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NYM@SF: Niese stifles Giants over seven for win No. 8

When the Mets open a three-game series Tuesday at Citi Field against the Marlins, they'll see an acclaimed member of their recent past and a young player who figures to play a big part in their future.

Jose Reyes, the Mets' former All-star shortstop, comes in riding high with the Marlins, bringing a 24-game hitting streak in the role as one of the leaders of his new team.

Opposing Reyes and the Marlins will be 25-year-old left-hander Jonathan Niese, who is 8-5 with a 3.72 ERA in 21 starts this season.

The 29-year-old Reyes, especially with the recent trade of Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers, has been thrust into a leadership role with his young Marlins teammates -- whether he wants it or not.

"I don't know about being a leader or stuff like that," said Reyes, who in addition to extending his hitting streak in Sunday's 4-1 loss to the Nationals, is hitting .288 in his first season with the Marlins. "I just try to play the game the right way, show people what I can do on the field."

It's a new position for Reyes, who said there were plenty of others to assume the leadership duties during his nine seasons with the Mets.

"In New York, you had a lot of veteran guys when I was there," Reyes said Sunday. "You had Carlos Beltran. Carlos Delgado played on my team. You had a lot of people.

"David Wright, he's the face of the franchise in New York. Hopefully he can stay there for the rest of his career."

After a slow start to his Miami tenure, Reyes has picked it up of late.

The 24-game hitting streak is the longest in the Majors this year, topping 23 by Robinson Cano. He is one shy of tying Kevin Millar's string of 25 straight in 2002, which is third all-time in Marlins history.

Earlier this season, the Mets signed Niese to a five-year, $25.5 million contract extension, and he will start Tuesday's game fresh off a sterling effort in which he bested the Giants and Matt Cain, working seven innings and allowing three hits and one run while striking out five in a 2-1 victory.

That came after a rough outing in which he gave a career-high eight runs against the D-backs.

"He knows he's got very good stuff, and when he has a bad outing, he takes it as hard as anybody," Collins said. "He was bound and determined to show that was on the side of aberration."

"That's the beauty of this game, is that when you have outings like that, the next five days you start all over again," Niese said. "You start with a clean slate."

Niese dealt with injuries the previous two seasons, most recently undergoing a rhinoplasty reconstruction of his nose over the winter in part because he believed it would improve his breathing, allowing him to stay in better cardiovascular shape, and the Mets were encouraged enough to sign him to the contract extension.

They are counting on having a fitter, more durable pitcher throughout the months of August and September.

"We've got to keep him on the field," Collins said. "You're looking at pretty much the month of September he hasn't pitched. And we need to make sure we keep this guy on the field throughout the season."

Marlins: LeBlanc gets the start
• Left-hander Wade LeBlanc will make his second start of the season Tuesday.

LeBlanc, who will be pitching on his 28th birthday, gave the Marlins a good effort in his first start Wednesday against the Braves, working 4 1/3 innings and yielding five hits and a run while throwing 71 pitches.

The Marlins had set a pitch limit of 75, and LeBlanc could not talk manager Ozzie Guillen into the additional four pitches.

Guillen followed a plan he had discussed with pitching coach Randy St. Claire.

"If the kid was running for the Cy Young, yes," Guillen said about leaving LeBlanc in. "He's not. Obviously he wanted the win, but in the meanwhile, we've got to take care of some business."

• Tuesday will feature the return of Giancarlo Stanton to the Marlins' lineup. The All-Star right fielder underwent right knee surgery on July 8, and he'd been playing rehab-assignment games at Class A Jupiter.

Mets: Murphy racks up four-hit games
• Second baseman Daniel Murphy has five four-hit games this season, the latest on Saturday night against the Nationals, tying him with Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen for most in the Majors.

Worth noting
• The Marlins are 2-4 vs. the Mets this season, 0-3 in New York. They lost all three game at Citi Field from April 24-26, and have dropped five straight in New York.

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