Braves hand Mets' Marcum another loss

Chris Johnson hit a three-run homer, B.J. Upton came through with an RBI double and Kris Medlen gave seven-plus solid innings in an Atlanta Braves' 5-3 victory over the New York Mets.

Medlen (4-7) was charged with three runs -- although just one was earned -- while scattering six hits and striking out seven. He has never lost (4-0) in 17 appearances against the Mets.

Craig Kimbrel notched his 20th save with a 1-2-3 ninth, Johnson and Upton each had two hits apiece and Jordan Schafer scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch from Shaun Marcum, who remains winless on the campaign for New York.

Marlon Byrd, Lucas Duda and John Buck each scored during a three-run fifth for the Mets, who had just six hits.

Marcum (0-9) was tagged for all five runs on six hits and four walks over 4 2/3 innings. He's the first Met to drop his first nine decisions since Anthony Young started the 1993 campaign 0-13.

"He's had some rough starts but he's also pitched very well at times," said Mets manager Terry Collins. "Today he just didn't throw as many strikes as he usually does."

The winner of this rare five-game set will be decided by the victor of Thursday's series finale.

Neither team was producing much offensively until the Braves took control on Johnson's homer.

Upton and Dan Uggla each reached with two-out singles in front of Johnson's three-run blast, which landed in the first few rows of seats in left center.

"I've been telling myself, hopefully the homers come, you just can't force them," said Johnson. "Just try and keep a good swing and hopefully the ball goes out of the ballpark."

Atlanta's attempt for a triple play ended disastrously in the fifth, with a pair of runs for New York coming home as a result of an error from Medlen.

Buck ripped a shot right back to Medlen with runners on first and second, but the pitcher's throw to third sailed wide of the bag, and both runners came home while Buck went to second.

The Mets drew even, 3-3, when Nieuwenhuis's shallow fly ball into right field fell in for a hit, but were quickly back in a hole when Marcum fell apart in the bottom of half of fifth.

Schafer tagged him for a leadoff double, then eventually came home on a wild pitch to put the Braves back in front. Freeman had reached with a walk and Upton plated him with a double to send Marcum packing.

"Seems like every mistake is getting hit, if not in the gap, then over the fence," said Marcum. "I guess its part of the game, you just have to live with it."

Lucas Duda and Josh Satin had lead off singles to start the seventh and eighth innings, respectively, but neither reached second base and New York went down in order in the final frame.

Game Notes

Eric Young Jr., acquired in a trade from Colorado on Tuesday night, made his Mets debut. He went 1-for-4 ... Marcum is the third Met pitcher ever to lose his first nine decisions. Bob Miller was the other to accomplish the feat, starting the 1962 season 0-12 ... New York placed pitcher Scott Atchison on the 15-day disabled list and recalled outfielder Andrew Brown from Triple-A Las Vegas prior to the game ... The Braves optioned pitcher Cory Rasmus to Triple-A Gwinnett before the contest ... Medlen stole the first base of his career when he swiped second in the sixth inning.