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MIA@HOU: Zambrano goes the distance in shutout win

Ozzie Guillen had only one question about Miami's pitching staff heading into his first season as Marlins skipper: How would Carlos Zambrano transition to the National League East?

"The question mark was Carlos," Guillen said Friday.

So far, that question mark has been an exclamation point, with Zambrano boasting a rotation-leading 1.98 ERA in six starts this season. Zambrano is coming off one of the best outings of his career -- a three-hit shutout of the Astros on Monday -- and he will look to keep up that momentum in his first start in a Marlins uniform against an NL East foe in Sunday's rubber game against the Mets.

"I haven't pitched yet against an East team. I have gone against West Coast teams and Central division teams, but for me that doesn't make a difference," Zambrano said. "I just have to go out there and try to have fun and do my job."

Zambrano has won his last two starts against the Mets, and he is 6-3 with a 3.64 ERA in his career against New York, which will be trotting Jonathon Niese out to the mound.

On April 26, Niese pitched seven strong innings against Miami, giving up two runs on four hits and striking out six while walking none and earning a no-decision. For his career, Niese is 1-4 with a 5.13 ERA against the Marlins.

Marlins: Bonifacio can't be caught

• Emilio Bonifacio is off to a blazing start on the basepaths this season, swiping 17 bags in as many attempts to lead the Majors and set a Marlins record for most consecutive stolen bases to begin the season. The speedy center fielder has two stolen bases against the Mets this weekend.

"It's like a hitter, you try to get a hit every time," Bonifacio said. "When I get on base, I try to get a stolen base."

• Logan Morrison boasts the best career average against Niese of any player on the Marlins' roster. Morrison is 3-for-7 with a double and two RBIs against Niese. He has also drawn two walks. Gaby Sanchez (.250, 4-for-16) has the next-highest average against the Mets lefty.

Mets: Patience pays for Torres

• Center fielder Andres Torres has reached base safely in all 12 games he has played this season, including a 1-for-3 effort Saturday with two walks and two RBIs. He has already drawn four walks this series. On the year, he is hitting .310 (13-for-42) and has a .442 on-base percentage, which has garnered praise from manager Terry Collins. Collins referred to Torres as a "free swinger" before the outfielder bought in to being more patient at the plate this season.

"We believe in it. We stress it," Collins said. "A lot of times in Spring Training we tell them it's not the results each day. Over the long term, it will be. You'll end up seeing more results. You'll see more pitches, you get a better chance of getting a ball that you can handle instead of hitting the first pitch that might be perhaps a strike, but maybe not in the area that you want it to be in. But they have to want to do it."

• Following a 4-for-6 performance Saturday, third baseman David Wright is now 10-for-21 against the Marlins this year, and he improved his NL-best road batting average to .478.

• Lefty reliever Tim Byrdak has appeared in each of New York's last six games and has stranded at least one runner in each appearance (seven total), including five in scoring position. Teams have not scored against Byrdak in 17 of his 20 outings.

Worth noting
Entering Sunday's series finale, the Marlins are now 75-76 all-time against the Mets at home. Comments