Daisuke Matsuzaka pieced together his second solid start in a row, pitching the Mets to a 3-1 victory over the Marlins on Saturday night to salvage what had been a painful doubleheader.
Earlier in the day, in a 3-0 loss to the Marlins, Mets reliever Frank Francisco left the game after taking Logan Morrison's comebacker near the pinkie finger of his right hand. X-rays revealed a bruise, though the injury initially looked much worse.
"That's what I thought, it was broken for sure," said Francisco, who returned a week ago from elbow issues that had sidelined him all season.
Francisco, 34, signed a two-year, $12-million contract before the 2012 season, when he functioned as the Mets' closer. He notched 23 saves but pitched to a 5.53 ERA before an elbow injury forced an end to his season in the final month. And it briefly appeared as if taking the comebacker off his pitching hand could have been the final scene of his Mets career.
Francisco immediately came off the field in the eighth inning of a defeat that clinched the Mets' fifth straight losing season.
Mets starter Carlos Torres (3-5) allowed two runs in six innings in the loss, including a solo homer by Donovan Solano. But the Mets' offense stalled against Henderson Alvarez (4-4), who tossed seven innings for the win.
The Mets' bats came alive in the nightcap, just in time to help Matsuzaka to his first victory as a member of the team and his first big-league win since Aug. 27, 2012, when he beat the Royals as a member of the Red Sox.
Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda hit back-to-back homers in the third inning and rookie Wilmer Flores singled home another run off Marlins starter Jacob Turner (3-6).
Matsuzaka (1-3) limited the Marlins to one run and two hits in seven innings. His only blemish came in the fourth when Justin Ruggiano tagged him for a solo homer, the Marlins' first hit of the game.
"This guy competes," Terry Collins said. "He's competed his entire life, any stage, any situation, never gives in."
Matsuzaka, 34, was signed to eat innings during the homestretch of the season, but in his first three starts, he went 0-3 with a 10.95 ERA. Through a translator, Matsuzaka called the situation "very stressful." But he has bounced back, allowing two runs in 131/3 innings in his last two starts.
Said Matsuzaka: "The important thing was to accept the situation I was in."
Notes & quotes: Reliever Jeurys Familia rejoined the Mets. He had been sidelined since May 9 and had elbow surgery to remove bone spurs.
Sign up for Newsday’s Mets Messages for updates directly to your phone via text, free with a Newsday digital subscription. Learn more at newsday.com/metstext.