NEW YORK -- The Mets got big hits with the bases loaded and their bullpen was outstanding, for a change. If they keep that up, they'll have a much better chance of hanging on in the NL East.
Carlos Delgado hit a go-ahead double off the left-center fence to end New York's long stretch of bases-loaded futility, and the Mets broke loose in the eighth inning to rally past Atlanta 7-3 Tuesday night.
Delgado's clutch hit snapped New York's 3-for-42 skid with the bases loaded.
"Sometimes we as hitters, as players, put a little too much pressure on ourselves," Delgado said. "You've still got to see the ball and hit the ball. It's not like he's going to make up a pitch with the bases loaded."
One night after their six-game winning streak was snapped in Pittsburgh, the Mets won for the 10th time in 13 games and maintained their 1½-game division lead over Philadelphia.
An MRI earlier in the day showed the injured closer has increased swelling in his left elbow, so he's out indefinitely. The Mets don't know when he might be able to return to the mound, if at all, this season.
"We just have to pick up the slack and do the best we can. At this point, I don't even know what else the organization can do," Schoeneweis said. "It's nice to be on the other end of one of those games. Someone else's bullpen gave it up and ours didn't. It's amazing how that works sometimes."
With the Braves trying to hold on for their first one-run win on the road since Aug. 9 last year at Shea Stadium, Jeff Bennett (2-5) walked consecutive batters with one out in the eighth.
Carlos Beltran's dribbler for an infield single brought up Delgado, who popped out with the bases loaded to end the eighth inning Monday, keeping the score tied.
This time, he drove left-hander Will Ohman's pitch the other way and clapped his hands as he cruised into second with the Mets up 4-3.
"It's the toughest situation a bullpen can be put in and every reliever should crave it. I know I do," Ohman said. "I made a very below-average pitch to an above-average hitter and I paid for it. It doesn't matter how many times you get a guy out. The one time you don't stinks."
Easley singled off Julian Tavarez, and Castro's double made it 7-3.
Starting pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes stymied the Mets in his return from the minors, but Atlanta has lost eight of nine to fall a season-worst 14 games under .500.
The Mets improved to 3-7 this year against the Braves. The longtime rivals met for the first time since May 22 in Atlanta, where the Braves finished a four-game sweep that left them ahead of New York in the standings.
The teams have gone in opposite directions since.
New York gave Perez a 2-0 lead, scoring in the first inning for the ninth time in 12 games.
Jo-Jo Reyes started rolling from there, allowing only one more hit. He struck out five and walked three in six innings, retiring 13 of his final 14 batters.
"I think I just got the jitters. It's a different atmosphere. Once I settled down, I did good," the left-hander said.
Atlanta went ahead with three runs in the third. Perez walked leadoff batter Gregor Blanco, who scored on Chipper Jones' single. Brian McCann had an RBI groundout with the bases loaded and Jeff Francoeur added a sacrifice fly.
Ayala made his Mets debut in the seventh, taking the ball with runners at the corners from Perez, his buddy from Mexico. Ayala knocked down Infante with his first pitch and escaped the jam by inducing a popup and an easy fly.
"That probably kind of changed the momentum right there," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "To hold them right there probably was the turning point in the game."
Ayala was acquired Sunday from Washington for a player to be named.
- Before Delgado's double, left-handed hitters were batting .169 against Ohman.
- Jones, who leads the majors with a .365 batting average, has hit safely in all 10 games since coming off the disabled list.
- New York is 16-5 at home since June 29.
- Jose Reyes walked three times, tying a career high.
- It was the first time since June 24 that Perez allowed more than one run in a start at Shea Stadium.