Two big innings doom Braves in loss to Mets

The Mets peppered Braves rookie Alex Wood with a singles-driven, four-run third inning, then put the Braves away with a three-run sixth spiced with extra-base hits and anger.

The anger came from Braves players and manager Fredi Gonzalez over the refusal of umpires to discuss changing an RBI triple to a ground-rule double, which led to Gonzalez getting tossed from the Braves’ 7-4 loss at Citi Field.

The loss was the 22nd in the past 36 road games for the National League East-leading Braves, who split the four-game series with the Mets and finished 3-4 on a trip that began with a series loss against the Chicago White Sox.

Wood was charged with eight hits and four runs in 4 1/3 innings in his second major league start, and journeyman Kameron Loe (1-2) gave up three runs in 1 2/3 innings in his second appearance since the Braves brought him from Triple-A.

“We were right there,” said Gonzalez, whose Braves took a 1-0 lead in the first inning and got home runs from Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman. “We were down some runs, and Uggla got us right back in it, tied the ballgame. That inning with the ground-rule double (ruled a triple) just got out of hand a little bit.”

After the Mets batted around in the third and took a 4-1 lead, Uggla hit his team-leading 21st homer and eighth in his past 21 games, a two-run line drive in the fourth inning just above the left-field fence. He hit it off Smyrna native and East Paulding High grad Zack Wheeler (4-1), who beat the Braves for the second time in his seven major league starts.

Freeman led off the sixth with a game-tying homer, his 11th, which atoned for an error by the first baseman on a potential double-play grounder in the fifth inning.

Loe, after working out of a tight spot when he relieved Wood in the fifth, couldn’t wiggle out of immediate trouble in the sixth. Andrew Brown led off with a double, advanced on a wild pitch and scored the go-ahead run on Daniel Murphy’s single.

David Wright followed with the controversial hit that bounced off the warning track and back onto the field after hitting the out-of-play fence behind the outfield wall. Center fielder Reed Johnson threw up his hands and stopped pursuing the ball, signaling that it should be a ground-rule double.

But play continued and Murphy waltzed home while the ball rolled and Johnson waved his arms. Gonzalez came out to argue and was thrown out within a minute.

Replays showed Johnson and Gonzalez were correct: Wright’s hit caromed off an iron fence behind the left-field wall and back onto the field. A reporter mentioned this to Gonzalez afterward.

“I don’t think I needed a replay to know that I was right,” he said, “but coming in here for the rest of the game (and seeing the replays) it was confirmed. I thought the ball that Uggla hit, the home run, was a tougher call than that one, but we couldn’t get out of that inning. You still would’ve rather had second and third than a runner on third and a run scored. But it’s neither here or there now.”

Two strikeouts and an intentional walk later, John Buck added an RBI double off Loe to push the lead to 7-4.

“I thought Kameron threw well, they just found some holes and had some timely hitting right there,” Uggla said. “And we just weren’t able to put anything else together.”

Wheeler has faced (and beaten) the Braves twice in his seven major league starts. He made his major league debut in a June 18 start against them at Turner Field, where he allowed four hits and five walks with seven strikeouts in six scoreless innings.

On Thursday, the hard-throwing right-hander worked six innings and was charged with four hits, four runs (three earned), two walks with five strikeouts.