After winning consecutive series against the Yankees and Philadelphia, the Florida Marlins were supposed to represent a three-inch gimme putt to the Mets.
There are no givens, warned manager Willie Randolph, but there are some games a team has to win, and tonight’s was one of them.
“You need to put your feet on people’s necks and squeeze,’’ Randolph said of the importance of the Mets developing a killer instinct.
Instead of riding the wave, the Mets got beached, losing 5-1 to the Marlins.
“If you’re to be a solid champion, you need to understand these games are important,’’ Randolph said of the need to clean up against the bottom feeders. “I’ve said it before, there’s nothing guaranteed. You still have to go out and play the game.’’
In defeat, the Mets wasted another superb outing by Pedro Martinez, who gave up two runs in seven innings. Martinez hasn’t won in his last five starts, getting three no-decisions in games eventually lost by one run.
Martinez was almost defiant afterward.
“I did what I had to do for our team to win,’’ Martinez said. “That makes me a winner.’‘