A six-game lead in the division with 13 games remaining is the type of advantage only residents of "Panic City" could groan about.

But amid any negativity lashed out by Mets fans in the hallways and stairwells of Citi Field after the team's 11-2 loss to the Yankees late Sunday night, there was the Mets clubhouse, an oasis of optimism.

"We're just looking ahead," David Wright said.

Curtis Granderson had turned the page on the Mets' recent skid -- they've lost four of their last five games -- before he had even finished putting his sneakers on in the clubhouse.

"It's easy," he said. "It's midnight. We're already into Monday, and on to the Braves."

Michael Cuddyer said he wasn't concerned with a lead that has shrunk by 3 1/2 games in a week.

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"Anybody that thought we were going to win every game and the Nationals were going to lose every game to end it," he said, "was kidding themselves. That's what baseball's about. But we can't do anything about the last four out of five. We've got to go out there and play Atlanta tomorrow and hopefully get back to winning."

Of the Mets' 13 remaining games, nine are against National League East rivals, a group they have fared exceptionally well against this year: Their .672 win percentage (45-22) against division opponents is the best in baseball.

"We've played well in our division," Wright said. "Hopefully that continues."

But here come the Nationals, who even just a week ago appeared dead in the water. After losing five straight in the beginning of September, including a three-game sweep to the Mets on Sept. 7-9, they fell 9 1/2 games back in the division.

Since then, however, they've won seven of eight, and are salivating at the thought of the three-game series with the Mets at Citi Field that awaits them Oct. 2-4 to conclude the regular season.

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Nevertheless, Granderson wouldn't look that far ahead Sunday night -- or Monday morning, as he preferred.

"We're just focused on the Braves," he said. "You've got them coming in for the next three days. We'll be worried about that series. That's going to be the biggest and most important series for us because that's the one that's current and at that moment.

"There's pressure all the time. Until you finish up 162 games, until you solidify a spot one way or the other, you're always going to feel a little pressure."

How to prevent a collapse? For Cuddyer, the solution is simple.

"Win," he said with a laugh. "I mean it's as simple as that. You go out and you win games, and that magic number keeps dwindling. Hopefully we can go out and continue to win games until it gets to zero and then we'll all be happy."