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Mets defeat Marlins for first road series win since April

The Mets' Jeff McNeil rounds third base after

The Mets' Jeff McNeil rounds third base after hitting a solo home run during the first inning of a game against the Marlins on Sunday in Miami. Credit: AP/Brynn Anderson

MIAMI — One hundred and two days later, the Mets won another road series.

They beat the Marlins, 6-2, on Sunday to take the second half-opening weekend set at Marlins Park. It was their first series win away from Citi Field since April 1-3, when they swept the Marlins, and their first series win overall since June 7-9 against the Rockies.

“It feels like more than a few months,” manager Mickey Callaway said with a laugh. “No, it’s good, it’s good. It’s a good way to start the second half. One series, we gotta keep it rolling. It was very good.”

As was the case Saturday, this victory was well-rounded, a sign that the Mets (42-51) finally might be syncing up all parts of their game, their oft-cited but rarely reached goal all season.

Jacob deGrom (5-7) gutted through five innings and allowed one run, and four relievers combined for four innings of one-run ball. The lineup scored early and often, starting with the first pitch of the game, on which Jeff McNeil homered to right.

That came immediately after a joking exchange in which Callaway told McNeil to end an 11-pitch at-bat with a long ball. McNeil countered by suggesting that he go deep on the first pitch, then stepped to the plate trying to do so.

“I said, ‘It better be a homer,’  ” Callaway said. “And he made it a homer. So he’s pretty much doing whatever he wants to do.”

McNeil, who also threw out a runner at home, said: “I just laughed and said I’ll do it on the first pitch. It just happened to work out.”

Righthander Sandy Alcantara (4-9), Miami’s All-Star, allowed four runs in six innings. Two came in the fourth, even though the final seven batters of the inning failed to get the ball out of the infield after Robinson Cano (4-for-5) led off with a hard single.

Cano added a homer in the seventh. After totaling four homers in the first half, he went deep twice in the series.

DeGrom allowed six hits and three walks, all of them after he got ahead 0-and-2 or 1-and-2, which frustrated him. He struck out six as his ERA dropped to 3.21.

When he returned to the dugout after five innings and 94 pitches, deGrom admitted to Callaway that he was tired. Leaving him in for another inning “wasn’t even a consideration after he said that,” Callaway said.

“Most of the time, I’m trying to get that last inning,” deGrom said. “Today I realized that I was pretty gassed out there. There I was thinking, what’s the upside? A little bit tired. Battling with my mechanics out there. I just was honest with them today.”

Tasked with the seventh inning, Jeurys Familia retired only one of his four batters. He walked two and loaded the bases before Callaway called on Seth Lugo, pitching on consecutive days for just the third time this season. He needed only five pitches to end the inning.

Since returning from the injured list July 2, Familia has faced 14 batters and allowed seven to reach base. The ineffectiveness that has plagued him all season — 7.42 ERA, 1.91 WHIP — has shown no signs of abating.

“I think you need to pick spots,’’ Callaway said. “We picked a spot today where we felt like if things went bad, we could bail him out, which is exactly what happened. The bottom line is, we gotta get him going. We need him to pitch in games like today to be a successful team. And we need him to get through the outings.”

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