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MIA@ATL: Koehler fans eight over 6 1/3 innings

Tough luck met Dillon Gee and Tom Koehler in each of their respective previous starts. Each threw well in games their teams lost.

On Sunday, the Mets and Marlins hurlers square off against each other in the series finale at Citi Field.

Gee was sharp for the second straight outing for the Mets, in a loss to Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals. The New York right-hander gave up a two-run single to Jon Jay in the fourth inning and nothing else over six innings.

"You know you're going up against Wainwright, you know it's going to be pretty tough," Gee said. "The guy's a great pitcher."

Gee did take some positives out of the fact that despite loading the bases with no outs in the fourth, he prevented that inning from snowballing into something bigger.

"It could have gotten really ugly, and in the past it has," Gee said. "So for me, that was kind of a big step."

Gee has enjoyed success against the Marlins in his career, posting a 2-0 record with a 3.09 ERA in four starts.

Koehler comes off a strong no-decision against the Braves, in a game Atlanta pulled out a 4-2 win in the 10th inning. In 6 1/3 innings, Koehler matched his career high with eight strikeouts.

Facing the Mets at Citi Field is a homecoming of sorts for Koehler, who attended New Rochelle High School and attended Stony Brook.

"It's always fun coming back home," the right-hander said. "It's nice to pitch in front of people who haven't really had a chance to see me throw. People who have followed me when I was in Little League, and watched me play all the way through college. To get to come back, and throw in front of a lot of these people is special."

Marlins: Lack of making contact a concern
Putting the ball in play has become a problem for the Marlins throughout the road trip. It started in Atlanta, where Miami struck out 41 times in three games. And it carried over into Friday night at New York, when the team went down 13 more times on strikes.

"We had [41] strikeouts in the Atlanta series, which was a lot," manager Mike Redmond said. "We definitely got to make some adjustments there and put the ball in play."

The Marlins have struggled with runners in scoring position and adding on runs. That's another area that needs improvement.

"It's big for us as a team to make sure we add on and drive those runs in when we have opportunities with less than two outs," Redmond said. "That takes the pressure off the pitching."

Mets: Opportunistic hitting standing out
New York's offense may be struggling, but the club is finding ways to win. Mainly, the Mets are doing so with some timely hitting.

To have a winning record despite ranking low in runs scored and on-base percentage is a relief. Manager Terry Collins was asked if he is surprised by the early success, despite some struggles at the plate.

"You are going to win games because you pitch," Collins said. "We are pitching well and we know we are going to swing the bats better. We have played well and we have played hard."

Worth noting
• Koehler is expecting anywhere from 50-80 family members and friends to be on hand Sunday.

• With Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Garrett Jones homering in the eighth inning Friday, the Marlins recorded their first back-to-back home runs of the season. It was the first time the Marlins hit back-to-back homers since Aug. 26, 2012 (Jose Reyes and Carlos Lee).

• Mets starting pitchers went 11 straight starts, dating back to April 14, allowing three runs or fewer. That ended on Saturday, when Miami scored six off Jenrry Mejia.

• Bobby Abreu's homer off Kevin Slowey on Saturday was his first since Sept. 28, 2012. Abreu was with the Dodgers facing the Rockies that night.

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