ATLANTA—Looking to build on a strong performance out of Mike Pelfrey on Monday night, the Mets sent their ace Johan Santana to the mound against the Braves.

Santana had one bad inning the entire game, and it was the third. In that frame, he allowed four consecutive hits, including a two-run home run to Troy Glaus after getting the first two outs.

The Mets would trail 2-0, and they didn’t get a hit off Kris Medlen until the fourth. In the fifth, Ike Davis led off the inning with his fourth home run of the season. Two batters later, former Braves great Jeff Francoeur hit his fifth home run of the season to tie the game at 2-2.

After the four consecutive hits that Santana allowed in the third, he didn’t allow another baserunner the entire outing, retiring the final 13 batters that faced him. Once again, though, the Mets offense was as flat as a pancake, even against a fill-in pitcher in Medlen.

With two on in the seventh, Braves reliever Peter Moylan came in to induce a double-play grounder off Francoeur to end the inning.

In the ninth, still tied 2-2 and facing their former closer Billy Wagner for the first time since his trade last August, the Mets wasted a chance at a lead.

Luis Castillo led off with an infield single. He moved to second on a wild pitch by Wagner, and pinch-hitter Gary Matthews Jr. bunted him over to third with only one out. Wagner would rebound to strike out David Wright—who had three in the game—and Davis to escape the jam unscathed.

In the home ninth, the Braves’ Brian McCann led off against Pedro Feliciano with a single to right. Jenrry Mejia came into the game and walked Yunel Escobar, who was trying to bunt. Then Melky Cabrera hit a slow ground ball to third base. Wright threw to first, but the ball eluded Davis and went down the right field line, allowing the winning run to score.

For the Mets, it was a devastating loss, as they blew a game with their ace on the mound. Not only did the Mets’ offense continue to struggle, but Wright continued to whiff as well. He now leads the National League with 52 strikeouts and lost the game on an error.

So the Mets will go to Washington for the first time this season for two, facing a team that gave them a hard time at Citi Field last week. With the losses, the Mets fell back into last place in the NL East.

Next series probable pitchers

May 19

New York: R.A. Dickey (2009: 1-1, 4.62 ERA) vs. Washington: Livan Hernandez (2010: 4-2, 1.46 ERA)

May 20

New York: John Maine (2010: 1-2, 6.13 ERA) vs. Washington: Luis Atilano (2010: 3-0, 3.90 ERA)


Upcoming schedule

New York Mets

May 19-20 @ Washington Nationals
May 21-23 vs. New York Yankees

Washington Nationals

May 19-20 vs. New York Mets
May 21-23 vs. Baltimore Orioles

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