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CHC@MIA: Buehrle pitches eight dominant innings

With Jose Reyes' initial return to Flushing now in the books, the Mets and Marlins will simply get back to the business of the National League East chase. And when it comes to the divisional race, pitching has often been the measuring stick of success. One night after a pair of aces dueled into the seventh inning, the job of keeping the momentum going falls to Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and Marlins left-hander Mark Buehrle.

Buehrle has been waiting for his next turn through the rotation. Recent off-days have allowed Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen to give his starters extra days between starts. With six days between outings, Buehrle is just looking to get back on the mound.

"I can't say during the course of the year that you feel better. I know my second-half numbers haven't been as good," said Buehrle, who picked up his first win with Miami by tossing eight innings of one-run ball on April 18 against the Cubs. "I can't really say having that extra day or rainout helps. I guess over the course of the year, it can only help you. But I can't sit there and say I've benefited by it."

Wednesday will be Buehrle's first career start against the Mets. Despite more than a decade in the big leagues and with the advantage of Interleague Play having faced 27 other teams, this will be his first look at New York's Senior Circuit club.

"It's weird, 11 1/2 years in the big leagues, and I've finally made it to this stadium," Buehrle said. "I've made it to every stadium except [here]. My wife is the same way. She wants to see every city and every ballpark. It's the last one for both of us."

Dickey returns to the mound after he was roughed up in his last outing, when he was tagged for eight earned runs over 4 1/3 innings by the Braves. The performance snapped Dickey's streak of 14 consecutive quality starts dating back to July 2011.

Nevertheless, Dickey has already been tested within the division during the young season. His first two starts of the year -- against the Braves and Phillies -- yielded better results, when he combined to allowed just three earned runs over 13 innings with 10 strikeouts.

Wednesday will be the 10th time Dickey faces the Marlins. He carries a 5-2 record, 3.91 ERA and 37 strikeouts over 46 innings lifetime against Miami.

Marlins: Fish feeling comfortable vs. the Mets:
Three Marlins players are among the top 10 active players with the highest batting averages against the Mets. Gaby Sanchez possesses the second-highest mark, hitting New York pitching at a .357 (50-for-140) clip. He is followed by Omar Infante (fifth), who is hitting .338 (82-for-242), and Emilio Bonifacio (eighth) and his .328 (47-for-143) average.

Mets: Pelfrey could face season-ending elbow injury
Pitching depth was a critical element for the Mets coming out of Spring Training. That depth will now be tested as right-hander Mike Pelfrey likely faces a trip to Alabama to see Dr. James Andrews. After feeling soreness in his pitching elbow during his start on Saturday, the right-hander underwent an MRI exam on Tuesday, which showed swelling around the joint.

Despite up-and-down numbers throughout much of his career, Pelfrey has been viewed as the workhorse in the Mets' rotation. The right-hander averaged 195 2/3 innings per season from 2008-11.

"I take more pride than anything in taking the ball every fifth day," said Pelfrey, who had never previously been on the DL in his seven-year career. "Hopefully I get back as soon as possible."

Worth noting
• Bonifacio set a Marlins record by stealing nine bases through the club's first 15 games. Bonifacio's 82 steals with the Marlins ranks eighth in team history.

• With his third-inning double on Tuesday, Mets catcher Josh Thole has now reached base safely in all 15 games he has played this season -- the longest streak to open a season by a catcher in franchise history. Comments