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NEW YORK (AP) — The chance to make the playoffs is all but gone for the New York Mets. Reaching .500 has pretty much slipped away, too.
The remaining goals are to overtake Miami and perhaps Atlanta in the NL East, and those will be hard to achieve following a 4-3 loss to the Marlins on Wednesday night.
"It would be huge for us. It would be a tremendous accomplishment — especially where we're sitting right now with guys going down right and left around here," manager Terry Collins said.
Wearing their bright orange alternate jerseys, the Marlins (74-77) built a 3-0 lead in the first two innings against Dillon Gee (7-8) and held on to open a two-game lead over the Mets for third place. New York (73-80) must go 8-1 to avoid a sixth straight losing season, one shy of the franchise record.
Gee gave up four runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings. He entered with a scoreless streak of 16 1-3 innings against the Marlins but threw a run-scoring wild pitch in the first and allowed Garrett Jones' run-scoring hit on a squib that went 30 feet toward third base. Donovan Solano's RBI single made it 3-0 in the second.
After a strong start, Gee is 3-7 with a 4.95 ERA since the All-Star break.
"A lot of things haven't gone the way you want them to, but for the most part, I would say these last four or five outings I haven't felt that bad," Gee said.
Gee stroked a single into center in the fifth, prompting teammates to wave towels and stand and applaud in the dugout. He had been 0 for 35 this year and was hitless in 41 at-bats since singling off Miami's Tom Koehler on Sept. 15 last year,
"It's nice to finally get that hit, but it would have been nicer if it resulted in a win," Gee said.
Henderson Alvarez (11-6) ended a three-start winless streak, allowing two runs and eight hits in six innings. Steve Cishek pitched his second perfect ninth of the series for his 37th save in 41 chances.
Lucas Duda hit a two-run single in the fifth, just the sixth hit for the Mets in 63 at-bats this year with the bases loaded and two outs. Wilmer Flores followed with a fly that Marcell Ozuna caught with a leap against the wall in left-center.
Christian Yelich restored a two-run lead with an RBI double off Josh Edgin in the seventh, and Curtis Granderson hit a run-scoring grounder against Chris Hatcher in the eighth.
Granderson bounced into a 4-6-3 double play in the fourth, the first time he had grounded into a double play in 616 plate appearances this season. Granderson had been the only regular starter in the major leagues without a GIDP and had not bounced into one since his first plate appearance of 2013 with the New York Yankees on May 14.
His streak of 859 plate appearances without one was the longest since Tony Womack went 981 in a row from May 27, 1997, to Aug. 5, 1998, according to STATS.
At this point, the Mets don't have much to play for going into a three-game series at the Braves (76-76) starting Friday.
"We're going to go into Atlanta and grind it out and try to finish as strong as we can," Collins said.
IN THE SEATS
The Mets could stop their streak of years with decreasing home attendance at five if they average more than 28,120 for their season-ending, three-game series against Houston from Sept. 26-28. New York has drawn 2,051,296 for 77 dates, an average of 26,641. The Mets drew 2,135,657 for 80 dates last year, an average of 26,696.
Mets rookie 2B Dilson Herrera, hitting .189 and in an 0-for-12 slide, was out of the starting lineup for the second straight night. "He might be getting run down just a hair. His swing has gotten a little long," Collins said.
Wally Backman, who completed his second season as manager of the Mets' Triple-A team in Las Vegas, is to join the Mets starting Friday in Atlanta. "I'm glad he's coming. He brings a lot to the table," Collins said.
Mets CF Juan Lagares will be sidelined for a few days after spraining his right elbow Wednesday.
RHP Zack Wheeler (10-10) starts Friday for the Mets against Atlanta RHP Julio Teheran (13-12).
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