MIAMI -- For months, the Mets ranked among baseball's worst offensive teams in nearly every major statistical category -- runs scored, on-base percentage, slugging, you name it. Yet over the past two weeks, they've transformed into one of the best, putting distance between themselves and a noisy rival from Washington in the process.
The Mets continued their seemingly unstoppable ways on Wednesday night, hanging on to win their sixth straight game, 8-6, and complete a series sweep of the Marlins. Juan Uribe's three-run homer in the fifth capped a seven-run barrage against David Phelps, giving Matt Harvey more than enough cushion to cruise through seven shutout innings of two-hit ball.
"For us to come down and do what we did, and continue what we're doing, is pretty important and pretty special," Harvey said. "We're not going to stop here. We've got more games to go and we want to put the pedal down."
The Mets' offensive renaissance dates back to July 25, when they scored 15 runs on the day that trade acquisitions Uribe and Kelly Johnson arrived. Since that night, they've averaged more than six runs per game, nearly doubling their 3.4-run average over their first 97 contests.
The Marlins were trending in the opposite direction before coming alive in the ninth inning, scoring six times off new Mets left-hander Eric O'Flaherty -- whose day began in Seattle at 4 a.m. -- and righty Hansel Robles. That forced the Mets to use closer Jeurys Familia, who recorded a single out in the ninth for his 29th save.
"It showed a lot of heart and character by this ballclub," Marlins manager Dan Jennings said. "It would have been easy to cash it in right there and just finish the game and get it over. But I'm proud of the way these guys showed heart and didn't quit."
Minutes later, as the Mets prepared for a short flight north to Tampa to face the Rays in St. Petersburg, the Nationals lost to the D-backs to hand New York a two-game National League East lead -- its largest since May 12. The Mets insist they paid no heed this week to Nats players Bryce Harper or Jayson Werth, who were dismissive of the Mets' newfound division lead.
"I think we're just keeping our head down and staying focused here in our clubhouse," Harvey said. "If we go out and put up runs and keep pitching the way we are, we're going to be just fine."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Two big rallies: Unlike Tuesday, the Mets wasted little time taking a lead in Wednesday's game. Yoenis Cespedes drove in their first run with an RBI single in the third inning, followed by a two-run double from Lucas Duda and a Michael Conforto sacrifice fly. Two innings later, Uribe's three-run blast cleared the Clevelander club in left field, knocking Phelps from the game.
The Dark (and efficient) Knight: Given plenty of margin for error, Harvey needed precisely none of it. The Mets starter needed just 88 pitches to complete seven innings, allowing two hits and zero walks. With a seven-run lead, manager Terry Collins removed Harvey for a pinch-hitter in the top of the eighth, resulting in his lowest pitch count since May. More >
Narveson's return: In his first Major League appearance since 2013, Chris Narveson logged 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief, striking out four and allowing two hits. His contract was selected from Triple-A New Orleans before the game. Last season, the 33-year-old lefty pitched in Japan, returning from injuries that limited him to three combined outings from 2012-13 with the Brewers. More >
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Mets caught a break in the bottom of the first inning, when first baseman Lucas Duda splayed out to snare Ruben Tejada's throw from shortstop on a Christian Yelich grounder. First-base umpire John Tumpane initially ruled Yelich out, but replays showed that Duda's toe may have slipped off the bag. Following a one-minute, 49-second review, the original call stood.
Five innings later, Daniel Murphy was slow to fire to first on what appeared to be a routine Gordon grounder. Tumpane called Gordon safe, but umpires overturned the ruling after one minute and five seconds. And in the eighth, a similar review had the call stand on Adeiny Hechavarria's infield single.
WHAT'S NEXT Mets: Following an off-day Thursday, the Mets will open a three-game set Friday against the Rays in St. Petersburg. The club hopes to have outfielder Michael Cuddyer back for Friday's game, which Jacob deGrom will start opposite fellow right-hander Jake Odorizzi at 7:10 p.m. ET.
Marlins: The Marlins travel to Atlanta to begin a four-game series beginning on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Jose Urena (1-5, 4.37 ERA) gets the call for his second start since being recalled from Triple-A New Orleans.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. Steve Wilaj is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.