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Braves Pound Out 16 Hits, Bludgeon Mets

NEW YORK — A cathartic early-season offensive outburst by the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night sent the New York Mets another loss closer toward crisis mode.

Tyler Flowers tied a career high with four RBIs, and six Braves players collected at least two hits apiece as Atlanta routed the Mets 8-2 in a battle of skidding teams at Citi Field.

The win snapped a six-game losing streak by the Braves, who scored just 15 runs during a skid in which four of their defeats were by two runs or fewer.

“It was due to happen at some point,” said Flowers, who laced a three-run double to cap a five-run first inning before he delivered an RBI single in the fifth to cap the fourth four-RBI game of his career. “We’ve been in the majority of every game this season. It’s just a matter of coming up with the big hit or big play or big pitch, whatever it is.

“We knew at some point it’d start to go out way, we’d get the big hit. And I just happened to get a few of them tonight.”

Matt Kemp and Nick Markakis had RBI singles earlier in the first, when the Braves (7-12) lost out on at least another run after Brandon Phillips over-slid second after successfully stealing second base.

Ender Inciarte (double) and Jace Peterson (single) added run-scoring hits in the seventh.

Markakis finished with three hits. Flowers, Kemp, Peterson, Freddie Freeman and Adonis Garcia had two hits each.

“It’s just nice to score some runs — even the add-on runs, we haven’t been able to do that lately,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “We just haven’t quite hit our stride offensively, but it’s getting there.”

The early run support was more than enough for right-hander Julio Teheran, who batted (and made the final out of the top of the first) before he threw a pitch. Teheran (2-1) picked up the win after allowing two runs, four hits and four walks while striking out four in 6 1/3 innings.

“Gives you all the confidence whenever we start a game like that,” Teheran said. “Nothing to worry (about). Just try to go out there, make pitching and put the ball in play.”

The Mets, on the other hand, have plenty to worry about after losing for the ninth time in 10 games. New York (8-12) has scored just 28 runs in that stretch, during which it has taken seven losses by three runs or fewer.

“You always know you’re going to have a bad streak, but I thought we were way too good of an offensive club to struggle this bad,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “At this level, you’ve got to grind it out. You can’t feel sorry for yourself.”

Neil Walker and Rene Rivera had sacrifice flies for the Mets, who began the day with the third-most homers in the National League (29) but also its lowest batting average (.208). Three everyday players — Walker, Jose Reyes and Curtis Granderson — are batting below .200.

“It could happen pretty soon,” Collins said when asked if it was time to worry about the Mets. “We’ve just got to quit worrying about home runs and start worrying about good swings.”

Jay Bruce reached base four times, via two hits and two walks.

Right-hander Robert Gsellman (0-2) took the loss after giving up six runs (five earned), 10 hits and three walks while striking out two in four-plus innings.

NOTES: The Mets recalled INF/OF Matt Reynolds from Triple-A Las Vegas and optioned LHP Sean Gilmartin to the same affiliate. … Mets 3B Jose Reyes batted eighth for the first time since July 11, 2003. He went 1-for-3 with a stolen base to raise his batting average to .114. … Braves 2B Brandon Phillips singled in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 11 games but left in the top of the second due to a sore left groin. Manager Brian Snitker said Phillips was injured while over-sliding second base on a stolen-base attempt but that he could be available to pinch-hit Thursday. … Braves RHP Matt Wisler made his season debut and closed out the game with two scoreless innings.

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