MIAMI — Crushing an underwhelming opponent counts for something, too.
In the Mets’ case, it would have been easy to lose focus and take a South Beach vacation after sweeping the Yankees in the intense Subway Series spotlight. Instead, they handled business over three days against a team they were supposed to beat.
On Sunday, the bats started early and kept going in a 9-3 victory over the Marlins at loanDepot park that allowed the Mets to match their longest winning streak of the season at six games.
An even bigger pushover waits in Washington, where the Mets will face the last-place Nationals over the next three days. Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom are scheduled to pitch for the Mets in the series, and the Nationals could very well unload Juan Soto and Josh Bell, among others, ahead of Tuesday’s 6 p.m. trade deadline.
It’s another classic trap series that can’t be overlooked by the Mets, who play the Braves five times in four days beginning Thursday at Citi Field. That series could have first-place implications in the NL East, where the Mets hold a three-game lead on Atlanta.
The Marlins never had a chance on this day. By the time the third inning was complete the Mets had already amassed 12 hits and raced to a 6-0 lead, knocking out starting pitcher Pablo Lopez in the process.
It was a nice change of pace for the Mets, who had only two runs entering the eighth inning on Saturday before adding two insurance runs. A night earlier they fell into a three-run hole in the first inning against stud right-hander Sandy Alcantara, but managed to rally for the win.
Sticking to their methodical approach, the Mets didn’t even need a home run in building their early lead. Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso doubled in succession in the first inning for a 1-0 lead. Daniel Vogelbach and Jeff McNeil delivered singles, the latter of which brought in the Mets’ second run. Mark Canha brought in another with an RBI single.
The Mets gave Lopez a break in the second — Alonso hit into a double play to kill a rally — but were back at it in the third. Tyler Naquin delivered an RBI triple for his first hit in a Mets uniform before Canha’s ensuing single extended the lead to 5-0. Brandon Nimmo delivered a two-out RBI single that knocked out Lopez and gave Taijuan Walker a six-run cushion.
Walker pitched 5 ²/₃ innings and allowed three earned runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and two walks. The right-hander had shut out the Marlins over seven innings in his previous start against them, on July 10.
The Mets finished with a season-high 19 hits. Lindor, McNeil and Canha led the charge with three apiece.