NEW YORK - John Maine stopped the Mets' slide with an overpowering performance that pulled them into a first-place tie. He nearly did a whole lot more than that.
Maine flirted with the first no-hitter in team history before allowing an infield single to Paul Hoover with two outs in the eighth inning, and New York snapped out of its September doldrums by routing the Marlins 13-0 in a fight-filled game.
'We weren't going to lose today,' Maine said.
Maine finished with 14 strikeouts, the most by a Mets pitcher in eight years, and departed to a raucous ovation long after Florida catcher Miguel Olivo charged across the diamond and threw a punch at buddy Jose Reyes in the fifth - setting off a bench-clearing brawl.
Once order was restored, the Mets ended a five-game skid that cost them their NL East lead.
After squandering a seven-game cushion with 17 to play and falling a game back, New York entered Saturday with a chance to suddenly be eliminated from postseason contention. A loss to Florida and a Phillies win against Washington would have sent the Mets home for the winter.
Instead, Maine gave them the dominant outing they've desperately needed for two weeks.
'We needed a stopper and he was our guy,' David Wright said.
New York will hope for another big effort from 300-game winner Tom Glavine in the regular-season finale today. The Mets face nemesis Dontrelle Willis, who is 11-3 with a 2.49 ERA in 18 career starts against them - including 5-0 at Shea Stadium.
Lastings Milledge homered twice, Ramon Castro also connected and Luis Castillo had three hits for the Mets, who had lost eight straight home games and 11 of 15 overall, putting them in danger of completing one of baseball's biggest collapses.