R.A. Dickey gave the Mets a chance, even making it look as if Dan Uggla's hitting streak would come to an end.
Once the knuckleballer was gone, Uggla extended his career-best streak to 26 games with a two-run single in the eighth that gave the Braves a comfortable lead in a 4-1 win over New York on Friday night.
"I thought today was going to be the day, I was ready," Uggla said. "It's getting ridiculous."
Uggla went 0 for 3 against Dickey and is 0 for 18 in his career, but he hit a two-run single off Ryota Igarashi to help hand the Mets their fifth straight loss.
Despite another sold outing, Dickey lost his 10th game for the first time in his career. Other than a shaky third inning, the knuckleballer gave the Braves little opportunity to break open the game.
"He's pitched a lot better than his numbers dictate," manager Terry Collins said. "He's kept us in games, he's given us chances. He gives up two, he gives up three. I mean, those are good starts."
Dickey gave up five hits and two runs. He struck out five without walking a batter.
Jose Constanza had an RBI triple and Michael Bourn a sacrifice fly for Atlanta off Dickey (5-10). Constanza made two acrobatic catches on drives by Jose Reyes in left field and Heyward made a diving grab on Daniel Murphy's drive in right.
"They run balls down," Hudson said. "It's nice. It's normal Braves baseball. ... It's a fun style of baseball and it's nice to have it on your side for a change."
The Mets have not scored more than three runs during the skid that dropped them below .500 for the first time since July 18. More pressing, New York fell nine games behind the wild card-leading Braves.
"We've got to consistently play good baseball. It's not about beating teams ahead of you right now," Mets third baseman David Wright said. "It's about going out there and putting together a run or trying to put together quality baseball. I'm sensing that we can do that right now. We played so well for that stretch in the middle of that last road trip, and since then, it's really been a struggle."
Hudson did not allow more than three runs for his 11th straight start, improving to 7-2 in that span. On June 5 he gave up five runs against the Mets.
He retired nine straight after Wright's RBI double high off the wall in left-center. Angel Pagan's two-out walk in the fourth ended that stretch, and Jason Bay's ground-rule double and Lucas Duda being hit with a pitch loaded the bases.
Josh Thole then popped out, falling to 1 for 9 with the bases full and two outs.
Uggla got his two-run single off Ryota Igarashi in the eighth.
Duda hit a drive leading off the seventh that got a rise out of the crowd at Citi Field but it fell into Heyward's glove just in front of the wall in right-center of the expansive ballpark.
Getting the call from the minors last week when Nate McLouth went on the disabled list, Constanza ripped a liner into right-center that drove in Alex Gonzalez for the first run. Constanza stumbled around third when he was held up at the last second for a triple.
McLouth had sports hernia surgery on Thursday and will be out at least six weeks, offering Constanza steady playing time.
Bourn hit a sacrifice fly to left for the 2-1 lead.
Notes: The Mets wore blue jerseys with "Los Mets" written across the chest in honor of Fiesta Latina Night. ... Braves 3B Chipper Jones (tight right quadriceps) was held out of the Braves lineup for one more game. He said he was ready to play but Atlanta held him out as a precaution. Jones should start Saturday. He will rest Sunday because he's been limited to pinch-hitting duties since returning from arthroscopic surgery on June 25. ... Mets 1B Ike Davis (bone bruise, left ankle) is likely done for the season. Out since getting hurt May 10, Davis will stop running for four weeks before being reevaluated.