Johnson, Cespedes, Syndergaard pace Mets to 6th straight win
ATLANTA (AP) Mets manager Terry Collins understands why baseball fans are buzzing about Yoenis Cespedes.
He's the hottest hitter in the major leagues.
But Collins also points to another July trade that changed his team's fortunes - the deal that brought Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe from Atlanta.
''When those two guys showed up, we became a different offensive team, because they're professional hitters,'' Collins said. ''They're not intimidated by situations.''
Johnson drove in the tiebreaking run in the ninth inning, Cespedes homered for the eighth time in 11 days and the NL East-leading Mets won their sixth straight with a 6-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday night.
Uribe didn't have an at-bat for the second consecutive night, but he drove in three runs Thursday against Atlanta and has 18 RBIs in 36 games with New York.
''Cespedes was obviously a huge add-on,'' Collins said, ''but those two guys changed the dynamics in the clubhouse and the dynamics of the lineup.''
New York, which trailed 1-0 in the first, leads the majors with 14 comeback wins since Aug. 1. Since July 1, the Mets are 25-11 on the road, best in the majors during that span. They padded their division lead over Washington to 9 1/2 games with 20 to play.
Travis d'Arnaud led off the ninth with a ground-rule double against Arodys Vizcaino, and pinch-runner Eric Young Jr. scored from second on Johnson's single for a 5-4 lead. Cespedes added an RBI infield single.
Atlanta rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the eighth after a dominant Noah Syndergaard was lifted. Pinch-hitter Adonis Garcia hit a three-run homer off Tyler Clippard.
Jeurys Familia earned his 40th save in 45 chances with a perfect ninth.
The Braves dropped to 14-45 since July 8 and have lost 11 straight home games for the first time since the 1931 Boston Braves dropped 11 in a row.
Cespedes' 34th homer combined with the Tigers and Mets this season, a solo shot off Edwin Jackson, made it 4-1 in the top of the eighth.
Since being acquired in a July 31 trade, Cespedes is hitting .310 with 16 homers, 41 RBIs and 35 runs in 39 games.
''You see guys on hot streaks, but he has that cape right now,'' Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons said. ''He's feeling like Superman. He's getting big hits. He's a good player, a good hitter. He's hot right now.''
Syndergaard looked fresh while making his first start in 13 days, giving up two hits, one run, one walk and striking out eight in seven innings.
He retired 19 of the last 20 batters he faced after Freddie Freeman's RBI single put the Braves up 1-0 in the first. The only one to reach, Jace Peterson in the fifth, was thrown out by left fielder Michael Conforto trying to stretch a single.
Syndergaard has 137 strikeouts, most by an NL rookie, but he pitched a rare gem on the road. He had gone 1-5 with a 4.91 ERA in his first 10 road starts.
''My arm felt really good,'' Syndergaard said. ''My body felt really good. I was able to throw first-pitch strikes for the most part. I threw some pretty good changeups as well.''
Braves starter Williams Perez allowed eight hits, three runs, three walks and struck out three in six innings. Perez, who has an 8.79 ERA over his last eight starts, struggled badly in the fourth and fell behind 2-1.
After David Wright's RBI single made it 1-all, Perez called for d'Arnaud's infield popup but let the ball drop in front of him. D'Arnaud, however, was out on the infield-fly rule and both runners stayed put. But Perez threw a pair of wild pitches to Johnson that scored Wright from third for a 2-1 Mets lead.
D'Arnaud, who has 38 RBIs in 51 games and seven in his last seven games, drove in a run to make it 3-1 in the sixth.
Mets: 1B Lucas Duda wasn't in the lineup but drew a pinch-hit walk in the ninth. Wright will get Sunday off. Collins is giving both players extra rest.
Braves: Manager Fredi Gonzalez has yet to decide if RHP Mike Foltzynewicz (ribs) will work as a starter or reliever when he's eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list next week.
Mets: Jonathon Niese (8-10) is 8-6 with a 3.24 ERA in 20 career starts against Atlanta.
Braves: Ryan Weber (0-1) will face New York for the first time.