NEW YORK — Ender Inciarte sprinted to third when Curtis Granderson lazily threw the ball back to the infield after an eighth-inning flyout and scored the tiebreaking run on a wild pitch that bounced only 10 feet from home plate, boosting the Atlanta Braves over the New York Mets 4-3 Saturday night.
Atlanta overcame a 3-0 deficit and hung on in a wild ninth to beat the Mets for the second straight night and match its longest winning streak this year at four games. Jeff Francoeur and Tyler Flowers hit solo shots for the Braves, who have just 31 home runs this season — 26 fewer than any other big league team.
With the score 3-all, Inciarte doubled against Addison Reed (1-1) leading off the eighth. Freddie Freeman was intentionally walked and Francoeur flied to Granderson in medium right. Granderson looked back Freeman, and then threw softly to second, prompting Inciarte to take off for third.
Nick Markakis struck out and, with Flowers at the plate, Reed bounced a 1-0 slider that catcher Rene Rivera blocked.
Reed bounced another slider on the next pitch and the ball bounced to the back of the dirt circling the plate. Rivera retrieved it and lunged toward the plate, and the ball came loose as Rivera slid across.
Dario Alvarez (1-0), claimed off waivers from the Mets last month, got two outs for his second big league win. Jim Johnson got three outs for his first save this year.
Wilmer Flores reached leading off the ninth when shortstop Erick Aybar misplayed his grounder for an error. James Loney doubled to the left-center gap, and Inciarte threw to Aybar, who made a one-hop throw to the plate to get Flores. Ty Kelly flied out to deep center, Loney advanced on a wild pitch and Alejandro De Aza was hit by a pitch. Granderson took a called third strike.
Atlanta is 13-18 under interim manager Brian Snitker after starting 8-28 under Fredi Gonzalez.
New York, struggling at the plate following injuries to David Wright, Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud, began the night a season-high six games behind NL East-leading Washington.
“We’ve got them seven times here in the next two weeks, so we’ll be ready for it,” Mets manager Terry Collins said of the Nationals. “It seems like when we play the Nationals or play these good teams, for some reason there’s just more energy. So, we’ve got to be ready.”
In a matchup of rookie starters, New York’s Steve Matz stretched his winless streak to four outings following a seven-start winning streak, allowing two runs and four hits in six innings. Atlanta’s Aaron Blair, winless in 10 big league starts, gave up three runs and five hits in six innings.
Yoenis Cespedes homered on a curveball in the third inning and Flores on a fastball in the fourth, both clearing the original Great Wall of Flushing in left. Loney followed with his first triple since 2011 and scored on Rivera’s sacrifice fly for a 3-0 lead.
Atlanta closed to 3-2 against Matz on Chase d’Arnaud’s two-out RBI single in the fifth and Francoeur’s third home run of the season in the sixth, a drive off the facing of the second deck in left. Flowers homered leading off the seventh on Jim Henderson’s first pitch. After he came out, Henderson spoke in the dugout with Collins and head athletic trainer Ray Ramirez.
Braves bench coach Terry Pendleton was ejected in the fifth inning when he argued after d’Arnaud was picked off at first by Matz and caught stealing second.
Bartolo Colon may stay in the Mets’ rotation even when Zack Wheeler is ready to return from Tommy John surgery. Wheeler is expected back in July, but the 43-year-old Colon is 6-3 with a 3.01 ERA.
“When Zack Wheeler is ready to be a major league pitcher again, there’ll be a pretty hefty discussion of what’s going to be best for us,” Collins said, adding a six-man rotation is possible during a stretch when there are few off days.
After losing their season opener to Staten Island 3-2 in 20 innings on Friday, the Mets’ Class A Brooklyn Cyclones were no-hit by the Yankees in a 2-1, 10-inning defeat Saturday.
Braves: 3B Adonis Garcia did not start for the second straight day after coming out of Thursday’s game because of a sore left ankle. … INF Gordon Beckham, who hasn’t played since June 1 because of a strained left hamstring, is to start a rehab assignment soon. … RHP Mike Foltynewicz (sore right elbow) was to throw to hitters this weekend.
Mets: C Travis d’Arnaud, who hasn’t played for the Mets since April 25 because of a strained right rotator cuff, is likely to be activated before Tuesday’s game against Kansas City, a rematch of last year’s World Series. D’Arnaud — Chase’s brother — started a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment on June 5. “When he gets back here, I think we’re going to throw him out there. Now, is he going to be more than four in a row? Doubt it,” Collins said … 3B Flores was back in the starting lineup. He was hit on the left hand by a pitch Thursday and missed Friday’s start.
RHP Jacob deGrom (3-3) is to start Sunday’s series finale for the Mets and RHP Julio Teheran (2-7) goes for the Braves.