MIAMI — Francisco Lindor knew panic was going to set in from the outside at some point during the 2022 season.

Whether it’s an early season skid, a mid-season downturn, or a late slip, outsiders always have a way to overreact to both extremes.

The Mets shortstop knows the reaction that awaits after his team fell 6-3 to the Marlins on Friday night at LoanDepot Park in Miami. The Mets (87-52) have now lost four of their last six games against teams below .500 and have fallen behind the Braves in the National League East.

It’s the first time since April 11 that the Mets haven’t held the top spot in the division. They led up to 10.5 games on June 1 and saw a seven-game advantage on August 10 slip from last month.

But the Mets won’t let a bumpy streak cast a shadow over a campaign that saw them win more than 100 games for the first time in 34 years.

“You just have to trust the process and do it together,” Lindor said. “You can’t start pointing fingers, ‘Who hasn’t? Who did? Who didn’t? Who did? In the end, we are all professionals. We are a big league team. On the other side, they are also big league teams. We just have to stick together, enjoy the ride and keep working, try to get out of this as soon as possible.

And despite this season’s success and the weakest schedule of any Major League Baseball team, the Mets aren’t going to rest on their laurels.

“You face some of the best pitchers in baseball,” Showalter said. “It’s a very common thing to say and what everyone thinks and I can see why they might see it that way. We certainly don’t see it that way. It’s a bit disrespectful to the team you are playing against.”

Missed opportunity

With the Mets trailing 4-3 in the top of the seventh, they had their best opportunity to break away from the Marlins.

With one out, Eduardo Escobar and Tomas Nido hit back-to-back singles before Brandon Nimmo walked to charge the bases. The Marlins brought in Steven Okert to face Lindor, and the Mets shortstop rolled on a slider in a late-inning double play.

The Mets have scored seven combined points in their last four losses to the Nationals, Pirates and Marlins.

“We had good batsmen, we just didn’t hit in the moments we really needed,” Lindor said. “It’s happened over the last two weeks. We’ve been very consistent (this year). It’s just that time of year. Hopefully we can break the wall and move on and try to win more games.”

New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) is congratulated in the dugout after hitting a two-run homer in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins on Friday, 9 September 2022, in Miami.

The Mets got a glimpse of another solid Marlins starter. Edward Cabrera was a revelation in his second major league season.

He entered the night with a 4-2 record with a 2.39 ERA over nine starts. The 24-year-old proved why he is a bright young talent for the Marlins at the start of Friday’s game.

Cabrera struck out three batters in the second inning and the only damage in the first five innings came on back-to-back hits from Tomas Nido and Brandon Nimmo to bring the Mets back to 2-1. But Cabrera threw three perfect frames and a two-run homer from Pete Alonso only got the Mets 4-3.

“You know you usually have to throw well here to have a chance,” Showalter said. “That’s why their future is likely to be bright as long as they can continue to develop pitching the way they are doing.”

David Peterson struggles in latest substitute effort

The Mets headed south to Miami with a half-game division lead, but three separate arms couldn’t silence the Marlins’ offense.

It started with David Peterson, whose return to the Mets’ starting rotation to replace an injured Max Scherzer didn’t go as planned.

In the first inning, he walked Brian Anderson, then gave up a two-run homer to Garrett Cooper on a high changeover.

New York Mets third baseman Eduardo Escobar (10) scores Miami Marlins Bryan De La Cruz (14) as he attempts to return to second base during the sixth inning of a baseball game, on Friday, September 9, 2022, in Miami.

Peterson allowed two more extra hits, including an RBI double to Miguel Rojas late in the fourth inning. The 27-year-old southpaw allowed three earned runs on five hits and two walks. He struggled with his command and was retired after 78 pitches in 3⅔ innings. It is his shortest start since July 6 against the Reds. He only threw 44 strikes.

“I just wasn’t effective enough to go any further in this game,” Peterson said. “I felt good with the thing, I felt like it was working. I left a couple of these pitches that they got hits on in the zone instead of burying them, and they’re major league hitters, so they took advantage of that.”

Peterson has now allowed three earned runs in three of his last four starts.

Hunter also struggled. The Mets reliever came on in the fifth inning and allowed a brace to Cooper and another RBI brace to Nick Fortes, which put the Marlins ahead 4-1.

Close decision late

With the Mets leading 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth, Edwin Diaz and Joely Rodriguez were both working in the bullpen.

Showalter wanted Diaz available for the ninth, so he turned to Rodriguez in the one-point game. The left-hander gave up a single and a two-run homer to Charles Leblanc.

“We were hoping Joely could get a few outs. He threw well for us and wasn’t able to,” Showalter said. “Fortunately, Edwin didn’t have to throw many pitches. We want to create a situation where he can come in and throw the ninth as well.”

With a sudden three-run deficit, Diaz worked the final two outs of the eighth, collecting one strikeout and one strikeout, but by then the damage had already been done.