Braves handed Atlanta-record 11th straight home loss

When pinch-hitter Adonis Garcia hit a game-tying three-run homer in the eighth inning Saturday, it seemed long-suffering Braves fans might, for one night, have the last laugh on thousands of Mets fans at Turner Field.

So much for that quaint notion.

Not only did the Mets take the lead back in the ninth, they did it on former Brave Kelly Johnson’s RBI single off Arodys Vizcaino.

The Mets scored twice in the ninth and won, 6-4, the Braves’ 23rd loss in 26 games and their 11th consecutive defeat at Turner Field as they stagger toward the finish line of a season gone historically bad. The home losing streak is the longest in Atlanta Braves history.

“We got some runs late in the game, but they’re a ruthless team,” Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons said. “Their offense has been really good, and they find ways to get runs. They got Vizky (Vizcaino) again today, one of our best arms.”

The Braves (56-87) fell to a season-high 25 ½ games behind the National League East-leading Mets, the farthest behind they’ve been in a quarter-century, since finishing 26 games out of first place in the NL West in 1990. They need a win Sunday to avoid being swept for a third consecutive four-game series in the past 3 1/2 weeks.

Braves rookie closer Vizcaino, after giving up three hits and three runs (two earned) in one-third of an inning in Friday’s 5-1 loss, was charged with two runs, two hits and a walk in one-third of inning Saturday. He started the ninth and gave up a leadoff double to Travis d’Arnaud and the RBI single by Johnson, then a walk and a sacrifice bunt before being replaced.

“We sometimes try to hurry up the process of being up here in the big leagues,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Vizcaino. “Sometimes it takes a little patience on our part for him to grow into that role. But for the most part he’s been pretty darn good.”

The Braves traded Johnson and Juan Uribe to the Mets on July 24, and both players have had major roles in the Mets’ ongoing surge, including big hits in two of three wins so far in the series.

After Yoenis Cespedes homered to the push the Mets’ lead to 4-1 in the eighth inning, any hope of a Braves rally seemed dead. But with Mets starter Noah Syndergaard out of the game after seven dominant innings, the Braves broke through against former Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard in the eighth.

Jace Peterson drew a leadoff walk, Michael Bourn singled with one out, and Garcia homered on the next pitch, his first career pinch-hit homer and only his second hit this season in 31 at-bats with runners in scoring position. He does have three homers after the sixth inning of close games.

“It was a good feeling,” Garcia said through translator Alex Cotto. “Like most of the other players on the bench, we were preparing ourselves in case that moment came where we’d be called. From the fourth inning on, me and a few other guys were working out in the cage and keeping an eye on the pitchers. When my time was called, I was glad I was able to come through.”

Cespedes went 0-for-3 and grounded into a double play against Braves starter Williams Perez, but the scorching-hot slugger led off the eighth with a home run against Edwin Jackson for a 4-1 lead. Cespedes has hit nearly .400 with eight homers and 18 RBIs in his past 11 games and has 16 homers and 41 RBIs in 39 games since being traded to the Mets.

“He has that cape right now. He’s feeling like Superman right now,” Simmons said.

“I was a coach here when (Carlos) Beltran got traded from Kansas City to Houston (in 2004) and (nearly) carried that franchise all the way to the World Series,” Gonzalez said. “That’s what I’m seeing.”

The Braves have a 14-45 record since their 42-42 start, and would have to go at least 7-12 the rest of the way to avoid their first 100-loss season since 1988, when they finished 54-106.

The Mets have won 29 of 40 games to open a commanding 9 ½-game lead on the Nationals, who lost, 2-0, to the Marlins.

Syndergaard, one of the Mets’ stable of young flamethrowers, had no trouble dispatching the Braves lineup. He allowed just two hits, one run and one walk and eight strikeouts in seven innings, and was nearly perfect after the first inning.

“A hundred (miles per hour),” Simmons said of his fastball. “He throws really hard. He had a change and a split he was using that was really effective at times, and he was throwing some curveball/sliders. But you’ve got to respect 100.”

The Braves staked Perez to a 1-0 lead in the first inning and he held it until the fourth, when the Mets scored two runs on three hits and two wild pitches. Perez pitched six innings and charged with eight hits, three runs and three walks with three strikeouts.

Syndergaard had a 1-5 record and 4.91 ERA in 10 road starts before Saturday, compared to 7-1 with a 2.15 ERA in 10 home starts. But there were plenty of Mets fans among the crowd of 27,380 at Turner Field, and, more importantly, he was facing a Braves team that’s been the worst and lowest-scoring team in the majors since the All-Star break.

He gave up a run in the first inning on a walk, a groundout, a wild pitch and Freddie Freeman’s one-out RBI single for a 1-0 Braves lead. But Syndergaard was in complete control after that, recording 20 outs in the last 20 batters he faced.

The only Brave to reach base in that six-inning span was Peterson on a leadoff single in the fifth, and Peterson was throwing out trying to stretch the hit to a double. Syndergaard faced the minimum three batters in every inning from the second through seventh.