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Juan Lagares' home run caps Mets' 7-run rally

New York Mets centerfielder Juan Lagares runs on

New York Mets centerfielder Juan Lagares runs on his three-run home run against the Atlanta Braves during the sixth inning of a game at Citi Field on Sunday, June 14, 2014. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Mets' biggest come-from-behind victory in more than four years had barely begun to brew. Yet deep in the Mets clubhouse in the middle of Sunday's improbable 10-8 victory over the Braves, closer Jeurys Familia predicted to anyone who would listen that he would be a busy man.

Soon, his prediction took shape, with the Mets tying a season high with four homers to erase what had been a demoralizing five-run deficit in the fourth inning.

"The energy on the bench was great," said Mets manager Terry Collins, who watched his team bounce back after a tough extra-innings loss the day before. "Tremendous."

Indeed, the rally revealed the colors beneath a Mets team that has labored under the weight of injuries.

Rookie Darrell Ceciliani bashed his first career homer in the fourth, then glided around the bases in the same pair of star-spangled lucky socks he's worn since before his promotion from Las Vegas.

Dilson Herrera followed with a homer of his own, and by the sixth with the rally in full swing, he jammed bright green Gatorade cups around his ears to offer his own comical take on rally caps.

"Just celebrating the moment," said Herrera, who would later make a critical defensive play.

Travis d'Arnaud blasted a two-run shot in the fifth, bringing the Mets to within one run and further energizing the dugout.

"I don't think anybody ever felt like we were out of it," he said. "It shows the fight and resiliency of this team."

Then in the sixth, Juan Lagares laughed his way back to the dugout as his teammates pointed to the likeness etched on the orange wrist-bands he received as a gift.

His three-run homer made it 10-8 after they had trailed 8-3. It was the Mets' biggest comeback since rallying from 6-1 down in the seventh to beat the Cardinals on Sept. 22, 2011. "That was an amazing win right there," Lagares said. "The whole team battled the whole game."

The Mets needed all the fight they could muster after the Braves knocked around Dillon Gee, adding yet another layer to a season in which he has twice been bounced from the starting rotation.

In the fourth, Gee was showered with boos when he departed following Juan Uribe's RBI single. In just 3 2/3 innings, Gee tied a career high with eight runs, on 11 hits, most of them blistering.

The Mets don't know when they'll need another spot start, though Gee is far from a guarantee to make it.

Top pitching prospect and Ward Melville product Steven Matz has impressed at Triple-A, where he has remained mostly because the Mets' rotation has lacked an opening.

That could change with Gee's struggles. He has allowed 12 runs in his two starts since coming off the disabled list with a groin injury. He didn't impress in his lone relief appearance, allowing a run in 1 2/3 innings. "It's been a tough go lately," Gee said.

But the Mets (34-30) took Gee off the hook, taking two of three from the Braves (30-33) to maintain a lead in the NL East. And as he'd predicted, Familia oversaw the final countdown, though he got some help.

Herrera squashed a rally in the eighth, when in one motion, he dived to his left and used only his glove to flip the ball to second for a forceout.

Familia recorded the final four outs, slamming the door, just as he envisioned when the Mets were hopelessly behind.

Said Collins: "That's the confidence in the room."


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