Miami — Getting dropped in the Mets' order was the perfect pick-me-up for Carlos Delgado.

Miami — Getting dropped in the Mets' order was the perfect pick-me-up for Carlos Delgado.

Batting in the No. 5 slot, one spot below his usual cleanup position, Delgado ended a long power drought with two home runs and five RBI and carried the Mets past the Florida Marlins 7-2 last night.

"You find that groove, that power swing, it's been that way my whole career," Delgado said. "I've been feeling better at the plate. Once you start hitting better, you can find that groove."

Delgado hit his first home run in 47 at-bats in the third inning, added a three-run shot in the fifth for his first multi-homer game since Aug. 22 and scored three times to help the Mets move a season-high 3½ games ahead of Atlanta in the NL East.

"It's a matter of time," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "A little later than expected, but we're hoping he can carry us for a while."

Endy Chavez had three hits and David Wright scored twice for the Mets, while John Maine, Ambiorix Burgos and Aaron Sele combined to hold Florida to five hits.

Maine (6-2) allowed two runs and matched a career-high with eight strikeouts in six innings for his first win in four starts.

Maine started the year 5-0 with a 1.37 ERA, but was 0-2 with a 6.19 ERA in three starts since May 9, giving up 20 hits and 12 walks in that span. But he never was in trouble against the Marlins, who were held without an extra-base hit for the second time in 49 games this season.

"It was an attitude thing," Maine said. "I was just fed up with the way I was pitching."

Alfredo Amezaga and Miguel Olivo each had two hits and an RBI for Florida, which lost to the Mets at home for the sixth straight time.

Delgado was batting .209 when Randolph dropped him from cleanup before Wednesday's game in Atlanta, but has gone 8-for-16 since to raise that average to .235 — with five hits in the first two games of this series.

Notes — Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca said his left elbow tightened up and swelled a bit after being hit by a pitch, but didn't believe it was a serious injury. ... Rain began falling several times during the game, sending many fans scurrying for cover, but play was never halted.