The Mets hope Wilmer Flores emerges from his forced three-day hiatus with a clear mind. At least, that was the intent behind not starting the struggling shortstop for a second straight game in Sunday's 1-0 loss to the Nationals.

Manager Terry Collins said the consecutive benchings combined with Monday's scheduled team off day should give Flores enough time to mentally reset after a bumpy few days in the field and at the plate.

"Nobody wants time off," Flores said. "But the manager's giving me the time so I'll just take it and relax."

Flores has faced intense scrutiny all season long, with the Mets committing to him at shortstop in hopes that his offense would mask his substandard range on defense. The experiment has stalled.

In Friday night's game, Flores committed his seventh error of the season and went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts to drop his average to .240.

"It could help," Flores said of what amounts to a three-day break. "Hopefully, it helps the next game."

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Catching on

Rookie catcher Kevin Plawecki upped his hitting streak to four games. He's hitting .313 (5-for-16) during the stretch, which has followed a mini- slump.

"Early on, I was pulling off the ball quite a bit," Plawecki said. "So it's just important for me to stay through it. I was just taking myself out of the game with certain pitches. That slider was killing me."

Plawecki said he focused on slight changes with hitting coach Kevin Long and assistant coach Pat Roessler. In his last four games, Plawecki's average has jumped from .182 to .243.

"It's a little bit of a confidence-builder as well, just kind of getting things going a little bit, which has definitely helped," Plawecki said. "So hopefully I can continue to feel good in the box and get good results."

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Extra bases

Juan Lagares went 2-for-3 and has a hit in his first 14 home games of the season. He extended his own franchise record . . . Dillon Gee passed Dwight Gooden in the record books and established a franchise record by pitching at least five innings for the 51st consecutive start.