NEW YORK (CBSMiami) – The New York Mets have shown an uncanny ability to rally since the beginning of August and, as a result, appear poised to clinch their first National League East title since 2006.

Holding a 9 ½-game edge on the Washington Nationals, the Mets look to extend their seven-game winning streak and shrink their magic number of 11 on Monday when they host the opener of a three-game set against the Miami Marlins.

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New York (82-61) trailed Washington by one game on August 1st, but has gained the top spot and put plenty of distance between itself and its nearest division rival by going 29-11 over the last 40 contests. Over half (15) of those victories have been the come-from-behind variety, including Sunday’s 10-7, 10-inning triumph in which the Mets scored six runs after the eighth despite resting a number of their key hitters.

The Marlins entered Sunday on a four-game winning streak, but had no answer for the Nationals’ Max Scherzer as they fell for only the third time in 12 contests.

Miami has split 12 meetings with the Mets since getting swept during a four-game set in New York in mid-April and notched a pair of walk-off victories to take a series from the Mets from Sept. 4-6.

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PITCHING MATCHUP:
Marlins LH Justin Nicolino (3-3, 3.72 ERA) vs. Mets RH Logan Verrett (1-1, 3.06)

Nicolino had a string of four consecutive quality starts snapped in last Monday’s 9-1 loss to Milwaukee, giving up five runs on nine hits over 4 1/3 innings. The 23-year-old rookie, who has won all three of his away turns and posted a 0.87 ERA while doing so, had allowed two runs or fewer and worked at least six frames in each of his previous four outings. Nicolino has yet to surrender a home run in 20 2/3 innings on the road entering his first career start versus the Mets.

Verrett will draw his second career start – both in place of Matt Harvey as New York attempts to manage his innings – and first since allowing one run and striking out eight over eight strong innings in a 5-1 win at Colorado on Aug. 23. The 25-year-old Texan, who collected his first career victory in that outing, hasn’t pitched since surrendering two homers and three runs in an inning of a relief against Boston on Aug. 28. Verrett, who is holding opponents to a .195 batting average against, will face Miami for the first time.

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