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Mets down Fish, keep pace in NL East

Mets keep pace in NL East

MIAMI -- Mired in their longest and most precarious slump of the season, the Mets can use all the help they can get.

The Marlins were more than willing to lend a hand on Friday.

Florida's franchise-record six errors led to eight unearned runs, and New York rolled to a 9-6 win at Dolphin Stadium.

"We've been giving away some stuff, so we'll take advantage of some help every once in a while," manager Willie Randolph said.

The Mets remain 1 1/2 games ahead of the Phillies, who notched a 6-3 win over the Nationals.

About the only thing that slowed New York was a sixth-inning rain delay of two hours and 21 minutes that pushed the total length of the game to almost six hours. But as infrequent as victories have been for the Mets lately, they didn't mind waiting a little while for this one.

"We're not afraid to add a little drama," said Carlos Delgado, who homered in his return to the lineup. "Not our choice, but we'll take it."

The Marlins jumped on Pedro Martinez for three runs in the first two innings, but they quickly began giving it all back.

After a two-out miscue in the third by first baseman Mike Jacobs kept the inning alive and put runners at first and third, a passed ball by Miguel Olivo allowed Luis Castillo to score and David Wright to move up to second. Carlos Beltran then hit a soft ground ball to third that went through Miguel Cabrera's legs like a croquet wicket, scoring Wright, and Moises Alou followed with a chopper past Olsen's outstretched glove into center field to plate Beltran and tie the game.

That single extended Alou's hit streak to 25 games, the longest single-season streak in franchise history. Alou had been tied with Hubie Brooks and Mike Piazza, who hit in 24 consecutive games in 1984 and 1999, respectively. The only Met with a longer cumulative hit streak is Wright, who hit in 26 games from Sept. 17, 2006, to April 20, 2007.

The Mets would add three runs in the fourth -- all with two outs -- after Lastings Milledge reached on another booted grounder by Cabrera.

"When you give an offense like this four or five outs an inning, we're bound to make you pay," Wright said.

That would prove to be enough cushion for Martinez, who never found a groove but avoided catastrophe, as when he wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam with one out in the fourth by striking out Cody Ross and Olivo looking.

"That was the turning point," Martinez said.

Martinez, who threw 54 strikes among his 90 pitches, made it through the fifth before the rain ended his night. He allowed eight hits and two walks while striking out seven to pick up his third consecutive victory.

"He looked sharp again," Randolph said. "He did a nice job of making his pitches when he had to."

Delgado, back in the lineup after missing 14 games with a strained right hip flexor, made it 9-4 in the seventh with a majestic solo shot to center off Harvey Garcia.

"The most important thing was just to come back and be able to play and do the things I need to do without pain," Delgado said. "The home run is icing on top of the cake."

"It's nice just to see him back in there," Randolph said.

Florida pulled within three on Hanley Ramirez's two-run double in the eighth, which normally would have meant a Billy Wagner sighting the following inning. But the closer was still unavailable because of back spasms, so Scott Schoeneweis, owner of no saves this season, was called in instead. He retired the side in order in the ninth to close out the game and make the most of the Marlins' miscues.

"Good teams need to do that," Delgado said. "They create breaks, they take advantage of opportunities. [Florida] kicked the ball around a couple of times, and we took advantage of that."

Tom Keller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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