Saturday, April 11, 2009


Livan Hernandez returned last night to Miami, the scene of his greatest on-field successes in his 13-year Major League career. In 1997, Hernandez -- a Cuban defector -- was a 21-year-old rookie who captured both the National League Championship and World Series Most Valuable Player awards as a Florida Marlin.
These days, he's a 34-year-old New York Mets fifth starter, trying to recapture the old form after the last three seasons' worth of knee problems. In his Mets' debut, the fifth starter turned in a first-rate debut, hurling 6.2 innings and allowing just two runs on six hits, in helping the Mets to an 8-4 victory over the Marlins.
Hernandez was buoyed by the Mets' 15 hits -- four of which were delivered by second baseman Luis Castillo who was just 1-for-10 on the young season entering last night's game. Castillo, David Wright and Jose Reyes all recorded their first RBIs of the season, as Reyes knocked in three with a two-run homer and an RBI double. Carlos Delgado added two more RBIs to his team-leading total of eight, while Ryan Church continued his torrid hitting with two doubles, giving him five on the young season.
Hernandez showed a wily veteran presence on the mound, changing speeds with fastballs, sliders and curve balls to escape a first-and-third, none out jam in the second inning by coaxing a shallow outfield fly ball and two straight strikeouts. Hernandez also contributed at the plate, tying a single-game Mets franchise record with three sacrifice bunts.

Winning pitcher -- Hernandez (1-0)
Losing pitcher -- Nolasco (1-1)
2B -- Reyes (1), Church 2, (5), Delgado (1), Beltran (1)
3B -- None
Home runs -- Reyes (1)
RBI -- Reyes 3, (3), Delgado 2, (8), Castillo (1), Helms (1), Bonifacio (5), Cora (2), Wright (1), Gload (1), Ramirez (9)
Sacrifice bunts -- Hernandez 3, (3), Castillo (1)
Sacrifice Flies -- Gload (1)
Stolen bases -- Hermida (1)
Caught Stealing -- None
Errors -- Cantu (1, throw), Bonifacio (1, throw), Wright (1, throw)
Runners left on base -- Mets 10, Marlins, 9
Runners left in scoring position -- Mets 7, Marlins, 4
Web gems -- Mets: Top third, Wright spears line drive by Ramirez, dives to tag Bonifacio for double play
METS NOTES: Before the game, the Mets designated for assignment utilityman and pinch-hitting specialist Marlon Anderson to make room for Hernandez on the 25-man roster. New York has 10 days to trade or release Anderson. If no team claims Anderson on waivers, he becomes a free agent and the Mets would be able to negotiate a Minor League contract and assignment with him. Anderson is due to make $1.15 million this season and strongly contributed to the Mets 2007 effort to reach the post-season with several clutch hits, but since then appeared unable to recapture that form. Anderson was 0-for-3 this season in pinch-hitting appearances.

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