NEW YORK -- The Mets took another stumble in their quest to clinch the National League East title, dropping a 6-0 game Wednesday night to the Marlins at Citi Field. For the second straight day, the Mets' magic number held at 10 as their still sizeable division lead shrank.
Coupled with the Nationals' 12-2 victory over the Phillies, the Mets' division lead over the Nationals is down to 7 1/2 games.
"It's a 360-degree change in mentality, preparation, and willing to play the game hard, no matter what," Prado said after Miami won its fifth straight series. "This is fun to be part of. I know it's a little late, but it's never late in baseball to change things, and get better."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Solo shots add up: Without Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins don't hit many home runs, ranking 14th out of 15 NL teams with 107. But Wednesday they connected on three solo shots, two off Colon. Prado's blast with two outs in the fourth opened the scoring, and Realmuto added a drive to left in the fifth. Statcast™ projected Prado's homer to land 426 feet from home plate, with an exit velocity of 106 mph. In the eighth, Bour's blast projected to land 432 feet from home plate, with an exit velocity of 108 mph.
"That was huge for us," Realmuto said. "I feel like [Colon] he goes seven, eight, nine innings shutting us out every time. He's a great pitcher. He's had a great year. But finally, we were able to get some balls up in the zone, which he doesn't do too often over the plate. We put good swings on him. It worked out for us really well."
Colon stumbles: Suddenly with a chance to make the playoff rotation, Colon faced the minimum through 11 batters before allowing Prado's homer. The Marlins began hitting him hard at that point and Colon never recovered, departing with one out in the sixth.
"I was feeling good," Colon said through an interpreter. "I thought I was executing well. But they attacked early and they made some good swings and they put it in play."
Conley fans Cespedes: Conley had by far his best outing. The rookie worked a career-high seven innings. He didn't get in much trouble, scattering three hits, but two to Wright. In the sixth, Wright singled with two outs, and Conley faced a tough test in Yoenis Cespedes. The count ran full, and Conley got Cespedes swinging at an 86-mph slider, preserving a three-run lead, and earning him a chance to pitch the seventh.
"I think this is just affirmation for me that the work you do throughout the week is paying off," Conley said. "For me, to be a lefty and them to stack the lineup with all righties for me, it's good to show I can use the third pitch on them, and the slider was good today." More >
Not this time: Suddenly the Mets' hottest hitter, Wright had a chance to bring the Mets back into the game when he batted with two men on base in the eighth, trailing by four. Instead, he grounded to shortstop to fizzle the Mets' best rally of the night.
"The teams we're playing, they're trying to make playoff spots. All we can do is go out there and make it hard for them. That's basically what we're trying to do, play good baseball. Martin [Prado] talked to the whole team about it a few weeks ago, that we're tired of people coming in, playing the Marlins and saying, 'Hey, we're going to win three out of four here, two out of three. Right now, we need to make it as hard as we can for those guys and carry some momentum into next year." -- Realmuto, on the Marlins playing spoiler role
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With his ground-rule double in the sixth, Dee Gordon extended his hitting streak against the Mets to 17 games, the longest active streak in the Majors vs. New York. It's also Gordon's longest streak against an opponent. Previously, he had a 13-game streak against the Braves (Aug. 13, 2014-Aug. 7, 2015).
The Mets' 49 consecutive games without a shutout was tied for the longest active streak in the Majors. Before that, the Mets were blanked 11 times in 96 games.
WHAT'S NEXT Marlins: The second leg of the road trip begins Thursday at 7:05 p.m. ET with the first of four against Washington at Nationals Park. Jarred Cosart (1-4, 4.58) takes the mound in the opener. In his two starts since being called up in September, Cosart has allowed one run in 9 2/3 innings. The Nationals counter with Tanner Roark (4-5, 4.38).
Mets: Following an off-day Thursday, the Mets will host the most meaningful Subway Series in recent history Friday at Citi Field. Rookie Steven Matz will take the mound for the 7:10 p.m. ET opener opposite Masahiro Tanaka.