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Seth Lugo latest unproven starter to shut down Marlins

Seth Lugo pitches in the first inning against

Seth Lugo pitches in the first inning against the Marlins at Citi Field on Aug. 30, 2016. Lugo went six strong innings for the win. Credit: Getty Images / Jim McIsaac

Robert Gsellman. Rafael Montero. Seth Lugo.

The Mets are in a playoff race and those were their starting pitchers for the last three games. And guess what? They all did fine and the Mets won two of three.

Lugo was the latest. He allowed two runs before he got three outs on Tuesday night and then nothing else as the Mets beat the Marlins, 7-4, at Citi Field.

“Got a fresh start to the game,” Lugo said. “Big-time for me.”

Lugo (2-2) went six strong innings and left with a 3-2 lead. He was replaced by pinch hitter Curtis Granderson, who homered leading off the bottom of the sixth. Alejandro De Aza added an RBI single later in the inning to give the Mets a three-run advantage.

Granderson homered again in the seventh — a two-run shot — to make it 7-2.

In his third big-league start, Lugo allowed a two-run home run by Christian Yelich to give the Marlins a 2-0 lead. But the Mets scored three times in the bottom of the first off Stony Brook product Tom Koehler (9-10) on a two-run homer by Asdrubal Cabrera and a two-out RBI single by Wilmer Flores.

Lugo made the one-run lead stand up. He finished having allowed five hits with one walk and four strikeouts in an 89-pitch effort and retired the final eight batters he faced.

“You talk about guys who stepped up,” manager Terry Collins said. “Our young guys have stepped up . . . They’ve literally just saved us.”

With the news that Steven Matz will not come off the disabled list as scheduled on Thursday because of continuing shoulder problems, the Mets are going to have to keep using a makeshift rotation for a while.

Gsellman was the losing pitcher against the Phillies on Sunday when he was charged with four runs in six-plus innings. But the rookie was victimized when Hansel Robles allowed three inherited runners to score in the seventh in the Mets’ 5-1 defeat.

On Monday night, Rafael Montero returned from Double-A Binghamton to start for the skipped Jacob deGrom and threw five shutout innings in the Mets’ 2-1, 10-inning win over the Marlins. The Mets won a game in which the pitching matchup was Montero vs. Jose Fernandez, the Miami ace who threw six shutout innings.

“I think going into that game certainly our odds of winning were not very good,” Collins said. “But it’s baseball . . . It just happens. That’s why the game’s great. Once the game starts, you can look at all the numbers and say you don’t have a chance, yet you look up at the end of the game and somebody has a big night or the pitcher on the other team might be off or whatever it might be and you pull one out. Those mean a lot at the end of the year.”

Montero was shipped back to Binghamton on Tuesday so the Mets could add a fresh arm in Logan Verrett. The rosters expand on Thursday, so more pitchers will be added. And so it goes.

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