05/30/09 5:52 PM EST
Johnson, Hermida lead Marlins to win
Slugger clubs three-run homer; righty now 6-0 against Mets
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
Pitching with an upset stomach on Saturday afternoon, Johnson allowed two runs on five hits with five strikeouts over seven solid innings, and Jeremy Hermida belted a three-run homer as the Marlins defeated the Mets, 7-3, at Citi Field.
Some sort of bug was floating around the clubhouse as Hermida also was dealing with congestion. Also, Wes Helms didn't play because he was hampered by flu-like symptoms.
A win certainly lifted the Marlins' spirits, as they rebounded from Friday's 2-1 loss in 11 innings to improve to 3-2 on their two-city road trip, which wraps up on Sunday.
"It's like a stomach something," said Johnson, who took Pepto-Bismol and other medication during the game. "I guess a couple of people aren't feeling too good here. I don't know if something got passed on."
Whatever was inflicting the Marlins' players also caught up to the Mets' clubhouse, too, as center fielder Carlos Beltran exited in the sixth inning with a stomach virus.
"You just go out there and battle and take it one pitch at a time," said Johnson, who threw 111 pitches and turned in his ninth quality start in 11 outings. "The first inning was pretty rough, but after that, I settled in and made pitches."
Johnson (4-1) improved to 6-0 with a 2.05 ERA in his career against New York, including 2-0 this season. He's faced the Mets three times -- twice previously being matched against Johan Santana -- and the Marlins have won all of those games.
In the games the 6-foot-7 right-hander has pitched overall, Florida is 8-3.
"That's your No. 1 guy," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "That's what No. 1 guys do. They extend winning streaks, and they stop losing streaks. That's what he can do for us."
In the ninth inning, the Mets (27-21) added a run off closer Matt Lindstrom, who exited after allowing a run and leaving two runners on base. Leo Nunez replaced Lindstrom and struck out Fernando Martinez to finish up the game.
The lone out Nunez recorded earned him his first Major League save. A setup reliever, the save came in his 132nd game.
Despite the rough outing for Lindstrom, Gonzalez stressed the hard-throwing right-hander will remain at closer.
"There is no simulator for the ninth inning," the manager said.
Hermida had three hits and drove in four runs, his second-highest RBI output of the season. On April 18, he collected five RBIs at Washington.
Considering the way the Marlins (23-27) lost in extra innings on Friday, they felt relieved to rebound.
"We kind of spoiled a good outing last night from [Sean West], and we had another one today from J.J.," Hermida said. "We were able to get some runs on the board early and make it a little more easy and comfortable for him. It's something we hadn't done much this year in terms of run support."
In his first three at-bats, Hermida had a single, double and home run. No Marlins player has hit for the cycle. In the seventh inning, with the count full, he ripped a hard line drive at second baseman Ramon Martinez. And in his final at-bat, he tapped into a 4-6-3 double play.
Hermida, who has one triple this season, has never hit for the cycle.
"I never have [had a cycle], and the triple is probably the toughest one to get," said Hermida, who has six total big league three-base hits.
Hermida acknowledged that the cycle crossed his mind.
"This is the park you can hit some triples," he said. "But you've got to put it in the right spot and have certain things [working]. It would have been nice, but I'm not too worried about it. I'm a realist."
Hermida's three-run homer in the fifth inning smacked off the Subway sandwich sign that overhangs the right-field deck. The blast ended Tim Redding's afternoon after four-plus innings and seven runs allowed.
Hanley Ramirez, starting for the first time since Tuesday in Philadelphia due to a tight right groin, reached on an infield single in the fourth inning. Jorge Cantu's double put runners on second and third for Hermida, who connected on his fifth homer of the season.
"It felt like I hadn't been on the field for like two weeks," Ramirez said. "I was kind of like, 'Where am I at?' When I got my first ground ball, I felt a little more comfortable at shortstop.
"I don't feel 100 percent, but I try to give 100 percent every day."
After the game, the 25-year-old shortstop was packed in ice. He was icing his leg, his right hand (which was struck by a pitch on April 27), along with his right shoulder and right elbow.
"You know every day you're not going to feel 100 percent," Ramirez said. "You've got to put it out of your mind and be an example."
The offense responded on a day Gonzalez did some tinkering.
Flip-flopping the top of the order, Chris Coghlan led off and Emilio Bonifacio batted second. Both had good games. Immediately, the switch made a difference, as the Marlins scored twice in the first inning.
Coghlan opened the game with walk, capping a 10-pitch showdown with Redding (0-2). On a hit-and-run, Bonifacio doubled down the first-base line. With one out, Cantu reached on third baseman Fernando Tatis' error, scoring Coghlan. Cantu was credited with an RBI, and Hermida delivered a run-scoring single.
Coghlan drew three walks in five plate appearances. He was 0-for-2.
"For me, it's always [important] to go deeper into the counts, unless it's something out over the plate that I'm looking for," said Coghlan, who is expected to remain in the leadoff spot for a while.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.