MIAMI -- Austin Kearns doesn't always know when his next at-bat will come, so the Marlins' reserve outfielder always stays ready. That was especially the case Friday night.
Kearns got the start in left field in the series opener against the Mets when he filled in for Logan Morrison, who was scratched from the lineup before batting practice due to soreness in his right knee. Manager Ozzie Guillen wasn't going to take any chances with Morrison's surgically repaired knee, so he turned to Kearns, who made his seventh start of the season.
"It's always good to get in there and get multiple at-bats," Kearns said. "No matter if you're pinch-hitting or in the lineup, you just try to have a quality at-bat."
Kearns rewarded Guillen's decision to put him in the lineup right away. Batting cleanup, Kearns launched a two-run home run to left field in the first inning off Mets lefty Johan Santana, capping a three-run frame for the Marlins in their 6-5 series-opening win.
It was the third homer of the season for Kearns, who finished the game 1-for-3 with the two RBIs.
Despite the big at-bat in the opening frame Friday, Kearns -- who has appeared in 15 of the Marlins' 32 games this season -- said it can be difficult not being in the lineup regularly, but added the key is to always be prepared to be called upon.
"You just got to do whatever gets you ready," Kearns said. "You just try to stay as prepared as you can and do whatever it is that you do. ... You just stay ready. Some guys are really good at it; [Greg] Dobbs is unbelievable at it. So you just try to be ready."