Chris Young, who had not walked a batter in two straight starts, appeared to be finding his form in his return to the Mets' rotation.
The 6-foot-10 right-hander took a step back against the Atlanta Braves, when his poor start set the pace for an ugly night for New York's staff.
Young gave up five runs in only three innings and the Mets couldn't overcome an early five-run deficit in Friday night's 7-5 loss to the Braves.
Young (2-3) gave up five runs, six hits and three walks in three innings. His three walks came in the first inning, setting an ugly pace for Mets pitchers.
"Nothing was as sharp as it needed to be," Young said.
"I had trouble finding my rhythm early. You're going to have nights like that over the course of the season. I needed to do a better job limiting the damage. Had I done so, I think we could have won the game. I just dug us in too big a hole."
Young allowed no more than three runs in any of his first six starts this season. Making his return from shoulder surgery last May, he made his first start on June 5. Friday night was his shortest outing of the season.
"There are no excuses," Young said. "I need to be better and that's it."
Mets pitchers issued a season-high 11 walks and allowed 10 hits.
"A little frustrating," manager Terry Collins said. "Eleven bases on balls, 21 baserunners, you're not going to win many games.
"We've said it many, many times: When we pitch, we have a chance to win. And when we don't pitch it's tough for us, because we don't have a lot of power."
David Ross hit a three-run homer off Young in the third inning and Chipper Jones also connected.
Ross filled in for catcher Brian McCann, who was on paternity leave as his wife, Ashley, delivered a son on Friday. Ross said McCann sent a photo of the baby named, Colt.
"He wished me luck," Ross said. "I told him 'Don't worry about me.' His life is about to change. ... I'm glad to play well for him."
Ross had three walks, including a bases-loaded pass from Young in the first inning.
The Braves survived a crisis at shortstop. They chose to wait to replace rookie Andrelton Simmons, who broke his right little finger on Sunday and will be out at least a month. Atlanta then lost shortstop Jack Wilson with another pinkie injury.
"Well, the worse-case scenario happened," said manager Fredi Gonzalez, who said the team held off on making a move while exploring options through trades and in the minors.
Wilson dislocated the middle joint of his right little finger sliding while chasing a grounder in the fourth inning. Wilson's exit forced Martin Prado, the starter in left field, to play shortstop for the first time in four years.
The Braves said X-rays on Wilson were negative and he is day to day.
Gonzalez said he doesn't expect Wilson to be placed on the disabled list.
Jones hit his 49th career homer against the Mets in the sixth off Josh Edgin, who was making his major league debut.
Cristhian Martinez (4-1) pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth. He gave up one walk with two strikeouts in one inning.
Craig Kimbrel earned his NL-leading 26th save with three strikeouts in the ninth.
The third-inning homer by Ross gave the Braves a 5-0 lead, but the Mets scored four runs in the fourth to knock Tim Hudson out of the game.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis had a two-run single, Scott Hairston drove in a run with a double and Ruben Tejada added a run-scoring single.
Edgin, a left-hander called up from Triple-A Buffalo before the game, entered in the fifth after Miguel Batista loaded the bases with three walks. Edgin struck out pinch-hitter Juan Francisco and Michael Bourn to end the inning.
The Mets couldn't score after loading the bases with no outs in the fifth. Hudson gave up a single to David Wright before walking Ike Davis. Martinez walked Lucas Duda to load the bases before striking out Hairston and Nieuwenhuis and ending the inning on Jose Thole's flyball to center.
Edgin gave up two runs in the sixth. After Jones' two-out homer, Freeman doubled off Edgin and scored on Dan Uggla's single off Ramon Ramirez.
"A very impressive, tough situation for him to come into," Collins said of Edgin. "He just made a mistake to Chipper and Chipper does what Chipper does when you make mistakes."
Pinch-hitter Ronny Cedeno doubled off Braves left-hander Eric O'Flaherty and scored on a single by Andres Torres in the eighth.
Jones' homer left him tied with Mike Schmidt for second place on the career list for most RBIs by third basemen at 1,595. George Brett is first with 1,596.
Jones, who also had a double, has a 14-game hitting streak.
NOTES: A Turner Field power outage in the second inning caused a delay of 16 minutes. ... The Mets did not sign their second-round draft pick, RHP Teddy Stankiewicz of Fort Worth Christian H.S. in Richland Hills, Texas, by Friday's deadline. The Braves didn't sign C Levi Borders, an 11th-round pick from Winter Haven (Fla.) H.S. He is the son of former major league catcher Pat Borders. ... The Braves signed RHP Matt Kimbrel, the younger brother of Atlanta's closer. Matt Kimbrel was a 31st-round pick. ... Mets LF Jason Bay (concussion) was 0-3 with a walk as the designated hitter for Class A St. Lucie at Tampa. ... Collins said closer Frank Francisco, on the DL with a left oblique strain, will not throw on Saturday as had been planned. Collins said Francisco "just didn't feel right." ... The Mets said RHP Dillon Gee, who was placed on the 15-day DL, had successful right shoulder surgery. He could miss the remainder of the season. ... The series continues Saturday as Braves RHP Tommy Hanson faces Mets All-Star RHP R.A. Dickey.