NEW YORK -- Between the two of them, Rafael Montero and Kevin Plawecki have combined for 16 stints in the majors with the New York Mets. The duo certainly performed Saturday like they know a 17th and 18th opportunity may not be forthcoming if they don't maximize their 15th and 16th chances.
Montero picked up the win by tossing six solid innings and Plawecki, promoted hours earlier from Triple-A Las Vegas, hit one of the Mets' two two-run homers during a seven-run sixth inning that lifted New York to an 8-1 victory over the Miami Marlins at Citi Field.
"Lot of circumstances in the past they can look in the mirror and say, geez, all I'm doing is filling in," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Montero and Plawecki, each of whom were ranked among the team's top 10 prospects entering the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
But there's no filling in now for Montero and Plawecki, who are sure to get extended auditions down the stretch for the Mets (54-67). New York, which snapped a five-game losing streak, shifted into rebuilding mode by trading six veterans -- including backup catcher Rene Rivera, who was claimed off waivers by the Chicago Cubs on Saturday to open up a roster spot for Plawecki -- in the last three-plus weeks.
Montero (2-8), who started the 2013 Futures Game for the World Team at Citi Field but lost most of the 2015 season to a shoulder injury before posting a 5.66 ERA between the Mets and two minor league affiliates in 2016, is locked into a rotation spot thanks to injuries suffered by Matt Harvey, Seth Lugo and Noah Syndergaard.
The right-hander allowed one run, six hits and three walks while striking out five and inducing four double plays in six innings on Saturday.
Since being promoted from Las Vegas on June 14, Montero has a 4.53 ERA while striking out 59 and walking 23 in 57 2/3 innings -- a marked improvement from the 8.24 ERA and 20/17 strikeout-to-walk ratio he posted in his first 19 2/3 big league innings this season.
"Raffy, he knows, with what's happened this summer with our starting pitching, that there's a possibility of a job here, especially next year," Collins said. "When you pitch like he did tonight, against a very, very good lineup, those are the kind of guys you want in your rotation."
Before Saturday's game, Collins said Plawecki -- a lifetime .206 hitter in 132 big league games -- would split time behind the plate the rest of the way with d'Arnaud. Plawecki's homer Saturday was his first for the Mets since May 9, 2016, a span of 110 at-bats.
"With what's occurred here (the) last couple weeks, I think Kevin Plawecki's said to himself that this is his ultimate opportunity to show that he should stay here," Collins said.
Plawecki said he was focused more on building on his improvements at Las Vegas, where he batted .328 with nine homers and 45 RBIs this season, and less on thinking of his latest trip to the big leagues as a now-or-never opportunity.
"Hopefully take that work that I've put in down there and hopefully see some results up here," Plawecki said. "I'm happy with the work I've been able to put in and I'm really looking forward to the last six weeks of the season and hopefully on to next year."
The Marlins and Mets were locked in a scoreless duel through five innings before Marcell Ozuna's third hit, an RBI single, gave Miami the lead in the top of the sixth.
But the Mets sent 10 batters to the plate in the sixth, when they benefited from three Marlins errors. Asdrubal Cabrera tied the score with a sacrifice fly before the Mets took the lead when two runs scored after Miguel Rojas allowed a hard grounder by Michael Conforto to go between his legs.
Flores followed with a two-run homer to extend the Mets' lead to 5-1 and Smith reached on another error by Rojas to set up Plawecki's two-out homer.
"Pretty sloppy inning on our part," Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton said. "Gave them extra chances."
Smith, who was promoted from Las Vegas on Aug. 11, hit his first Citi Field homer in the eighth.
Ozuna was the only player with multiple hits for the Marlins (59-62), who tied a team record by hitting into five double plays. The five double plays induced by the Mets also tied a franchise record.
"A few double plays there in the first five where we get some guys on," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "A chance to get to (Montero) and he made some pitches."
Vance Worley (2-3) took the loss after giving up two runs, three hits and two walks while striking out two in 5 1/3 innings.
NOTES: The Mets last induced five double plays in a 15-inning loss to the Marlins on April 29, 2013. The Marlins last hit into five double plays on July 1, 2015, against the San Francisco Giants. ... To replace OF Curtis Granderson -- dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers late Friday night -- the Mets activated LHP Tommy Milone from the 10-day disabled list. ... The Marlins traded Triple-A RHP Tom Koehler to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for Class A RHP Osman Gutierrez.