wednesday. Francisco pitched a scoreless inning Sunday against the Brewers, but has not pitched since.

Francisco said he hopes to pitch again this season, but Collins indicated the Mets will be cautious. The Mets' options to replace Francisco as closer include right-handers Bobby Parnell and Jon Rauch.

Francisco has a 5.53 ERA and 23 saves in 42 1/3 innings this season. He has already spent more than a month on the disabled list due to a strained left oblique.

• The Mets announced Thursday left-hander Josh Edgin would make one more appearance and then be shut down for the rest of the season. Edgin then appeared in Thursday's 16-1 loss to the Phillies when he pitched to two batters in the ninth. He hit Chase Utley with a pitch and then allowed a grand slam to Ryan Howard. It was the second night in a row Howard hit a home run off Edgin.

The rookie appeared in 34 games since being called up at the All-Star break. He has a 4.56 ERA and struck out 30 batters in 25 2/3 innings.

Worth noting
• Though Niese is just 1-5 with a 4.64 ERA in nine career starts against Miami, current Marlins have struggled against the left-hander, hitting .200 with just two extra-base hits in 83 plate appearances against Niese.

• Thursday's 16-1 loss to the Phillies extended the Mets' losing streak at home to nine games. It is their second such streak this season. The Mets also have not scored more than three runs in 16 consecutive home games, a franchise record. Comments