ATLANTA -- The Mets' ascension up the National League standings came to at least a temporary halt on Saturday, when an old division rival blocked their path. Adonis Garcia's walk-off single capped a 10th-inning rally for the Braves, who toppled the Mets, 4-3, to snap their six-game winning streak.
"It was a good one to win," Braves manager Brian Snitker said after the game. "The guys fought hard. We kinda let that one get away last night, so it was good to bounce back."
Combined with the Cardinals' win over the Brewers and the Giants' win over the D-backs, the loss dropped the Mets back outside the NL Wild Card picture. They trail St. Louis by a half-game for the NL's second spot.
"We'll be fine," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We had opportunities and we didn't capitalize on them, and they did."
The winning rally unfolded two innings after the Mets had a chance to take a late lead themselves, instead losing Wilmer Flores to injury on a collision at home plate. The Braves waited out six Mets relievers, until Garcia ripped an RBI single up the middle off Josh Smoker to end things.
After the Mets parlayed a pair of Braves errors into two runs in the first, the clubs engaged in a middle-innings home run derby. Nick Markakis, Yoenis Cespedes and Matt Kemp hit solo shots in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, respectively, making it a 3-3 game heading into extras.
Mets starter Bartolo Colon notched his fourth quality start in his last five outings, though he received a no-decision. So did Atlanta's John Gant, a former Mets farmhand who came to the Braves in a trade for Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe in July 2015. Though Gant allowed three runs and did not escape the fifth, only one of them was earned.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Tenth-inning rally: After Dansby Swanson opened the bottom of the 10th inning with a hit off Erik Goeddel, the Mets' sixth pitcher of the night, A.J. Pierzynski also singled to give the Braves runners at the corners with no outs. Three batters later, Garcia ripped a single up the middle off Smoker to send the Mets to their defeat. The Mets fell to 5-25 in games in which Goeddel has pitched.
Bang-bang play: The Mets' best chance to take a late lead came in the eighth inning, after Flores doubled with two outs. The next batter, pinch-hitter T.J. Rivera, hit a single to right field, where Markakis fielded it and threw home. As Pierzynski corralled the throw, Flores slammed into the Braves' catcher, crumpling to the ground in pain as he became the inning-ending out. Flores eventually walked off the field under his own power, but he did not return. The Mets diagnosed him with a neck contusion. Though X-rays were negative, Flores said after the game that he was "feeling a lot of pain."
"We certainly have enough guys. We could have run for him, which we should have," Collins said. "I was trying to get the pitching set up and get a pinch-hitter in, and got distracted. It's my fault." More >
Taking advantage: Much as they did in the decisive eighth inning Friday at Turner Field, the Mets turned multiple Braves mistakes into runs in the first. After Jose Reyes opened the game with a leadoff walk and Asdrubal Cabrera lined out, Garcia and Jace Peterson committed consecutive errors to concede the game's first run. Jay Bruce then hustled down the line to spoil a would-be double play, allowing the Mets to make it 2-0.
Braves fight back: The heart of the Braves' lineup kept Atlanta in the game with two game-tying home runs. Markakis led off the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer to right-center to tie the game at 2. After the Mets regained the lead on a Cespedes homer in the fifth, it was Kemp who came through with a solo shot to left field -- his 30th homer of the season -- in the bottom of the sixth to tie it back up. Kemp also drove in the Braves' first run with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first.
"It was a good game," Kemp said afterward. "It was back and forth. We beat a good team today."
"I was just trying to go with the flow, I guess. I've never done it before." -- Infielder Ty Kelly, on serving as the Mets' fifth infielder with one out in the 10th. Kelly played behind the second-base bag for one out, before retreating to the outfield after the Mets retired Ender Inciarte on a popup. He switched gloves between batters.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Colon's outing marked his seventh and final career start at Turner Field. He made his big league debut on April 4, 1997, in Anaheim, on the same day that Turner opened for its inaugural regular-season game. That makes Colon the only Major League player whose career spanned the entire life of Turner Field; he finished 5-1 there with a 1.89 ERA.
WHAT'S NEXT Mets: One of the saviors of the Mets' injury-riddled rotation, Seth Lugo will carry his 2.19 ERA as a starter into Sunday's 1:35 p.m. ET series finale at Turner Field. The Mets pushed Lugo back a day to give a blister on one of his pitching fingers more time to heal, but they do not anticipate the issue causing him any problems against the Braves.
Braves:Williams Perez will look to send the Braves to a series win when he makes his second start since coming off the disabled list in Sunday's series finale. Perez gave up six runs on eight hits, including two home runs, in 2 1/3 innings vs. the Nats in his first start off the DL on Tuesday.