Young digs hole, and Mets' comeback stalls

Chris Young pitches to the Braves. (July 13, Chris Young pitches to the Braves. (July 13, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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ATLANTA -- "Fire time."

Without realizing it, Terry Collins coined a slogan for these next few weeks, a period that could make or break the Mets' season.

The catchphrase was in response to a question about the pressure facing rookie reliever Josh Edgin, who was called up for Friday's game at Turner Field. But it really applies to this Mets as a whole, and Collins' crew suffered a meltdown -- as well as a blackout -- during Friday's 7-5 loss to the Braves.

Chris Young (2-3) was primarily responsible, allowing six hits and a season-high five runs in only three innings. The big blast was David Ross' three-run homer with two outs in the third. The Mets, who stranded 10, never recovered.

"It's a mistake you can't make, and I did," Young said. "He's a down-and-in hitter and that's where I put it. It was my worst pitch of the night."

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The Mets rallied for four runs in the fourth inning but never got any closer than 5-4 despite loading the bases with none out in the fifth. Their six pitchers totaled 11 walks -- only Edgin failed to surrender one -- and Miguel Batista had four in only 11/3 innings to raise his total to 28 in 42 innings.

"We've said it many, many times," Collins said. "When we pitch, we have a chance to win. When we don't pitch, it's tough for us because we don't have a lot of power."

The Braves went deep twice. Chipper Jones had a solo shot off Edgin in the sixth inning.

Edgin entered in the fifth with the bases loaded and one out. He struck out Juan Francisco and Michael Bourn to escape that jam and also retired the first two Braves in the sixth.

"I like it," Edgin said of the high-intensity spot. "That's where I want to be."

There was no shame in serving up a long home run to a future Hall of Famer on a hanging slider. But Collins brought the curtain down on Edgin after he surrendered a double on the next pitch to Freddie Freeman, who scored when Dan Uggla drilled an RBI single off Ramon Ramirez to put Atlanta ahead 7-4.

The loss dropped the Mets 51/2 games behind the Nationals in the NL East race. As for the wild card, they trail the Reds and Braves by 1½ games.

In a strange Friday the 13th, Turner Field went dark for 16 minutes because of a power outage -- on the 35th anniversary of the Shea lights going out during the 1977 New York blackout. Now the Mets can't let the same happen to their playoff hopes.

"The next month will determine a lot," Collins said Friday afternoon. "We're going to know how we're standing when we get to Aug. 1. If we're still in the dogfight."

Young never looked comfortable, starting in the first inning with Michael Bourn's leadoff double. One out later, Jason Heyward somehow got a chopper over the head of the 6-11 Young for an infield single that drove in Bourn. The Braves took a 2-0 lead when Young issued three straight walks to force in a run.

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The Mets chipped away at Tim Hudson for four runs in the fourth with a rally ignited by David Wright's leadoff double. Scott Hairston drove in the first run with a double and Kirk Nieuwenhuis delivered a two-run single that trimmed the Mets' deficit to 5-3. Ruben Tejada singled to right with two outs to knock in the fourth run.

If healthy, Young's rotation spot is safe, and after what amounted to a cameo role Friday, when he threw 71 pitches in three innings, he should be fine to make his next start Wednesday in Washington.

"I had to do a better job limiting the damage," Young said. "I dug too deep a hole."

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