David Wright's back knee nearly touched the dirt as he whipped his bat through the strike zone, his arms fully extended, his eyes tracking the flight of the ball. It took off like a shot and kept rising through the night, over the leftfield fence, over the party deck, over the fans wearing the blue giveaway T-shirts.

"That's about all I got," Wright said Friday night after the Mets' 7-1 drubbing of the Marlins.

The ball came to rest in the upper deck, a fitting flourish on a night when everything went just right for the Mets. In every phase, they resembled the kind of team they aspire to be.

Lucas Duda added a towering homer of his own to help the Mets conquer nemesis Henderson Alvarez. Zack Wheeler (5-8) continued his dominance of the Marlins. And the Mets executed a flawless relay from the outfield to stifle a rally and cut down a runner at the plate.

It wasn't that long ago that the Mets were teetering on the brink of another lost season in Flushing. They returned from their road trip further from first place than at any other point this season. With a 10-game homestand just before the All-Star break -- and seven of the games against division rivals -- the Mets desperately needed to seize the chance to save themselves.

And they've done just that. The Mets improved to 6-2 on the homestand. A win Saturday would ensure three consecutive series victories.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"We're starting to play better at home," manager Terry Collins said.

Alvarez entered the start with a streak of 19 1/3 scoreless innings against the Mets but was chased after allowing six runs and eight hits in five innings. Wheeler gave up one run and five hits in 6 2/3 innings, improving to 2-0 with a 1.11 ERA in five career starts against the Marlins.

He received plenty of support from an offense that suddenly has made Citi Field look small.

"These guys are swinging the bats like crazy right now," Wheeler said. "That makes it easier to pitch."

Wright equaled a career high with four hits, including his monstrous two-run shot in the fifth inning that gave the Mets a five-run cushion. He is hitting .417 with two homers since missing more than a week with a shoulder injury.

"He's a guy who can carry us, and he has," Duda said. "He's done it a lot."

Lately, Wright has had plenty of help, including from Duda. In the third inning, Duda launched his team-leading 14th homer, a towering shot that landed in the upper deck in rightfield. Fellow slugger Giancarlo Stanton hardly bothered to move his feet.

The Mets have clubbed 25 homers in their last 23 games.

Even when the Mets weren't scoring runs, they were preventing them. The best example came in the fourth. When Donovan Solano tried to score on Casey McGehee's double, leftfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis fired a perfect throw to shortstop Ruben Tejada, whose relay beat Solano to the plate.

Said Collins: "Those are the things you've got to do if you're going to win games."