The Sports Xchange

By Jerry Beach, The Sports Xchange

Mets 4, Braves 1

NEW YORK -- Right-hander Dillon Gee threw seven impressive innings in his first start in almost two months and catcher Travis d'Arnaud capped a three-run seventh inning with a long two-run homer as the New York Mets beat the Atlanta Braves 4-1 at Citi Field on Wednesday.

The Mets (42-49) have won four in a row, their first four-game winning streak since July 7-10 of last season. New York will go for the four-game sweep of the Braves -- which would be its first of Atlanta since 1989 -- on Thursday night.

The Braves (49-42) have lost four straight since a nine-game winning streak.

With the score tied at 1, Mets third baseman David Wright led off the bottom of the seventh with a double to left. Wright went to third on a long fly out by first baseman Lucas Duda before left fielder Bobby Abreu walked.

Center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis then lined out to deep right and Wright scored without a throw. Three pitches later, d'Arnaud hit his sixth homer deep into the left field seats.

Gee, who hadn't pitched since May 10 due to a right lat strain, improved to 4-1 after allowing one run on six hits and one walk while striking out four in a crisp 85-pitch effort.

He gave up a pair of singles to lead off the eighth, but right-hander Vic Black retired all three batters he faced before right-hander Jenrry Mejia earned his ninth save despite allowing two hits in the ninth.

Center fielder B.J. Upton had an RBI double for the Braves while second baseman Tommy La Stella and left fielder Justin Upton had two hits apiece.

Right-hander Ervin Santana (7-6) gave up all four runs on six hits and two walks while striking out four over seven innings.

Gee and Santana worked impressively fast through the first six innings, which took just 71 minutes to complete.

Nine of the first 18 outs Gee recorded required three pitches or less while Santana benefited from two double plays behind him as well as a pickoff.

The two teams combined for just one stranded runner in the first six innings -- Duda was left on first base after his two-out single in the first gave New York a 1-0 lead -- and Gee faced the minimum until Santana's infield single with two outs in the sixth. Santana scored easily on B.J. Upton's long double to left-center, though Upton was tagged out in a rundown.

NOTES: To make room on the roster for RHP Dillon Gee, the Mets optioned RHP Gonzalez Germen to Triple-A Las Vegas after Tuesday's game. Germen is 0-0 with a 4.76 ERA in 21 relief appearances for the Mets. ... Entering Wednesday, the Mets had 10 three-game winning streaks since their last four-game winning streak, including seven this season. ... Braves C Evan Gattis (bulging disc in back) caught a few warm-up pitches between innings during Tuesday's game. He isn't expected to be activated from the 15-day disabled list when first eligible immediately after the All-Star Break. ... RHP Pedro Beato, whom the Braves placed on the disabled list June 19 with a sore right elbow, threw a scoreless inning Tuesday in his first rehab appearance with Triple-A Gwinnett.

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