NEW YORK (AP) — This is the wrong time for the rest of Atlanta's lineup to leave Justin Upton all alone.
Juan Lagares hit a two-run homer and ran down one ball after another in center field, sending Dillon Gee and the New York Mets to a 3-2 victory over the slumping Braves on Tuesday night.
One day after his 27th birthday, Upton extended his monthlong tear by going 3 for 3 with an RBI double and a walk. But the Braves, right in the thick of a crowded NL wild-card race, have totaled only five runs while dropping three straight following a 7-1 surge.
"He's really swinging the bat really well. We've got to get some people on in front of him," manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Gee stopped the longest losing streak of his career at five games, outpitching Alex Wood in the opener of a three-game series. Lagares, one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball, scurried from gap to gap and finished with seven putouts.
One of Lagares' grabs was spectacular — he robbed Wood of a base hit with a diving, tumbling grab in shallow center to end the third inning. Lagares also began the game by running a long way to track down consecutive fly balls, and he made all three putouts in the sixth.
"We had people on base. Their pitchers made pitches to get out of jams. That's part of the game. We've just got to keep our heads up," Upton said.
Backed by three double plays, Gee (5-6) gave up two runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings. He entered 0-5 with a 5.71 ERA in seven starts since beating the Braves 4-1 on July 9 in his first outing after nearly two months on the disabled list.
New York turned four double plays in all.
"It just killed us, really," Gonzalez said.
Gee was lifted after Tommy La Stella's run-scoring single made it 3-2. Jeurys Familia got four outs, and Jenrry Mejia pitched a one-hit ninth for his 19th save in 22 tries.
Mejia leaped off the mound with both arms raised after throwing a called third strike past Evan Gattis to end it.
Wood (9-10) retired his final 12 batters following Lagares' homer in the fourth. The left-hander struck out six and walked one in seven innings. He yielded two earned runs or fewer in each of his previous five starts.