NEW YORK (AP) -John Maine flirted with the first no-hitter in Mets history before allowing an infield single to Paul Hoover with two outs in the eighth inning, and New York snapped out of its September doldrums by routing the Florida Marlins 13-0 in a fight-filled game Saturday.
Maine (15-10) finished with 14 strikeouts, the most by a Mets pitcher in eight years, and departed to a raucous ovation long after Florida catcher Miguel Olivo charged across the diamond and threw a punch at Jose Reyes in the fifth - setting off a bench-clearing brawl.
Once order was restored, the Mets stayed alive in the playoff race by snapping a five-game skid that cost them their NL East lead.
After blowing a seven-game cushion with 17 to play and falling a game behind Philadelphia, New York entered Saturday with a chance to suddenly be eliminated from postseason contention. A loss to Florida and a Phillies win over Washington later would have sent the Mets home for the winter.
Lastings Milledge homered twice, Ramon Castro also connected and Luis Castillo had three key hits for the Mets, who had lost eight straight home games and 11 of 15 overall - putting them in danger of completing one of the most colossal collapses in baseball history.
Chris Seddon (0-2) recorded only five outs, allowing five runs on seven hits and a walk.
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