NEW YORK — If the New York Mets are going to make a run toward respectability, they will need a few more performances from Carlos Torres and Ike Davis like the ones they gave Tuesday night.
Torres pitched six impressive innings as a fill-in starter and had an RBI single, Davis turned an angry crowd in his favor with a go-ahead double in a three-run sixth and the Mets beat the Atlanta Braves, 4-1.
“It’s a big boost,” manager Terry Collins said of Torres’ efforts in his second start of the season.
John Buck had a run-scoring single and Juan Lagares a sacrifice fly in a sixth inning that helped the Mets beat Atlanta’s Kris Medlen (6-10) for the first time in eight starts.
Torres (1-1) gave up seven hits, including a home run to Andrelton Simmons on the second pitch of the game, and pitched out of trouble in the first four innings of his first outing in 10 days. The one run actually caused his ERA to increase to 0.94 in 28 2-3 innings this season — 12 appearances. The 30-year-old right-hander made his first start for the Mets on July 13, when Matt Harvey was skipped ahead of the All-Star game. With Jonathon Niese on the disabled list because of a partial tear in his rotator cuff and Shaun Marcum out after having shoulder surgery — he was placed on waivers earlier Tuesday — Torres earned another start after working five innings of one-run ball against Pittsburgh.
“We needed somebody to step up, and he stepped up for us,” Collins said.
Torres got his second win as a starter, the first since he was with the Chicago White Sox in September 2009.
“Just as long as the team gets the win I’m happy,” Torres said.
Bobby Parnell bounced back from wasting a 1-0, ninth-inning lead in a 2-1 loss Monday night to pitch a perfect ninth for his 19th save.
Fourth place in the NL East, the Mets have won seven of 11 and improved to 44-52, only three-games back of second place Philadelphia.
The Braves had ample opportunities to pad their lead in the early innings. But they went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position over the first four innings and were 1 for 8 overall. In the first, Lagares threw out Jason Heyward at home by a large margin to end the first inning when he tried to score on Evan Gattis’ single to center field.
The NL East leaders fell to 2-3 on their seven-game trip.
Medlen, who lost his third straight start, is used to the lack of support. Coming in, Atlanta had averaged 2.3 runs while he is in the game.
While the Braves were squandering chances, the Mets took advantage of their first baserunners — in the third.
Lagares, the NL player of the week, doubled just inside the right field line and scored on Torres’ slapped single through a draw-in infield to tie it at 1.
“To tell you the truth I was actually kind of upset,” Torres said. “Not because I got the hit, I was happy about that. I jammed myself.”
New York went ahead for good in the sixth when Medlen appeared to lose his touch.
“It was almost two different pitchers going the first five innings and then going out there in the sixth,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “I don’t know if it was just command or leaving balls out over the plate, but the swings got better in the sixth than in the first five innings.”
Daniel Murphy and David Wright singled leading off. After Charles Johnson lunged toward third base to snare Marlon Byrd’s grounder and then throw to second off one knee for the force, Davis lined a double off the base of the wall in right field to give New York the lead.
“These are all confidence-building things,” Collins said of Davis’ hit off a two-strike curveball.
Relentlessly booed after bunting back to the mound and striking out in his first two at-bats, the slumping Davis was given a huge ovation as he stood on second base.
“The crowd gets on me no matter what,” Davis said. “It’s fun for them.”
Batting just .176 coming in, Davis drove in a run for a second straight game after not notching an RBI since July 5, his first game back from the minor leagues.
Buck followed with a single to center for a 3-1 lead that chased Medlen. Lagares’ flyout to right field added another run.
Medlen gave up four runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings. He dropped to 4-1 in 18 outings against New York.
“I’ve been making more mistakes than I have been in the past,” Medlen said. “Like I say, I’m just trying to make the adjustments and fix it while I can.”
NOTES: The Braves are 25-29 on the road. ... Mets RHP Jenrry Mejia will start the opener of a doubleheader in Washington on Friday. The 23-year-old Mejia had Tommy John surgery in June 2011. He made five September appearances last year, but has been on the DL since the end of spring training with elbow inflammation. Collins said: “We wanted him to understand — what he’s hearing today about (Zack) Wheeler, (Matt) Harvey, was all about Jenrry Mejia three years ago in the same vain.” ... Gonzalez was still gushing about Jason Heyward’s game-ending diving catch Monday night, saying it might’ve been the best catch he’s seen all season. ... It was “Star Wars” night at Citi Field. ... There was a sunshower before the game.