ATLANTA (AP) - The return of Jason Heyward wasn't enough to spark Atlanta's struggling offense.
Dillon Gee combined with three relievers for a two-hit shutout, Angel Pagan hit a two-run homer and the surging New York Mets beat the Braves 4-0 on Wednesday night.
``We couldn't do anything offensively,' Atlanta's Chipper Jones said. ``It didn't matter who they threw out there.'
The Braves lost their third straight to fall five games behind the Phillies in the NL East. Philadelphia swept a doubleheader from Florida.
``We didn't swing the bats,' Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ``Two hits, it's hard to win the baseball game.
``It feels like it's a big mountain to climb, the way we're scoring runs.'
Heyward was 0 for 2 with a walk in his return from the disabled list. He missed 18 games with inflammation in his right shoulder.
Heyward had a throwing error after fielding Jose Reyes' double to open the game, allowing him to advance to third. Reyes scored on Ruben Tejada's groundout.
Gee gave up one hit in four innings but did not return following a rain delay of 1 hour, 11 minutes. The delay cost Gee, who is 7-0, a chance to become the first Mets rookie to win his first eight decisions.
Pagan's homer in the fourth gave New York a 3-0 lead.
The left-handed hitting Pagan pulled a two-run homer off Tim Hudson in the fourth. Pagan lofted the drive into the gusty wind blowing toward right field. The fly ball remained fair before tucking around the foul pole.
``Pagan's homer was a big blow,' Jones said. ``A team that's struggling to score offensively, three runs seems like a lot. I know it's not. We didn't feel like we were out of the game by any stretch of the imagination, but this game isn't any fun when you're not getting any offense.
``This team, we need to get it going.'
The Mets have won nine of 13, including the first two games of the series.
The Mets (34-34) endured two rain delays to reach .500 for the first time since May 20, when they were 22-22.
``Well, we're here, but we've got to say here now,' manager Terry Collins said.
``It's been a long road and a long uphill battle. Now we've got to move forward.'
D.J. Carrasco replaced Gee and pitched two perfect innings. Bobby Parnell (1-1) struck out five in two scoreless innings before Francisco Rodriguez completed the shutout with a perfect ninth inning.
Gee and the Mets led 3-0 when heavy wind, rain and lightning forced play to be stopped in the top of the fifth inning. The start of the game had been delayed 1:22 by another storm which brought hail to Turner Field. There was more lightning following the second delay.
Jason Bay, who had been hitting only .067 (2 for 30) in June, had two hits following a vote of confidence from manager Terry Collins before the game.
``I'm trying to get the guy going,' Collins said of Bay. ``You've got to have some confidence on the field.
``When he gets his stroke back, he's the left fielder. Hands down.'
Bay sat out the Mets' 4-3 win in Tuesday night's series opener.
Reyes had a double and scored in the first and drove in Lucas Duda with a groundout in the seventh.
Hudson (5-6) gave up four hits and three runs, two earned, in four innings and has lost four of his last five decisions.
Alex Gonzalez doubled with two outs in the second and pinch-hitter Brooks Conrad had a single off Parnell in the eighth for the Braves' only hits.
NOTES: The Braves optioned OF Matt Young to Triple-A Gwinnett to clear a roster spot for Heyward. ... OF Nate McLouth, recovering from a left oblique strain, took batting practice and expects to begin a rehab stint with Gwinnett on Thursday. ... 1B Freddie Freeman missed his second straight start with a mild right oblique strain. Gonzalez said Freeman will play Thursday.
The Associated Press News Service
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