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NYM@MIA: Granderson hits a monster home run

MIAMI -- Curtis Granderson is finally heating up at the plate, helping the Mets shrug off at least some of the offensive doldrums that plagued them throughout April.

If it's a trend for Granderson, the Mets will take it -- particularly with eight of their next 12 games within the division, including Tuesday's contest at Marlins Park. Right-hander Bartolo Colon will start for the Mets opposite Henderson Alvarez, who must take extra heed of New York's cleanup hitter.

Posting a .136/.252/.216 slash mark with one home run in March and April, Granderson has since gone 8-for-20 with two long balls. He will carry a six-game hitting streak into Tuesday's game, though Granderson is just 3-for-15 lifetime against Alvarez with four strikeouts.

Alvarez's job will be to keep Granderson inside Miami's spacious ballpark -- typically a source of pride for him against anyone. But in the right-hander's last start, the Braves took him deep twice in six innings, matching his home run total for all of 2013.

The Marlins won that game and Alvarez didn't factor into the decision. For the season, he has given up three home runs in 35 2/3 innings, after allowing two in 102 2/3 innings last year.

A sinkerball pitcher with a power changeup, Alvarez has focused on keeping the ball down in the zone since he was acquired from the Blue Jays after a 2012 season that saw him serve up 29 homers.

"I noticed when I kept the ball up, it would be a home run," Alvarez said. "It's something since my days in Toronto that I concentrated on."

Mets: Colon trying to establish consistency
Colon's first season in New York has been an enigma. Four times, he has given the Mets a quality start, pitching to a 2.33 ERA with 23 strikeouts and one walk in those games. Twice, he has struggled immensely, giving up a combined 16 runs.

"I didn't have any command from the first inning on," Colons said of his last outing, a seven-run blowup in Denver. "I had no control of where the ball was going."

Perhaps a date in Miami will help. Though Colon has never pitched at Marlins Park and appeared just once at Dolphin Stadium, the five Marlins players with a history against him have combined to hit .204 with one home run in 49 at-bats.

Marlins: McGehee focused on production, not homers
At some point, the home runs will come. For now, Miami third baseman Casey McGehee is focused on production. McGehee, who has been batting cleanup behind Giancarlo Stanton, has driven in 21 runs this year -- including Monday's walk-off single against the Mets. But he has yet to homer.

His teammates have had some fun with him, like occasionally placing weights in front of his locker. But it is overall production that the 31-year-old third baseman seeks.

Marlins manager Mike Redmond agrees.

"We don't need to put the ball in the seats," Redmond said. "We need to hit balls in the gaps."

Worth noting
• Miami center fielder Marcell Ozuna was not in the starting lineup Monday for the first time all season. It was a scheduled day to give the 23-year-old a breather. Miami is in the middle of a stretch of playing 20 straight days. Outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is expected to get a day off on Wednesday.

• Jon Niese went 0-for-3 at the plate on Monday, extending Mets pitchers' Major League record to 0-for-54 to start the season. The previous record to start a season was 0-for-45 by the 1914 St. Louis Browns.

• The Marlins have recorded back-to-back walk-off victories for the 11th time in franchise history and the second time in two years. Miami walked off twice in a row against the Mets last April.

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