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Playing time set to decline, Wilmer Flores homers twice -- again -- as Mets top Marlins

NEW YORK -- Are the New York Mets positive they want to strip Wilmer Flores of regular playing time?

Flores produced his second two-homer game in a four-day span and the Mets beat the Miami Marlins, 4-2, in Wednesday’s rubber game at Citi Field.

Flores delivered second- and fourth-inning solo homers against Marlins left-hander Justin Nicolino. The output came on the heels of Flores going a franchise-record-matching 6-for-6 while belting two homers Sunday as the Mets completed a four-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs.

With Jose Reyes having joined the Mets to serve as the primary third baseman, Flores is due to recede to his originally intended backup role.

Manager Terry Collins still plans to have Flores face left-handed pitching somewhere in the field. And with Wei-Yin Chen and then the fellow southpaw Nicolino having started on consecutive days for the Marlins, Flores found himself in the lineup on back-to-back days despite Reyes’ arrival.

Flores originally was slated to start at first base Wednesday in place of resting James Loney. However, Asdrubal Cabrera was scratched shortly before the first pitch “because a family illness kept him up all night,” the Mets announced. So Reyes moved from third base to his natural shortstop position. And Flores moved across the diamond to the position he had hoped to retain.

Flores seems to come up biggest when faced with adversity. His signature homer last season came in extra innings on July 31 against the Washington Nationals. The walk-off shot came two days after a tearful Flores thought he was getting traded to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Flores’ four homers this week come after producing only three in his first 50 games of the season. He did ground into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the fifth and the Mets leading, 4-1.

Meanwhile, after five hitless at-bats to begin his second tour of duty as a Met, Reyes woke up. He produced consecutive doubles in his next two plate appearances and scored in the third inning on Curtis Granderson's two-run single as the Mets took a 3-0 lead.

Granderson, dropped a slot in the lineup with Reyes’ insertion as the leadoff hitter, entered Wednesday hitting .132 (7-for-53) with runners in scoring position this season.

After a 10-start winless streak during which he received no run support, Jacob deGrom was the beneficiary of some offense for a second straight game.

In his final start before the All-Star Break, deGrom stranded the bases loaded in a 26-pitch first inning and also escaped unscathed after facing runners on the corners and none out in the fifth. The damage against him came on a pair of solo homers by Giancarlo Stanton, who homered in four straight at-bats over a two-day span.

The first of Stanton’s two homers against deGrom was calculated at 470 feet -- the longest home run ever at Citi Field. Stanton has three of the four longest homers in the stadium’s eight-year history, according to ESPN Stats & Information. His second shot Wednesday was calculated at a mere 430 feet.

DeGrom (5-4) allowed two runs on six hits and two walks in seven innings while tossing a season-high 117 pitches.

What’s next: The Mets close the first half with a four-game showdown against the Nationals. Bartolo Colon (7-4, 2.87 ERA) opposes right-hander Lucas Giolito (0-0, 0.00) on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. ET. The Nationals swept the Mets in a three-game series from June 27-29 in Washington.