Despite having rain postpone Saturday’s game, Gonzalez and Collins were pleased that their clubs looked better the night before as the Mets rallied for a 7-5 victory in 10 innings.
Atlanta and New York have suffered from inconsistency at the plate beyond a few players off to good starts.
The Braves have been led by Justin Upton, the NL player of the month for April, NL rookie of the month Evan Gattis and Chris Johnson, who began Friday as the NL batting leader. But B.J. Upton, Dan Uggla and injured right fielder Jason Heyward are all hitting .179 or worse.
The good news for Atlanta, which has scored at least six runs only three times in the past 15 games, is six-time All-Star catcher Brian McCann should be back from the disabled list soon. McCann, who underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum last October, could be activated Monday at Cincinnati.
Heyward will likely need another couple of weeks to recover from an appendectomy. When he returns, the Braves hope he flashes the talent that resulted in 27 homers, 82 RBIs and 21 stolen bases last year.
The Mets had gone 4-8 over their previous 12 games and were hitting .202 with runners in scoring position over that span, but John Buck, the NL RBI leader, had not disappointed, and the same was true of David Wright and Lucas Duda.
But Collins gave struggling first baseman Ike Davis the night off, and center fielder Collin Cowgill was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas before the game after hitting .155 with one homer and five RBIs in his previous 46 at-bats.
The Mets rediscovered their power stroke Friday.
Buck kept up his torrid pace with a two-run homer in the first inning, and Lucas Duda followed with a solo shot in the second before Mike Minor settled down and retired the next 18 batters he faced.
In the eighth, New York became one of the few teams this year to solve a Braves bullpen that led the majors with a 1.94 ERA and was tied for the best opponents’ batting average at .208.
“Usually when you give our guys a lead, they’re going to shut it down,” Gonzalez said. “But they ended up getting four runs against our bullpen from the eighth inning on. That doesn’t usually happen against our guys.”
Former Sprayberry High School standout Marlon Byrd homered off setup man Eric O’Flaherty to force a 4-all tie in the eighth. Wright homered off Atlanta Craig Kimbrel, one of the majors’ most dominant closers over the last three years, to make it 5-5 in the ninth.
After scoring two runs in the 10th off Jordan Walden, the Mets had their first victory since Sept. 18, 1993 when trailing in the ninth at Atlanta.
Collins called it the most important victory of the year.
“I think it is, coming in here facing these guys who are leading the league,” Collins said. “It’s pretty special.”
Today’s game was expected to go on as scheduled even with heavy rain forecast in metro Atlanta until 9 a.m.
Saturday starter Jonathon Niese (2-2) is scheduled to pitch for New York, in place of young ace Matt Harvey. Julio Teheran’s place in the Braves’ rotation will be skipped in favor of Tim Hudson (3-1).
On Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox, the Mets hope to get another boost from Harvey, the NL pitcher of the month who went 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA and a .156 opponents’ batting average in six April starts.
The Braves announced that a makeup date for Saturday has yet to be determined. Tickets already purchased can be exchanged for the makeup game or for another game this season subject to availability.
Atlanta, which began the day with a 2½-game lead over Washington in the NL East, has lost three straight and 11 of 16.
New York has won two in a row after losing six straight.