NEW YORK — The performance that Mike Pelfrey gave the Mets this afternoon was the exact opposite of what they were looking for.

Trying to rebound from a bad recent stretch of games, Pelfrey gave up four runs on 12 hits for the second time in his last three starts.

He scattered singles all over the field, and it took the Braves until their 10th hit to record a run. He walked the first man to face him to start the game, but Martin Prado was left stranded.

The Mets were flat offensively for a second straight game, getting shut down by Tim Hudson. Just like last night, Angel Pagan singled and stole second with one out in the first, but wasn’t driven in.

In the second, the Braves loaded the bases with two outs, when Melky Cabrera grounded out to end that threat.

In the third, Angel Pagan doubled with one out, but once again didn’t score. Pelfrey got out of huge trouble in the fourth.

After the Braves stringed together three hits to start the inning, loading the bases with none out, Pelfrey induced a comebacker for a double play. Melky Cabrera then grounded out, as the Braves didn’t come through.

The Mets got a leadoff walk from Ike Davis in the fourth, but the potential rally was killed when Jason Bay hit a double play grounder.

Finally, in the fifth, the Braves made some use of their hits. The Braves first five hitters all singled off Pelfrey, producing three runs, and knocking him out after four-plus inning pitched. Elmer Dessens came in and allowed another run on a double play, extending the Braves lead to 4-0.

Pelfrey was awful, allowing four runs on 12 hits, he struck out two and walked three.It was only a matter of time before the Braves put together run-producing hits.

Pelfrey has now pitched less than five innings in each of his last three starts.

The Mets tried coming back in the fifth, but after a Rod Barajas single, Alex Cora lined into a double play.

The Mets bullpen performed well, as the Braves didn’t score against Hisanori Takahashi and Fernando Nieve.

Takahashi made his first relief appearance since May 16, and pitched three shutout innings, allowing one hit. Fernando Nieve pitched a scoreless ninth.

In the sixth, it was more of the same for Angel Pagan. He led off with a single and stole second, but three batters later, Ike Davis hit a double play.

The Mets got an injury concern in the seventh. After Jose Reyes fielded a ground ball at short, David Wright noticed Reyes wince. Wright and Reyes got together, and Wright called Jerry Manuel out of the dugout. Reyes would come out of the game, and it was announced he will not play tomorrow or in the All-Star Game, although there is no major setback.

The Mets would go on to lose the game, 4-0, as they are now 1-4 on the home stand, falling five games out of first place in the NL East behind the Braves.

The Mets will hope to avoid getting swept tomorrow afternoon, with Johan Santana on the mound against Derek Lowe. It’s the final game before the All-Star Break.

*NL East standings (top 3 teams)
Atlanta 52-35
NY Mets 47-40 (5)
Philadelphia 45-40 (6)
*Does not include PHI result

Series probable pitchers:
July 11
New York: Johan Santana (2010: 6-5, 3.15 ERA) vs. Atlanta: Derek Lowe (2010: 9-7, 4.40 ERA)

*Upcoming schedule:
New York Mets:
July 11 vs. Atlanta Braves
July 15-18 @ San Francisco Giants

Atlanta Braves:
July 11 @ New York Mets
July 15-18 vs. Milwaukee Brewers

*All-Star break is July 12-14

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