3/22/2013 9:58 P.M. ET
Nolasco sharp in evening duel with Mets
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
JUPITER, Fla. -- In the final stretch of Spring Training, the Marlins and Mets each threw their Opening Day starters on Friday. Both teams also got a feel for playing at night, performing in front of a crowd of 4,758 at Roger Dean Stadium.
The tightly pitched game was decided by two-out singles, the biggest one a Josh Rodriguez two-run hit in the eighth inning of New York's 4-2 victory. Rodriguez capped a three-run eighth after clutch hits by Rob Brantly and Nick Green had given Miami a 2-1 lead.
Ricky Nolasco got the nod for Miami, and New York went with Jonathan Niese. Both were able to stretch out to at least five innings.
Niese exited after five innings, allowing two runs with four walks and five strikeouts. The left-hander logged 92 pitches, with 49 strikes.
Nolasco stretched out to 101 pitches, throwing six innings, while giving up one run on four hits with five strikeouts.
"It was good to get to that barrier of more than 90 pitches," Nolasco said. "It's not easy doing it for the first time. I had to battle myself a little more on my fastball than I wanted to. I was able to make the pitch with the fastball when I had to. Everything else was OK. It was good to stretch it out and keep the ball down in the zone."
In the fourth inning, the Marlins capitalized on three walks and scored two runs to take a 2-1 lead.
Niese got into a jam by walking Giancarlo Stanton to open the inning. The lefty also walked Casey Kotchman and Chris Valaika. Brantly slapped an RBI single to center, and Green's run-scoring single to right put Miami in front.
The Mets had gone up by a run four batters into the game. Jordany Valdespin hit a leadoff triple down the right-field line, and with one out, Mike Baxter was hit by a pitch. Andrew Brown's sharp single to center gave New York the early lead.
Up next: Nathan Eovaldi, who is lined up to be Miami's No. 2 starter, will get the start against the Cardinals on Saturday in a 1:05 p.m. ET game at Roger Dean Stadium. Lance Lynn will start for St. Louis. Miami is the home team. The Marlins are finalizing their roster, and the center-field competition is heating up between Justin Ruggiano, Chris Coghlan and Gorkys Hernandez. The game will be broadcast on MLB.TV and MLB Network.