For the second time during this identity-shaping homestand, the visiting clubhouse at Citi Field hosted a team meeting of a division rival knocked into a tailspin at the hands of the Mets.
This time it was the Marlins who were reeling, like the Phillies before them, thanks to an encounter with the surging Mets. It came a day after $325-million man Giancarlo Stanton wondered why his team lacked "fire."
It changed nothing, of course. In keeping with their emerging persona as fearless bullies, the Mets repelled a ninth-inning rally to beat the Marlins, 5-4, for their seventh straight victory.
The Mets' winning streak is their longest since they reeled off eight straight in June 2010.
"We're having fun, we're playing good baseball," said Jacob deGrom, who tossed seven shutout innings. "And we want to continue that."
Travis d'Arnaud and Wilmer Flores homered to give deGrom a five-run cushion, which proved crucial as the bullpen suffered a scary ninth.
With oft-used stalwarts Jeurys Familia and Jerry Blevins needing a day off, Carlos Torres stepped in and promptly gave up a homer to Michael Morse and a two-run single to Dee Gordon, who had five hits and three RBIs.
But with two outs, lefty Alex Torres nailed down his first big-league save. He struck out Christian Yelich, whose bat went flying on the final swing-and-miss, a sight that sent a jolt through a sellout crowd of 41,844.
Earlier, they helped to sustain deGrom as he traipsed through a minefield to extend his scoreless-innings streak to 181/3 innings and lower his ERA to 0.93. "Some of these guys, they're fearless," manager Terry Collins said, marveling at deGrom's eight-strikeout performance.
Twice deGrom worked around trouble after waiting through video reviews that ended with Gordon on first base with rally-starting infield hits.
But his greatest escape came after the Mets failed to turn an inning-ending double play in the sixth. It was bad enough that Stanton came to the plate with two runners aboard, and deGrom then fell behind 3-and-0.
"Your job is to throw that pitch that you're about to throw," deGrom said. He and d'Arnaud battled back, daring Stanton with a 3-and-1 changeup to get the count full before deGrom fired a two-seamer on Stanton's hands for the strikeout. The crowd erupted.
DeGrom then got Morse to hit a harmless pop-up. He had stuck his head in the monster's mouth and emerged without so much as ruffling his trademark hair.
"No moment is too big for him," said Michael Cuddyer, hitting .440 during a seven-game hitting streak.
Indeed, with David Wright down with a hamstring injury, the Mets have banded together.
Eric Campbell collected his third RBI since stepping in for Wright. Flores homered for the second time in three days. And d'Arnaud twice threw out the speedy Gordon trying to steal.
Before the series began, Collins mentioned how many had chosen the Marlins to emerge as challengers to the Nationals in the NL East. Now Stony Brook product Tom Koehler is the Marlins' last hope for denying the Mets a four-game sweep Sunday afternoon.
His hands will be full.
Matt Harvey will be charged with keeping the party going for the Mets. One more win would give them seven at home to start the year -- a franchise record.
Said d'Arnaud: "We're having a blast."