ATLANTA - Yoenis Cespedes says he's just one part of the New York Mets. You can be sure it is a very large part.
The Cuban center fielder hit a home run and drove in three runs and rookie Steven Matz pitched five strong innings as the Mets won their fifth in a row with a 5-1 win over the Atlanta Braves on Friday night.
"It is not about me, it is about the team," Cespedes said through a translator. "I am one part of the team. To be producing, and seeing the team winning, and everybody chipping in for one purpose. That is to play in the playoffs and hopefully we can bring the big trophy to the city."
With Washington losing to Miami 2-1, the Mets lead the NL East by a season-high 8 1/2 games.
"We have 21 left," said Mets manager Terry Collins. "We have to go out and play the games. We have to win games. I'll be happy when we have an 8 ½ game lead with eight to play."
Cespedes hit a two-run homer in the ninth and had a line-drive double in the third that scored Curtis Granderson. Cespedes has seven home runs in his last 10 games and 100 RBI for the season. He has 39 RBI in 38 games with the Mets, who acquired him on July 31 from the Tigers.
"He's getting up with guys on base and he's getting big hits," Collins said. "He's a great player and a great hitter."
Matz allowed one run and six hits as he improved to 3-0 in four career starts and lowered his ERA to 1.88 against an anemic Braves offense that is last in the majors in runs. It was Matz's second start since returning from the disabled list and he felt he didn't have his command like he wanted to.
"I'm not quite where I left off, but there are spurts where I'm feeling really good on the mound," Matz said.
Rookie Matt Wisler (5-7) took the loss for the Braves after allowing two runs in five innings. Wisler has lost six straight decisions for the Braves, who have dropped 22 of their last 25 games. Atlanta has lost 10 straight at Turner Field, tying the franchise single-season home losing streak.
"Wisler was outstanding," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "He really was. He pounded the strike zone, made some good pitches when he had to."
The win was the 80th on the season for the Mets, marking the first time New York has reached that milestone since 2008.
Mets: Pitching coach Dan Warthen returned to the team after missing Thursday's game and spending one night in an Atlanta hospital with a racing heartbeat. The team announced the heartbeat "corrected itself" and Warthen was back with the team Friday. . RHP Hansel Robles remains in the Dominican Republic attending to a death in the family.
Braves: OF Cameron Maybin missed his sixth straight game with an eye infection. He is day to day and available for pinch-running duty. ... RHP Ross Detwiler will be out indefinitely with a hamstring injury suffered during Thursday night's 16-pitch outing.
Mets: Rookie Noah Syndergaard (8-6, 3.31) will return to the mound after his last turn was skipped. His last start was Aug. 30, when he got a no-decision in a 5-4 win over the Red Sox. Syndergaard lost to the Braves on June 20, giving up four runs in four innings during a 6-4 defeat.
Braves: Rookie Williams Perez (5-6, 5.42) opposed Syndergaard on June 20 and picked up the win, surrendering four runs in six innings.
The Braves and Mets wore caps honoring New York City First Responders during batting practice and caps with American flags on the side during the game to commemorate the anniversary of the terrorist attacks in 2001. The Braves and Mets were involved in one of baseball's memorable moments 10 days after the attacks. On Sept. 21, 2001, Mike Piazza hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning to lift the Mets to a 3-2 win over the Braves in the first major sporting event to be held in the city.
Center fielder Michael Bourn made the best of three stellar defensive plays by the Braves. In the fifth inning, Bourn made a leaping catch and crashed into the wall on a ball hit by Michael Conforto that appeared headed well over his head. Castro made an outstanding stop one batter later, diving to prevent what appeared to be a base hit to center field by Ruben Tejada. In the fourth, Freeman saved a run with an outstanding stop on a hard grounder by Daniel Murphy.