With a bruised and battered lineup that's ill-equipped to stage major comebacks, the Mets beat the Braves 10-8 Sunday, winning a slugfest behind their third four-homer outburst of the season.
Juan Lagares hammered a three-run home run in the sixth inning to give the Mets a two-run advantage on a day in which they had trailed 8-3 after Dillon Gee's latest nightmarish performance.
Travis d'Arnaud hit a two-run blast while the Mets got solo shots from Dilson Herrera and rookie Darrell Ceciliani, whose homer was the first in his career.
Closer Jeurys Familia recorded a save of at least four outs for the fourth time this season. He got some help from second baseman Herrera, whose diving play blunted a Braves rally.
With two outs and a runner on first in the eighth inning, Freddie Freeman rolled a grounder up the middle. Herrera dove to his right to make the stop, then used his glove to flip the ball to second base for an inning-ending force out.
The late-game defensive gem, and the unexpected power display, masked the sting of a rough afternoon for Gee.
The pitcher undermined his own case for sticking around, adding yet another layer to a season in which he has twice been bounced from the starting rotation.
History favored Gee, who was given the spot start partly because of his 6-5 mark and 3.09 ERA in 16 career starts against the Braves. But precedent provided him with no cover.
In the fourth, Gee was showered with boos when he departed following Juan Uribe's RBI single. In just 32/3 innings, Gee tied a career-high with eight runs on 11 hits, most of them blistering.
The timing couldn't have been worse for Gee, whose ERA has risen to an unsightly 5.90.
It's unclear when the Mets will need another spot starter to help alleviate the workloads of the five pitchers in the starting rotation. But Gee, a trade candidate since the offseason, is far from a guarantee to make it.
Top pitching prospect and Ward Melville product Steven Matz has impressed at Triple-A, where he has remained mostly because the Mets' rotation has lacked an opening.
That could change, especially now that it's late enough in the season that even with a promotion, Matz is unlikely to to qualify for early arbitration.
Gee has allowed 12 runs in his two starts since coming off the disabled list with a groin injury. He didn't impress in his lone relief appearance, allowing a run in 12/3 innings.
Nevertheless, the Mets weathered Gee's latest shaky start.
By taking two of three from the Braves (30-33), the Mets maintained their lead in the NL East, with the first of four games against the streaking Blue Jays beginning on Monday.