By RONALD BLUM AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Yoenis Cespedes limped off with a pulled hamstring, Matt Harvey was chased in the fifth inning as he made an emergency start in place of ailing Noah Syndergaard, and the New York Mets’ losing streak reached six with a 7-5 defeat to the Atlanta Braves on Thursday.
Kurt Suzuki hit a three-run homer that finished Harvey (2-1), who allowed six runs in 4 1/3 innings and tied a career high with five walks.
Syndergaard was scratched because of right biceps discomfort. While the right-hander hopes to pitch Sunday at Washington, Cespedes looks likely to be sidelined for an extended period.
Cespedes left last Thursday’s loss to Philadelphia with a left hamstring problem and returned to the lineup Wednesday. The slugger hit a one-hop double to right-center off R.A. Dickey (2-2) in the fourth and was jogging into second base when he pulled up. When he reached second, he bent over, hands on both knees.
Cespedes had one arm over the shoulder of head athletic trainer Ray Ramirez and the other over the shoulder of first base coach Tom Goodwin as he slowly limped back to the Mets dugout. Last year, Cespedes injured his right quadriceps on July 8 and had 10 homers and 34 RBIs during the rest of the season around a lengthy layoff coinciding with the All-Star break and an August stint on the DL. He became a free agent and the Mets signed him to a $110 million, four-year contract.
New York is on its longest skid since losing seven straight from June 17-24, 2015. The Mets have lost 10 of their last 11 games and at 8-13 dropped behind Atlanta into last place in the NL East, seven games behind division-leading Washington.
Dickey allowed three runs _ two earned _ and five hits in five innings, leaving because of a spasm in his left quadriceps. He won the NL Cy Young Award for the Mets in 2012, then was traded to Toronto in the deal that brought Syndergaard to New York.
Atlanta won its second straight following a six-game losing streak.
Harvey walked three in an inning for the first time in his big league career in the second, when Jace Peterson singled in a run and Dickey hit a run-scoring grounder _ his fourth RBI this season, one more than Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson. Mets third baseman Jose Reyes appeared to have a play at the plate but threw to first.
New York tied the score in the fourth on Neil Walker’s RBI double and Suzuki’s run-scoring passed ball, but Atlanta needed just two pitches to take a 3-2 lead in the fifth. Adonis Garcia singled leading off and scored on Freddie Freeman’s double. Harvey then intentionally walked Nick Markakis to pitch to Suzuki.
Reyes homered in the bottom half, his first of the season in his 71st at-bat, and had an RBI single in a two-run ninth against Jim Johnson.
RHP Jason Motte was brought up from Triple-A by Atlanta and C Anthony Recker was optioned to Gwinnett. Braves INF-OF Chase d’Arnaud, designated for assignment this week, was claimed by Boston.
Lane Adams pinch hit in the Atlanta eighth and struck out, his first big league at-bat since September 2014 for Kansas City.
Braves: 2B Brandon Phillips, who injured his left groin Wednesday, did not play. “I’m not going on the DL, that’s not going to happen,” he said. I’m going to be like a Chipotle burrito. I’m wrapping that thing up.” Manager Brian Snitker said he hoped to have Phillips back in the lineup Friday.
Braves: RHP Bartolo Colon (1-2) starts Friday at Milwaukee.
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (0-1), who missed a turn because of a stiff neck, is slated to start Friday’s series opener at Washington in place of Harvey.
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