ATLANTA — Kameron Loe’s long wait for another start in the majors didn’t go as planned.
Loe gave up five runs in 41/3 innings and the Atlanta Braves lost to Dillon Gee and the New York Mets 5-2 on Wednesday to end an otherwise strong homestand.
The NL East-leading Braves were 7-2 in the homestand while winning two of three against the Mets.
The Mets had 12 hits, including 11 against Loe (0-2).
Lucas Duda had three hits, including a home run, and Andrew Brown added a towering two-run shot for the Mets, who took a 5-0 lead in the third.
Freddie Freeman homered off Mets reliever Vic Black with two outs in the eighth, but that was the end of the comeback.
Loe filled in for Julio Teheran, who was given a rest. It was a possible sign of things to come this month as the Braves, who began the day 15 games ahead of second-place Washington, move closer to the postseason.
“We were hoping he’d give us five or six innings and he was just an out or two short of that,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
At least two Mets hitters reached base in each of Loe’s innings.
“It’s a disappointment,” Loe said. “I battled out there and gave it everything I had but I fell short today. I’ll definitely improve on that.
“I’ve been pitching much better than I did today lately. I know I’m better than that.”
Loe, 33-43 in nine seasons with Texas, Milwaukee, Seattle, the Cubs and Braves, had pitched only in relief since making his last start with Texas in 2007. He was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday and struggled in every inning against the Mets.
By contrast, Gee (11-9) rarely was threatened. He allowed one run on four hits and one walk.
“My main goals coming out of spring training this year were to get to 200 innings and take the ball every time it was my turn,” Gee said. “I’ve done that so far and want to do it some more. I’ve just got to stay focused.”
Braves third baseman Elliot Johnson said Gee’s control made him difficult to beat.
“He’s got four pitches that he’s throwing in the strike zone whenever he feels like it,” Johnson said. “If you’ve got four pitches that you can command, it’s going to be a tough day at the plate.”
LaTroy Hawkins gave up a double to Elliot Johnson to lead off the ninth. Dan Uggla and pinch-hitter Andrelton Simmons popped up and Hawkins earned his seventh save when pinch-hitter Chris Johnson struck out.
With one out in the first, Daniel Murphy tripled and Brown hit a homer that landed about halfway up the lower level of seats in left field.
Duda’s homer was the start of the Mets’ three-run third inning.
The low point for Atlanta in the inning came when center fielder B.J. Upton and left fielder Evan Gattis watched Gee’s fly ball fall to the ground in the gap. The ball dropped closer to Upton, who stopped running and then looked at Gattis. Juan Lagares scored on the play.
Braves fans cheered when Gonzalez came to the mound to remove Loe in the fifth after the right-hander walked Gee.
Freddy Garcia and Anthony Varvaro combined to allow only one hit in 4 2-3 scoreless innings behind Loe.
Gonzalez rested Simmons, third baseman Chris Johnson and catcher Brian McCann.
The Braves had only one hit, a single by Paul Janish in the second, before scoring once in the fifth. Upton’s sacrifice fly drove in Uggla, who singled and moved to third on Paul Janish’s second single.
NOTES: Braves CF Jordan Schafer, who has a bruised left quadriceps, was removed from the original lineup. ... Collins said he doesn’t expect 1B Ike Davis to return this season from his strained right oblique. Davis had an anti-inflammatory injection on Tuesday in New York. ... Both teams are off on Thursday. The Mets open a series in Cleveland on Friday night when RHP Zack Wheeler faces LHP Scott Kazmir. The Braves play at Philadelphia Friday night as LHP Mike Minor faces LHP Cliff Lee.
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