By HOWIE RUMBERG AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ David Wright ignited a tiebreaking rally in the seventh inning with a hustle double, Travis d’Arnaud gave Dillon Gee some cushion with a two-run drive later in the seventh and the New York Mets beat the Atlanta Braves 4-1 on Wednesday night for their first four-game winning streak in a year.
Gee (4-1) returned from two months on the disabled and pitched seven-plus dominant innings as the Mets won the first three of a four-game series against the Braves after being swept in Atlanta less than two weeks ago.
The Braves have lost four straight after a nine-game winning streak.
D’Arnaud’s long ball in the seventh came two pitches after Kirk Nieuwenhuis gave New York the lead with a sacrifice fly. The drive to left field off Ervin Santana (7-6) gave New York a homer in nine straight games at Citi Field, a team record for the stadium that opened in 2009.
Wright hit a lazy liner to left-center leading off the seventh. He slowed as he made the turn at first but then took off when he saw center fielder Justin Upton make a lackadaisical attempt to get it back in, flopping into second as Upton’s late throw sailed toward the Mets dugout. Wright advanced on Lucas Duda’s fly to right.
Duda gave the Mets an early lead with a two-out RBI single in the first. B.J Upton’s RBI double in the fifth tied it 1-all.
In between, both starters were particularly stingy, allowing three baserunners total between the second and fifth innings. All three were wiped out by double plays _ two by the Mets.
Activated from the disabled list to make the start, Gee fit into the rotation slot left open when Jonathon Niese went on the DL on Sunday because of a left shoulder strain. Manager Terry Collins was confident that Niese will miss only one start because of the All-Star break that starts after next Sunday’s games.
The 28-year-old Gee was on quite a roll when he strained his right lat May 10, going 3-1 with a 1.36 ERA in his last five starts.
Back on the mound with a scruffy beard Wednesday, he was just as good.
Gee faced the minimum 15 batters through five innings. A walk to leadoff batter B.J. Upton was wiped out by a caught stealing _ after a replay review. New Jersey native Tommy La Stella opened the third with a single but Gerald Laird grounded into a double play.
Gee got some defensive help from an unlikely source to end the fifth, when Bobby Abreu crashed into the wall in left field to catch Chris Johnson’s flyball. The 40-year-old Abreu was greeted by a smiling group of teammates at the top of the Mets dugout.
Gee was lifted in the eighth with runners on first and second and no outs having thrown 88 pitches. He allowed six hits, a walk and struck out four.
Vic Black then got three outs to quash the rally. Jenrry Mejia gave up two hits and threw a two-out wild pitch in the ninth before striking out La Stella to loud cheers from the sparse crowd for his ninth save in 11 chances.
Santana was equally tough into the seventh. After allowing a double to Daniel Murphy and Duda’s RBI hit in the first, he yielded just one hit until Wright doubled.
He allowed four runs and six hits in seven innings. Coming in, the Mets had just one run in 15 innings this season against Santana.
NOTES: The Mets optioned RHP Gonzalez Germen to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room for Gee. … The Braves wore white T-shirts during batting practice with the message in red letters: “(hashtag)voteJup; for the 2014 All-Star game.” OF Justin Upton is one of five candidates for the final NL All-Star spot, selected by fans in internet voting that ends Thursday. … Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said about C Evan Gattis (back), “I don’t see him being ready to play” right after the All-Star break next week. … Up next: Atlanta’s Aaron Harang (8-6) and New York’s Bartolo Colon (8-7) face off in the finale of the four-game series.
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