MIAMI - Benched, demoted and considered a free-agent bust, New York Mets left fielder Jason Bay had not started a game since August 25, and he was not sure he would play Sunday when he arrived at Marlins Park.
But it was Bay's first-inning grand slam that sparked the Mets to a 5-1 victory over the Marlins before 25,333 fans.
With the win, the Mets completed a three-game sweep in a battle between two teams out of serious playoff contention.
"I didn't think I'd hit a grand slam on my first at-bat in a week," Bay said. "I just tried to be ultra-prepared. I spent a ton of time in the (batting) cage, so (the homer) was a nice reward."
It was the Mets' third straight series win but their first sweep since they took three from the Orioles June 18-20 in New York. The Mets also swept the Marlins in April, but they had not accomplished that feat in Miami since 2007.
Chris Young (4-7) got the win, allowing just five hits, one walk and one run.
Young, though, deflected any praise.
"It was Jason's win," he said. "I'm thrilled for him. He's handled adversity better than anyone I've ever been around. With all the struggles he's faced and injuries - real serious injuries like concussions - he has set a great example of how to work hard and be a great teammate."
Young needed 94 pitches to get through five innings, and he was replaced at that point. But the Mets' bullpen continued its strong string of recent performances.
On Sunday, the Mets relievers allowed no runs in four innings. And over the past 22 1/3 innings, they have allowed just one run.
Mets shortstop Ronny Cedeno and second baseman Justin Turner, playing in place of resting regulars Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy, started the first inning with consecutive doubles, putting runners on second and third.
Cedeno failed to score on Turner's hit because he thought Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton was going to catch the ball. While Cedeno waited to tag up on the play, Stanton over-ran the ball, and it fell just inside the right-field line.
Cedeno then scored on a David Wright groundout, and after Scott Hairston popped out, the Mets loaded the bases on an Ike Davis walk and a Kelly Stoppach hit-by-pitch.
That set the stage for the slumping Bay, who hadn't had an extra-base hit since he homered on August 16.
Bay drove a 1-0 pitch the opposite way for his grand slam to right-center field, giving the Mets a quick 5-0 lead.
But even after his big day - he also had a single -- Bay is hitting just .160 with seven homers and 18 RBIs.
For the Marlins, center fielder Justin Ruggiano spoiled Young's scoreless streak by pulling a fifth-inning pitch down the third-base line for a run-scoring double. That scored rookie catcher Rob Brantly, who had walked, to make it 5-1.
But Stanton, the Marlins' star slugger who is second in the National League with 29 homers, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. For the series, he was 2-of-12, and his only RBI came on an infield single on Saturday.
"I'm pissed," Stanton said.
Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said the obvious - Stanton had a bad game. But Guillen had no problems with Stanton's statement to the media.
"I like to see him angry," Guillen said. "At least he shows he cares."
NOTES: The Marlins recalled left-hander Dan Jennings and right-hander Tom Koehler from Triple-A New Orleans. Jennings, a reliever, had a 1-3 record and a 3.14 ERA in 51 2/3 innings. Koehler, who made 27 starts in 28 appearances, was 12-11 with a 4.17 ERA. ... Turner is now hitting .362 in his career against the Marlins (17 for 47). ... Bay's grand slam was the fifth of his career and his first since last year.