MIAMI (AP) -- The New York Mets won't make the playoffs. They may not make .500. And if a strike ends the season Friday, they can't even catch the fourth-place Florida Marlins in the NL East.
But the Mets are trying to stage a late-season charge.Mo Vaughn hit a three-run homer and John Thomson earned his first victory with the Mets, pitching into the ninth inning to help them beat Florida 10-5 Tuesday night.New York has won three in a row since losing 12 straight, perking up the team's mood.``You hear music in the clubhouse afterward, and everyone is smiling,'' manager Bobby Valentine said. ``The difference is night and day.''With a strike possibly looming, the two teams began perhaps their final series in a disappointing season. South Florida might not miss baseball much -- the game drew just 6,448 fans, by far the smallest crowd to see the Mets at Pro Player Stadium.The Marlins' loss cut their lead over the Mets to 1½ games as they joust to avoid last place in the NL East.``We know we've played ourselves out of the playoff race,'' Vaughn said. ``But you want to win as much as you can.''Thomson (8-11) had been 0-3 with the Mets since being acquired
July 31 from Colorado. He gave up 10 hits and all five runs,
including Preston Wilson's homer in the ninth.The right-hander singled twice and scored the Mets' final run
from first on Roberto Alomar's ninth-inning double. But the
exertion spoiled his bid for his first complete game this season.``My legs were done after I scored from first,'' Thomson said. ``I wanted to finish, but I felt my legs go.''The right-hander took a 10-1 lead and a six-hitter into the bottom of the ninth but could retire only one more batter.``It's too bad he gave up those runs in the ninth,'' Valentine said. ``He threw well. He's a good-looking pitcher.''Vaughn, who had been in a 4-for-31 slump, hit his 20th homer in the fifth after Raul Gonzalez walked and Edgardo Alfonzo singled. Alomar's two-run single capped the five-run inning to make it 8-0.Alfonzo went 3-for-3 and scored twice. Alomar and Joe McEwing each drove in three runs. Mike Piazza went 0-for-2, extending his slump to 3-for-27, but he walked twice and scored twice.Michael Tejera (8-6) allowed eight hits and seven runs in 4 1/3
innings, ending his streak of pitching at least six innings in 10
consecutive starts. Tejera said Vaughn's homer came off a sidearm curve he started
to throw recently.``It worked against Shawn Green,'' he said. ``Maybe in clutch
situations I'll stick with my other stuff.''Kevin Millar doubled home Florida's first run in the sixth to
make it 9-1. But he also committed an error in left field and
misplayed a flyball by Alomar into an RBI double, overrunning the
ball and hitting the wall.The Mets scored twice in the first after Tejera retired the first two batters. He walked Piazza, hit Alfonzo and walked Vaughn before McEwing singled home two runs. New York made it 3-0 in the fourth when Roger Cedeno doubled and
scored on a single by Rey Ordonez.``It did look easy,'' Valentine said. ``That can happen when you get some guys on base, get those two-out hits and get a well-pitched game.''
Wilson's homer was his 20th this season, giving him at least 20 homers and 20 steals for the third year in a row. ... Marlins left-hander Vic Darensbourg gave up a run in the sixth without retiring any of the three batters he faced. He has allowed nine runs in one inning in his past two outings. ... The previous smallest crowd to see the Mets in Miami was 10,188 last Sept. 6. ... With his team trailing 9-1 in the seventh, Eric Owens was thrown out by Vance Wilson trying to steal second.