Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Yuli Gurriel had consecutive run-scoring hits that put the Marlins ahead 2-1 Thursday night, but umpires soon ordered the tarp on the field and the game was suspended by rain at 12:58 a.m. Friday after a 3-hour, 17-minute delay.
"Without getting into the details, obviously, this is an unfortunate incident," said Marlins general manager Kim Ng, who declined to comment when asked if the suspension could have been avoided or if the game could have been completed in the ninth.
Miami moved into the third and final NL wild-card spot when the Chicago Cubs lost at Atlanta.
Miami (82-76) is a half-game ahead of the Cubs (82-77), who finish with three games at NL Central champion Milwaukee. The Marlins close with three games at Pittsburgh and would have to return to New York on Monday to complete the game against the Mets if it's needed to determine a postseason spot.
Miami holds the tiebreaker against the Cubs after winning the season series 4-2.
San Diego (79-80) avoided elimination for another night because Miami couldn't finalize a win.
"We're trying to win a game," Mets manager Buck Showalter said. "And we have sympathy for what they're trying to accomplish, too."
The game would be resumed at the point of suspension if needed to determine a playoff berth. Under rule 7.02 (b) (4) (A), if the game isn't needed to decide a postseason spot, the game would be called and the score would revert to a 1-0 Mets victory.
Ng spoke for less than a minute. No other players or staff members spoke with reporters as the Marlins prepared for their flight to Pittsburgh.
With rain letting up, the tarp had been removed around 12:20 a.m. Miami manager Skip Schumaker became involved on the field in an animated conversation with umpire crew chief Alfonso Márquez, a member of the Mets' grounds crew and New York senior vice president of ballpark operations Sue Lucchi.
A few minutes later, the tarp went back on the field. The Mets vacated their dugout shortly thereafter.
"We had two or three potential start times," Showalter said. "We were ready to go and then it kept closing. It would open and we would go quick and pull the tarp, but underneath is wet, too."
The opening game of the three-game series was postponed Tuesday due to soggy conditions at Citi Field, where the infield was uncovered for at least some of the four straight days in which Tropical Storm Ophelia pelted New York City.
"The other day was a little bit of a show -- there's a word in front of it," Schumaker said Thursday afternoon as rain fell during his pregame availability.
The rainout Tuesday necessitated a doubleheader Wednesday, affecting Miami's pitching plans in the final days of a playoff race and angering team officials, according to a report by The Athletic. Mets owner Steven Cohen apologized to the Marlins before the teams split Wednesday's doubleheader.
The heaviest rains Thursday weren't expected to arrive until closer to midnight, but after Rafael Ortega snapped the scoreless tie with an RBI single in the eighth inning, the Marlins mounted their rally in a downpour.
Bryan De La Cruz singled leading off the ninth against Grant Hartwig and Garrett Hampson struck out. Chisholm greeted Anthony Kay with a double and scored on Gurriel's pinch-hit single. Xavier Edwards flied out and Jon Berti singled Gurriel to second before the game was interrupted at 9:41 p.m.
"We knew that they obviously wanted to play and that game has implications for them," Mets starter David Peterson said. "So we were kind of just told to wait and hang around and see what happens."
Marlins starter Jesus Luzardo allowed four hits, struck out 10 and walked one in 7⅓ innings Thursday. His 208 strikeouts are the most for a Miami left-hander.
Peterson struck out eight in seven innings for the Mets, lowering his ERA to 5.03. He was demoted to Triple-A on May 16 with an 8.08 ERA but recorded a 3.38 ERA in his final 19 appearances following his recall June 26.
"Long, pretty boring," Peterson said of the delay. "Ready to go home."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.