The Mets weren't sure what to expect from Jenrry Mejia. The pitcher who once represented the future of the organization had battled injuries for the past three seasons and hadn't pitched on a Major League mound since last September.
The Mets simply needed a solid outing in the first game of Friday's doubleheader in Washington, but Mejia gave them even more than that.
Mejia pitched seven shutout innings against the Nationals, allowing seven hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. His performance was so good that he earned a spot as a starter in the Mets' new six-man rotation.
"Whatever they do, I've got to be fine," Mejia said after that start. "Keep my head up, never down, keep working hard and doing my job."
On Wednesday, he'll have the chance to do that when he pitches against the Marlins in the third game of a four-game set. The Mets have won the first two games of the series.
Mejia was a highly touted prospect in 2010, but arm trouble, including Tommy John surgery, hindered him for the next three years. Then he looked poised to return to the big leagues this season, but elbow inflammation sent him back to the disabled list toward the end of Spring Training.
But after a long road back that culminated with his start in Washington, Mejia could be a significant piece of the Mets' pitching landscape for a long time to come if he continues to pitch well.
While Mejia will be looking to continue his momentum, Henderson Alvarez will be trying to do the same as he takes the mound for the Marlins.
Alvarez hasn't allowed a run in his last two starts. His last outing came on Friday against Pittsburgh, and Alvarez allowed only two hits with one walk and five strikeouts over six innings, needing only 72 pitches.
And Alvarez threw so hard, even Miami manager Mike Redmond was surprised.
"I think his last outing was the most impressive," Redmond said. "Being able to run it up there 97, 98 mph -- I didn't know he had that. But I think, knowing himself, he's probably better equipped to pitch at 93, 94. But any time you got 98 and you can run it up there, that's nice to have in the tank."
Alvarez could've pitched even deeper into the game, but Redmond decided to pinch-hit for him in the sixth inning with Placido Polanco. The Marlins had the bases loaded with one out in a scoreless game.
Mets: Byrd likely not going anywhere
• As trade rumors continue to swirl, Mets outfielder Marlon Byrd has been the subject of speculation. He's put together a superb season that includes a team-leading 17 home runs, and has stabilized the middle of the Mets' lineup after Ike Davis' offensive struggles and Lucas Duda's stint on the DL.
Still, New York is looking to remain competitive in the second half of the season. It'll have a better chance of doing so if it holds on to Byrd.
"We're trying to win games here," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We're not just throwing the season away."
• Juan Lagares continued to stay hot at the plate with three hits and two RBIs in the Mets' 4-2 win over the Marlins on Tuesday night. He's hitting .369 with 14 RBIs in 21 games this month.
Marlins: Yelich goes hitless in leadoff spot debut
Redmond shuffled his lineup for Tuesday night's game, moving Christian Yelich up to the leadoff spot and Adeiny Hechavarria down to the No. 2 spot.
In his first game leading off for the Marlins, Yelich went 0-for-4.
Yelich was a leadoff hitter in the Minor Leagues, but was hitting second since being called up last week.
Redmond didn't rule out the possibility of moving the lineup around again.
After playing for 10 innings on Tuesday night, the Mets and Marlins have now played four extra-inning games this season. That includes a 20-inning and a 15-inning game. Miami has won three of those four games.
Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.