Late-game letdown continues Mets' struggles vs. Braves

ATLANTA -- The lowly Atlanta Braves continue to torment the New York Mets.

Adonis Garcia’s two-run homer in the eighth against Addison Reed rallied the Braves to a 4-3 win against the Mets on Thursday night at Turner Field.

It marked only the second time in 36 games this season that the Mets lost when leading after seven innings.

The outcome came on the heels of Atlanta sweeping the Mets in a three-game series this past weekend at Turner Field.

Reed had inherited Freddie Freeman on first base with one out from Jerry Blevins. Reed then served up the two-run shot on an 0-2 pitch.

When Reed allowed the inherited run to score, it snapped a streak of 21 straight scoreless appearances for Blevins. It marked the second-longest streak in franchise history, trailing only a 33-game streak by Mark Guthrie in 2002.

Garcia was making his first start in a week. He had been dealing with left-ankle soreness.

Until Garcia’s homer, left fielder Michael Conforto stood to be the hero.

Conforto threw out Emilio Bonifacio at the plate to end the seventh inning on a would-be game-tying sacrifice fly, which maintained a 3-2 lead for the Mets.

The Braves challenged the play. However, after a 1-minute, 52-second review, the New York office confirmed that catcher Travis d’Arnaud’s block of the plate was legal and that Bonifacio had been tagged before touching the plate. Incensed Braves interim manager Brian Snitker was ejected.

A day after having to send Noah Syndergaard (elbow) and Yoenis Cespedes (wrist) to the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan for medical exams, the Mets also had a scare involving Conforto. He crashed into the side wall after making an inning-ending catch on Bonifacio’s fly ball in the fourth. Conforto limped off the field with an escort from assistant trainer Brian Chicklo, but remained in the game to make that late-game throw.

Matt Harvey allowed eight hits in six innings, but limited the damage to a pair of run-scoring hits by A.J. Pierzynski. Pierzynski is 8-for-12 in his career against Harvey.

With Pierzynski on second base after an RBI double in the sixth, Harvey coaxed a foul popup from Erick Aybar with his 91st and final pitch to depart with a 3-2 lead.

With Cespedes out of the lineup the day after receiving a cortisone shot in his sprained left wrist, Alejandro De Aza started in center field. De Aza snapped an 0-for-20 skid with an RBI double in the second inning that opened the scoring. Neil Walker’s sacrifice fly in the third inning against Braves starter Matt Wisler gave the Mets a 2-0 lead. Walker then produced an RBI single in the fifth for a 3-1 advantage.

What’s next: Steven Matz (7-3, 2.74 ERA) opposes right-hander Aaron Blair (0-4, 7.19) on Friday at 7:35 p.m. ET. Matz experienced elbow tightness in his last start and may be on a slightly shorter leash against the Braves.