NEW YORK — Terry Collins has given shortstop Ruben Tejada chance after chance to secure a starting spot in the Mets' lineup.
The manager finally thinks he's earned it — at third base, in place of injured David Wright.
Tejada hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the seventh inning Sunday to help make Bartolo Colon the NL's top winner this season, leading New York over the Miami Marlins 4-3.
"As we all know, he can do a lot of things when he is playing well, and right now he is playing well," Collins said.
Colon had an RBI double to help his cause and Jeurys Familia finished with five-out save for New York, which ended a four-game skid against Miami.
The 42-year-old Colon (8-3) gave up six hits and three runs without walking a batter in seven innings. He ended May on a positive note after struggling in the month, and matched Seattle ace Felix Hernandez for the most wins in the majors.
Collins race-walked out of the dugout after Carlos Torres gave up a one-out single to Martin Prado in the eighth and called for Familia to face the Marlins' Nos. 3-4 hitters, Giancarlo Stanton and Justin Bour.
Stanton and Bour each homered twice in the series. Bour connected off Colon in the sixth, and has homered in his last three games.
"He was facing Stanton," Collins said, laughing. "I was going to put power to power and see what happens."
It worked. Familia struck out Stanton, who flailed at an 89 mph slider far off the plate after missing on two fastballs. Bour singled and moved second on the throw, but Familia got pinch-hitter Jeff Baker on a bouncer back to the mound for the third out.
Familia then finished for his 15th save.
With Wright out with hamstring and back injuries, Collins has tried several players at the corner infield spot. This week he told Tejada "at no other time do we need you more than now," and he gave the six-year major leaguer a chance, starting him at third in all three games in this series against Miami.
And Tejada came through. He followed his tying three-run double Saturday with a drive to the wall in left off demoted closer Steve Cishek (1-5), enabling the Mets to finish their homestand 4-2.
"It's a good opportunity to play," Tejada said. "I'm happy for a big chance to help the team."
Colon helped the Mets with another hit, this time an RBI double in the second inning that made it 2-1 — the second extra-base hit of his career. After Anthony Recker singled with one out, Colon squared to bunt three times — David Phelps threw a wild pitch on strike two — before hitting a line drive to left-center.
"Just dumb on my part because I thought he was still bunting because he had tried to bunt the pitch before," said Phelps, who gave up an RBI hit to Colon earlier this season.
With Ichiro Suzuki playing shallow in center field, the ball rolled all the way to the wall. Fans roared while Colon chugged into second base standing up.
"I prefer not to hit because at my age I rather pitch and not to concentrate on running or swing the bat," Colon said through a translator.
Wilmer Flores extended the Mets lead to 3-1 with a homer to left field, his eighth of the season.
Jhonatan Solano, batting ninth to give the top of the order "more meat on the bone," according to Jennings, drove in a run with a tapper between the pitcher's mound and third base and Bour homered, tying it at 3.
Marlins: RHPs Jose Fernandez (Tommy John) and Jarred Cosart (vertigo) are scheduled to matchup in an intrasquad game Monday at the Marlins' complex in Jupiter, Florida.
Mets: Wright (back) will meet up with the Mets in San Diego likely on Tuesday, Collins said. Wright is getting treatment in California and is set to see his therapist on Monday. ... RHP Vic Black (shoulder) pitched a scoreless inning in a rehab outing for Double-A Binghamton at Altoona.
Marlins: Miami returns home for a three-game series with the Cubs. Jose Urena makes his second start of the year and fourth appearance since being called up from Triple-A New Orleans, where he was 4-0 with a 1.21 ERA. He's given up eight runs in 7 2-3 innings (9.39 ERA) for the Marlins.
Mets: Head west for a three-game series in San Diego. RHP Jacob deGrom has never faced the Padres but has struck out Justin Upton five times in nine at-bats.
Colon became the first pitcher at 42 or older to have an RBI double since Arizona's Randy Johnson did so on July 12, 2008, against Philadelphia.