MIAMI -- Carlos Delgado dealt a blow to Florida's wild-card hopes and moved the Mets closer to wrapping up their long-awaited NL East title. More notable, the Mets 6-4 victory eliminated the Braves from the NL East race, ending Atlanta's record run of 14 consecutive division titles.
Delgado -- who has never been to the postseason -- hit a game-tying three-run homer in the eighth inning and Cliff Floyd's RBI double put New York ahead to stay in a rain-delayed game Tuesday night.
The Mets trimmed their magic number for winning the NL East to three. They could clinch their first division title since 1988 on Wednesday with a victory over Florida and an Atlanta sweep in its doubleheader against Philadelphia.
"It will be exciting when it happens," Delgado said. "It's been a great year and we're all looking forward to that moment."
The Mets trailed 4-1 entering the eighth before rallying with four runs. Florida could have moved within a game of the NL wild-card lead because San Diego lost 5-4 in 11 innings at Cincinnati. Instead, the Marlins remained two games back with 17 remaining.
"It's a tough loss," Marlins manager Joe Girardi said. "We need to bounce back tomorrow. Obviously, we still have a chance to do what we set out to do and that's win the series. But it's a tough loss."
"We're inching closer to the playoffs," Floyd said. "It's been a long time for this organization. Everybody is excited about getting to the postseason."
Endy Chavez drew a bases-loaded walk in the ninth for an insurance run, and Billy Wagner got three outs for his 37th save in 42 chances. He struck out Miguel Cabrera with two on to end it.
Guillermo Mota (2-0) pitched a scoreless seventh for the win and Aaron Heilman worked the eighth to set up Wagner.
Josh Willingham had three hits, including his 24th home run, for the Marlins. Wes Helms had two RBI for Florida, which got five shutout innings from Josh Johnson -- who hasn't allowed a run in 17 innings against the Mets this season.
Florida's bullpen couldn't hold the 4-0 lead Johnson left -- six Florida relievers combined to allow 10 hits and six runs in four innings.
Meanwhile, four Mets relievers combined to allow five hits and no runs in four innings.
"It's just one of those nights where we did everything early and couldn't do anything late," Helms said. "That happens. We didn't need it to happen tonight, but it did. It's one game. We needed it, but it's over with."
Wright had an RBI double in the seventh, pulling the Mets to 4-1. Lo Duca and Carlos Beltran started the eighth with singles, and Delgado connected off Taylor Tankersley for his 39th home run to straightaway center field.
"That was a big situation in the game," Delgado said. "I was looking for a chance to tie it. ... It's nice to be able to come through."
Wright, the next batter, doubled off Chris Resop (1-1) -- and the Marlins followed with another pitching change. It, too, didn't work, as Floyd greeted Renyel Pinto with another double, scoring Wright.
"We kept our focus," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "That's what you're supposed to do."
New York starter Oliver Perez struck out a season-high 11 in five innings, allowing five hits and four runs.
Rain delayed the start by 46 minutes, then interrupted play for another 82 minutes in the second inning -- after the Marlins built a 2-0 lead on Helms' two-run, two-out double in the first.
Both starting pitchers returned after the long delay.
Perez struck out eight batters in his first three innings of post-delay work, yet wasn't flawless during that span. He allowed a one-out single to Cabrera in the third, then Willingham followed his homer that staked Florida to a 4-0 lead.
Johnson, meanwhile, yielded leadoff singles in the fourth and fifth innings, but neither Met -- first Lo Duca, then Floyd -- advanced farther. But eventually, the Mets broke through.
"This is a big win tonight," Floyd said. "I think we'll all sleep a little better."
- Mets RF Shawn Green was 0-for-5 with four strikeouts.
- Florida 2B Dan Uggla singled in the first, giving him hits in six straight at-bats.
- Franco is 0-for-8 with the bases loaded this season.
- Many of the 15,163 fans who remained through the delays cheered when the scoreboard showed Cincinnati's win. Another reason to cheer: They get free tickets to an upcoming game because the rain delays exceeded 90 minutes.