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Dillon Gee's return a success as Mets win fourth straight

Mets pitcher Matt Harvey embraces starting pitcher Dillon

Mets pitcher Matt Harvey embraces starting pitcher Dillon Gee after he comes out of the game in the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves in an MLB baseball game at Citi Field on Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Of course, the Mets don't want to be just another statistic. But, in baseball, there is no avoiding excess numerical data, so here goes:

Wednesday night's 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves gave the Mets their first four-game winning streak in a full year. (The previous four-game streak ended last July 12.) Though still groveling a bit with a 42-49 record, they have won five of their last six.

This one began with their 62nd first-inning run. Most in the majors. It was punctuated by Travis d'Arnaud's two-run homer in the seventh -- the Mets' 23rd in their last 21 games. Most in the National League.

And, prominent among the averages, means and medians were the figures posted by starting pitcher Dillion Gee, fresh off the disabled list two months after straining his latissimus dorsi -- the broad muscle in his back.

"You never know" whether the sharpness will be there, Gee said. "You always have days where you just can't find it. But I felt confident, based on my last rehab starts. This was one of those nights where were super aggressive, and fortunately, they were hitting it at people."

Gee (4-1, 2.56) pitched seven-plus masterful innings, allowing just six hits -- five of those after the fifth inning, one of them a bunt. His only walk was to the game's first batter, B.J. Upton.

Gee struck out four and, through those first five innings, had the small Citi Field crowd at Golly!, escorted off with a standing ovation. He left with no outs in the eighth after Tommy La Stella singled to center and Gerald Laird beat out a bunt, having thrown only 85 pitches.

Vic Black got pinch hitter Ryan Doumit on a force out, Upton on a strikeout and Andrelton Simmons on a deep fly to left. Jenrry Mejia pitched a scoreless ninth for his ninth save.

Gee "sailed along about as good as you can do," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Made pitch after pitch. It's the Dillon Gee we've known and loved. He's a different animal. He just locates like crazy."

More integers and digits: The Mets, remarkably, left just one runner on base: Lucas Duda was stranded at first in the first after his two-out single scored Daniel Murphy, who had doubled.

Meanwhile, that first-inning Mets run stood up until the sixth, when Atlanta starter Ervin Santana (7-6, 4.01) legged out a weak dribbler down the third-base line with two outs and Upton sent him home with a double to the left-centerfield wall.

For Gee and the Mets, it was helpful that Upton was caught between second and third and was thrown out -- by the numbers -- 8-4-3-5.

And better, yet, their success at what Collins calls "situational hitting:" Tied 1-1 in the seventh, David Wright's double was followed by Duda's hefty fly out to right -- which got Wright to third -- and, after Bobby Abreu's walk, Kirk Nieuwenhuis' stinging line drive to right.

Jason Heyward flagged Nieuwenhuis' blow, but it was deep enough to score Wright. D'Arnaud followed with his sixth homer.

"What's different is that right now we're making contact and doing some little things," Collins said. "Part of playing the game right is, when you've got to get a guy over, get him over. Just what we needed."

So, lately, the Mets haven't been numbed by the numbers.

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