NEW YORK — Fredi Gonzalez thought his Atlanta Braves would have the advantage going into the bottom of the eighth inning with the rain coming down and a gusty wind blowing.
The manager is not so sure now.
Evan Gattis had a two-run, pinch-hit single in the top of the eighth, then the Mets rallied to tie it in a downpour in the bottom half before the game between Atlanta and New York was suspended with the score 5-5 Friday night.
The teams will resume play with none out in the top of the ninth inning on Saturday at 6:10 p.m. The regularly scheduled game is set to start 7:15 p.m.
“I thought it would benefit us as we had the lead,” Gonzalez said. “One guy’s trying to throw a wet ball and the other guy is trying to hit it with all the rain in their face. You just don’t know.”
With rain starting to fall heavily, Gattis put Atlanta up 5-3 with a bases-loaded single off Greg Burke. The Mets tied it in a wet and wild bottom half, taking advantage of center fielder B.J. Upton’s error on Daniel Murphy’s RBI single and scoring on a wild pitch by Anthony Varvaro.
The game was suspended after a 75-minute delay, the second of the night. There was a 16-minute wait at the start.
Varvaro could be seen struggling to get a good grip on the ball throughout the inning, repeatedly rubbing his hand on his jersey and pants. Catcher Brian McCann even visited Varvaro to calm him down.
Gonzalez is not sure how he’ll use his bullpen for the completion of the first suspended game in Mets history.
“I could even run Varvaro back out there,” Gonzalez said. “It’s like going back-to-back days.”
Mets manager Terry Collins will definitely use a reliever, not his Saturday starter, Dillon Gee.
“I’m going to start the game with a relief pitcher,” Collins said. “Otherwise, if the thing’s over in 10 minutes, the guy’s already warmed up, now he has to sit for an hour. That’s not what I want to happen.”
The tarp was brought out after Rick Ankiel struck out to end the eighth.
The Braves were trying for their seventh straight win — they swept two home series — but only a second win in seven road games. The Mets were swept by Cincinnati in a three-game series at Citi Field. They entered Friday 0-9 in games following a start by young star Matt Harvey.
New York led 3-2 behind the impressive pitching of Jeremy Hefner for six innings, but LaTroy Hawkins gave up a homer to Dan Uggla leading off the seventh to tie it. It was Uggla’s fourth hit in 38 at-bats.
Hefner gave up a two-run homer to Freddie Freeman in the first then was sharp the rest of his outing, giving up three hits and two walks. He struck out seven. But Uggla’s homer ensured he would remain winless in his nine starts.
Braves starter Kris Medlen allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings. He struck out nine, but yielded a homer leading off the fourth to John Buck that tied it 2-all.
“You have these huge stands in front of you and you still feel the wind,” Medlen said of the conditions. “It was a crazy, crazy night.”
Justin Upton was walked by Scott Rice with one out in the eighth and advanced to third on Freeman’s single. Rice struck out McCann for the second out and was replaced by Greg Burke. Uggla walked to load the bases for Gattis.
The rookie with a made-for-Hollywood story came to the plate having hit three homers — two as a pinch-hitter — in his last six at-bats, including a grand slam on Wednesday. As a heavy rain started to fall, he worked the count to 1-2 before lining a single up the middle.
“It’s almost better,” Gonzalez said of using Gattis as a pinch-hitter as opposed to starting him. “You can plug him in where you want to.”
Struggling in the conditions, Varvaro walked Buck then struck out Ike Davis — his fourth strikeout of the night — and pinch-hitter Jordany Valdespin before Ruben Tejada singled.
Murphy, who had three hits for his second straight game, hit a soft line drive to center field that hit off Upton’s glove as he came in on it and Buck scored.
Tejada was able to race to third base when B.J. Upton struggled picking up the ball. Varvaro bounced the first pitch to Ankiel and it scooted to the left of catcher Buck allowing Tejada to score and tie it 5-all.
New York last scored more than four runs at home on April 24, a 7-3 win in 10 innings over the Dodgers.
NOTES: Marlon Byrd had an RBI single in the fifth. ... Braves RHP Brandon Beachy (elbow surgery, June 2012) was scheduled to make a rehabilitation start for Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday night. ... Mets RHP Jenrry Mejia (elbow inflammation, 60-day DL) is set to have a rebab outing Saturday for Class A St. Lucie. ... Gonzalez said rookie sensation Gattis and McCann will split the catching and designated hitter duties for the two-game series in Toronto next week. Atlanta’s third catcher, Gerald Laird is lined up to be behind the plate against the Mets on Sunday for Julio Teheran’s start.