By STEVE WINE AP Sports Writer
MIAMI (AP) _ With time running out in the playoff race, the New York Mets set sympathy aside.
Noah Syndergaard struck out eight and allowed one run in six innings Tuesday night, and the Mets totaled 19 hits to beat the grieving Miami Marlins 12-1.
Jay Bruce and Yoenis Cespedes each hit his 31st homer for the Mets, who began the game with a half-game lead over the Giants in the battle for the first NL wild-card berth, with the Cardinals 1 1/2 games behind.
The game was the Marlins’ second since the death of ace Jose Fernandez in a boating accident. One night after a heart-tugging victory over New York filled with tributes to their teammate, emotions were more subdued, and Miami’s bats were too.
Syndergaard (14-9) had a lot to do with that. After missing a scheduled start Saturday with strep throat, he threw 93 pitches and lowered his ERA to 2.60, third-best in the majors. He’ll return to pitch the regular-season finale Sunday at Philadelphia if needed.
For mourners at Marlins Park, there were nudges toward a return to normal. The Kiss Cam and organ music returned after a one-game hiatus, but the dugout dancers were still missing, along with the sea creatures that usually race around the warning track.
Marlins players were back in their regular uniforms after they all wore Fernandez’s No. 16 on Monday. But each jersey sported a patch with “16” on the sleeve, and the number remained stenciled on the back of the mound.
The crowd was mostly quietly, except for transplanted New Yorkers. Bruce hit a two-run homer into the upper deck in right field in the second inning, and Cespedes hit an even more majestic two-run shot off the home run sculpture in the third.
Lucas Duda hit a three-run double, and Curtis Granderson also drove in three runs for the Mets.
Dee Gordon, who hit a Hollywood-worthy homer in the first inning Monday, again got things going in the first. This time he reached on a bunt, stole second and came home on a single by Marcell Ozuna. That was Miami’s only run.
Tom Koehler (9-13) allowed four runs in 3 2/3 innings.
Mets manager Terry Collins said RHP Bartolo Colon was unable to block out the emotions of the occasion when he allowed a season-high seven runs in 2 1/3 innings Monday.
“We’re going to throw that out,” Collins said. “There were just too many things on everybody’s mind. I don’t think the true focus was there.”
Slugger Giancarlo Stanton said it’s important that the team pay proper tribute to Fernandez as they grieve.
“It has nothing to do with baseball,” Stanton said before the game. “If you care about life, if you have passion or loved ones or anybody, you can relate to this situation.”
A memorial service and public viewing for Fernandez are scheduled for Wednesday. Players will attend a Mass on Thursday.
Fernandez’s agent, Scott Boras, watched the game with Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria.
Mets: LHP Steven Matz will undergo surgery next week to remove bone spurs in his pitching elbow and miss the rest of the season. … 3B Wilmer Flores (wrist) will sit out the rest of the series and will likely miss the rest of the regular season.
Mets RHP Seth Lugo (4-2, 2.61) is scheduled to start the series finale Wednesday against RHP Jose Urena (4-8, 5.95).
(© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)