ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves took advantage of Daniel Murphy's error to score two runs in the ninth inning off Francisco Rodriguez and beat the New York Mets 6-5 on Wednesday night for their season-best sixth straight win.
With the game tied and runners on first and second with two outs, former Mets outfielder Ryan Church hit a grounder to first base. The in-between hopper hit off a charging Murphy, who then failed to catch the deflected ball, which gave David Ross time to score the winning run from second base.
Rodriguez (3-5) gave up only one hit in the ninth but couldn't hold a 5-4 lead. It was his sixth blown save in 37 chances and another demoralizing loss for the Mets this season.
Omir Santos gave New York the lead with his first career pinch-hit homer in the eighth off Mike Gonzalez, who recorded only one out before leaving the game with a stiff back.
The Braves began the day five games behind Colorado in the NL wild-card race.
Eric O'Flaherty (2-1) pitched the ninth for the win in a game that was delayed by rain for 1 hour, 56 minutes.
Rodriguez gave up a leadoff double down the right-field line to Garret Anderson before hitting Brian McCann with a pitch.
Pinch-runners Reid Gorecki and Ross advanced on Yunel Escobar's sacrifice bunt. Adam LaRoche, who had two homers in the Braves' 6-0 win on Tuesday night, was issued an intentional walk to load the bases. Gorecki easily scored the tying run on Omar Infante fly ball to center field.
New York has found improbable ways to lose all year: Murphy, who switched to first base after Carlos Delgado was injured, dropped a fly ball in left field, Church missed third base while rounding the bag and Luis Castillo flubbed Alex Rodriguez's ninth-inning popup at Yankee Stadium.
Braves right-hander Derek Lowe gave up three runs in two innings before leaving the game with a blister on his right ring finger.
Lowe made his shortest start of the season, giving up five hits and three runs, two earned, with two walks and two strikeouts.
Lowe appeared to be bothered by his hand from the start of the game. He looked at his hand on his walk from the mound to the dugout after the first inning before giving up three runs in the second.
Jeff Francoeur, acquired by the Mets for Church on July 10, singled off Lowe to lead off the second and advanced when Jeremy Reed was safe on McCann's catcher's interference on his swing. Castillo's two-out walk loaded the bases and set up Josh Thole's two-run single. David Wright drove in Castillo with a single for a 3-0 lead.
Infante doubled off Bobby Parnell in the second and scored on Church's single.
The Braves added two runs in the third. Martin Prado doubled and scored on McCann's double past a diving Francoeur in right field. Infante drove in McCann with a single, tying the game at 3.
Parnell walked Nate McLouth, who moved to third on Prado's second double of the game in the fourth. McLouth scored on Thole's passed ball on left-hander Ken Takahashi's pitch to Anderson for a 4-3 Braves lead.
The Mets pulled even in the fifth on Reed's RBI single.
Parnell gave up seven hits and four runs, three earned, in 3 1-3 innings.
NOTES: Fans who endured the long rain delay were invited to move to seats closer to the field after the first inning, leaving the lower level closer to half-full. ... The Mets had 16 hits and stranded 14 baserunners. ... Santos hit his first homer since July 25 at Houston. ... Braves 3B Chipper Jones missed his third straight start with a strained oblique and lower back pain. He struck out in the eighth as a pinch-hitter.