Mets rout Marlins to take over 1st in NL East

Mets rout Marlins to take over 1st in NL East

MIAMI -- The Mets may have settled into their South Florida hotel around 4:30 a.m. ET on Monday, but their bats were wide awake come game time. Michael Conforto blasted a three-run homer, his first career shot, and Yoenis Cespedes added three doubles and four RBIs in a 12-1 rout over Miami at Marlins Park.

After sweeping the Nationals at Citi Field, including a 5-2 win on Sunday night, the Mets stayed hot in the series opener, providing Bartolo Colon, who allowed one run over eight innings, with plenty of run support on a night New York moved into sole possession of first in the National League East for the first time since June 19. The Mets win was coupled with the Nationals' 6-4 loss to the D-backs to break the tie atop the division, after several clubhouse veterans addressed the clubhouse pregame to warn against a letdown.

Colon's stellar start

"They've earned it," Mets manager Terry Collins said of his club's first-place status. "They belong there, and hopefully we stay there for a while."

Conforto opened the scoring with his three-run blast in the second inning. New York pounded Miami right-hander Tom Koehler for seven runs, six earned, in 4 1/3 innings. The 12 runs allowed by the Marlins matched their season high previously done by the Braves on April 7.

Miami's Christian Yelich had three hits, including an RBI double in the eighth, scoring Ichiro Suzuki.

Yelich's RBI double

"Bright spot for us tonight was no doubt Yelly, 3-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI and a stolen base," Miami manager Dan Jennings said. "Not much to say about this game."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
A Cespedes for the rest of us: In any other ballpark, Cespedes might have finished with two home runs. In cavernous Marlins Park, he had to settle for a franchise record-tying three doubles. The second of them, in the fifth inning, hit the right-center-field wall on the fly to plate two runs. The third of them also drove home two, clanking off the top of the wall in left-center. More >

Cespedes' second two-run double

Mets have Koehler's number: Koehler has had a rough time all season with the Mets. In three starts, the Miami right-hander has been tagged for 19 runs (18 earned) on 19 hits in 11 innings. His ERA is 14.73 against New York, and 2.26 in his other 18 outings. A key moment for Koehler came in the fifth inning, with the score 3-0. He fell behind Cespedes, 3-1, and surrendered a two-run double high off the wall in right-center.

"Today was tough," Koehler said. "I didn't give the team a chance to win." More >

Koehler fans Colon

Welcome (back) to the big leagues: In his first game appearance since a one-day option to the Minors, Conforto bashed a three-run, second-inning homer off Koehler that Statcast™ projected to land 435 feet away. That smash snapped an 0-for-12 skid for Conforto, who had not hit safely since his 4-for-4 game on July 25. Conforto also walked, singled and scored three runs.

Conforto's three-run blast

Stranded runners: When the game was still within reach, the Marlins wasted chances. In each of the first three innings, Miami had at least one runner in scoring position, but Colon was able to execute the necessary pitches to get out of any potential jam. Colon was able to protect his three-run lead, which expanded to seven in the fifth.

Colon escapes trouble

QUOTABLE
"This is one you just forget quickly. Shower it off. Let it go. Come back tomorrow and let it play again." -- Jennings, after the lopsided loss

Jennings on loss to Mets

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Colon singled in the seventh inning to collect his sixth hit of the season, tying a career high. The 42-year-old pitcher, who joked in Spring Training that he hoped to have a three-hit campaign, also rapped out six hits for the Indians and Expos in 2002 -- his age-29 season.

"I need another one so I can break my own record," Colon said, laughing. More >

FAN STRUCK BY BAT
A fan sitting behind the Marlins' dugout was struck in the neck by a bat that flung out of the hands of Tomas Telis, who was hitting with two outs in the ninth inning. The fan initially didn't want medical attention, but he was checked by the staff at the ballpark and cleared before being sent home, according to the Marlins.

WHAT'S NEXT
Mets: Jon Niese will look to keep the Mets in first place when he takes the mound on Tuesday for a 7:10 p.m. ET game at Marlins Park. Niese was 2-1 with a 2.87 ERA in five July starts.

Marlins: Trading Dan Haren to the Cubs on July 31 created a rotation opening, and left-hander Brad Hand is getting a shot to face the first-place Mets on Tuesday. Hand (1-2, 5.12) has been used in several roles, starting, long relief and setup. The lefty is 1-1 (6.17) in three starts.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.