MIAMI — Before Wednesday’s game, Mets manager Terry Collins joined other spectators to watch the funeral motorcade for Jose Fernandez outside Marlins Park.

After the game, Collins crossed the field to give Miami manager Don Mattingly one last hug of consolation.

In between, Collins’ team took care of business.

Jay Bruce hit his 32nd home run, James Loney also homered and the Mets helped their NL wild-card chances by beating grieving Miami 5-2.

The Mets lost the opener of the surreal series but took the final two games as the Marlins mourned Fernandez’s death.

“We made as much a tribute to Jose as we could without getting overboard with it,” Collins said. “We had games to play that are very meaningful to us. I thought the guys after Monday night realized that we had to go out and play. We had some great at bats the last couple of nights.”

New York opened a 1½-game lead over San Francisco for the NL’s top wild card, with St. Louis one game behind the Giants. The Mets conclude the regular season with three games at Philadelphia starting Friday.

“If we win, we will be fine,” Bruce said. “We can’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Just play baseball, and we’ve been doing a good job of it.”

The Marlins’ loss in their home finale eliminated them from playoff contention. Despite high hopes this year, they still haven’t been to the postseason since 2003.

That was the last thing on their minds five hours before first pitch. They wore T-shirts reading “RIP” while clustering around the limousine carrying Fernandez’s casket to church for a viewing.

“You felt like you were pushing off your brother,” Marlins pitcher Mike Dunn said.

Sympathetic as they are, the Mets are also in a tight wild-card race. Loney hit a two-run homer in the second, and Bruce added a two-run homer in the fifth off Jose Urena (4-9). Curtis Granderson went 4 for 4, and Jose Reyes doubled home a run.

Seth Lugo (5-2) went 5 1/3 innings and allowed two runs, both on Martin Prado’s eighth homer.

Four relievers completed a seven-hitter, and Jeurys Familia pitched a perfect ninth for his 50th save — with Fernandez on his mind.

“His passing left us in a state of shock,” Familia said in Spanish. “It was very painful playing this series, but at the same time, we wanted to dedicate these games to him.”


The Mets finished 12-7 against Miami. The Marlins finished 40-40 at home.


As the Mets chase one of the two wild-card berths, Collins is already weighing potential pitching decisions on the final day of the regular season Sunday, when Noah Syndergaard is scheduled to start.

“If you wake up Sunday morning and say, ‘OK, we’re in’, but we don’t necessarily have home-field advantage, do we use Syndergaard?” Collins asked. “Or do we say, ‘He’s going to pitch the first playoff game, no matter where it’s at?'”

If the Mets have clinched home-field advantage, they might start Syndergaard on Sunday and have him throw about 25 pitches to ensure he’s sharp for the wild-card playoff game on Wednesday.

“Otherwise he goes eight days without pitching,” Collins said.


RHP Bartolo Colon (14-8, 3.42) might start Friday on short rest when the Mets open their final regular season series at Philadelphia. RHP Robert Gsellman (3-2, 2.56) is also an option, but Colon threw only 47 pitches when he took the loss Monday against Miami.

Marlins RHP Andrew Cashner (5-11, 5.13) will make his final start Friday at Washington.