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               === Braves go for split of quick set with Mets ===
 
 (Sports  Network) -  The Atlanta Braves almost erased an uncomfortable deficit
 against  the New York Mets in the opener of their two-game set, so they'll try
 for a split Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field.
 
 The Braves were down, 4-0, and rallied for three runs in the seventh inning to
 pull  within  a run. Ike  Davis, though, gave the  Mets some breathing room by
 leading off the bottom of the eighth inning with a solo home run.
 
 Brandon  Beachy  was trying to improve  to 3-0 since returning from Tommy John
 surgery,  but was dealt  the loss for giving up four runs, three of which were
 earned, and five hits in six innings. A three-run sixth inning put Beachy in a
 tough situation.
 
 "I  was hitting  spots. When I'm hitting spots and getting ahead, putting guys
 on  their heels a little bit, mixing it up well, I'm pretty effective," Beachy
 said. "But I just kind of ran into a buzz saw there in the sixth inning."
 
 Andrelton  Simmons provided  the scoring with a three-run double in the top of
 the  seventh inning and Freddie Freeman was the only Brave with multiple hits,
 going 2-for-4.
 
 Braves outfielder Justin Upton was scratched from Tuesday's lineup with a left
 upper back strain and could return for Wednesday's finale with New York. Upton
 was  replaced  by Evan  Gattis, who was  0-for-4, and is  hitting .269 with 23
 homers and 62 RBI this season.
 
 "You get muscle tightness, things lock up," Upton told Atlanta's website. "You
 just  give it  a little  bit of  time and  it'll work  itself out.  Obviously,
 getting treatment and stuff like that, hopefully it feels better tomorrow. You
 just never know."
 
 Atlanta  had  won four  of five games  before Tuesday's loss  and still have a
 commanding  15-game  lead over Washington in  the NL East. The club will visit
 St. Louis for four games, starting Thursday at Busch Stadium.
 
 Taking  the mound for the Braves this afternoon will be Alex Wood. Wood is 2-2
 with  a 2.61 earned run average in 21 games (6 starts) and has pitched well in
 his  last three trips  to the mound, going 1-0 with a 0.98 earned run average.
 He threw 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball in Friday's 3-2 win over the Nationals,
 struck out nine batters and did not issue a walk.
 
 Wood  has faced the Mets twice so far during his rookie campaign and sports an
 0-1 mark to go along with a 6.14 ERA.
 
 New  York  opened a nine-game homestand  Tuesday and has  won two in a row and
 four of its last six games.
 
 Marlon  Byrd  hit a two-run  home run in that  important sixth inning and Eric
 Young scored twice. Mets young starting pitcher Zack Wheeler was solid through
 6  2/3  innings and yielded  three runs with five  K's and three walks. LaTroy
 Hawkins picked up his fifth save with a scoreless ninth.
 
 "I  felt pretty comfortable  against them. I mean no bash on them, but it's an
 easy  gameplan," Wheeler said. "Dan (Warthen) has a good gameplan going in ...
 and Travis (d'Arnaud) did a nice job calling the game."
 
 The  Mets still  have Detroit and Philadelphia paying visits to Citi Field and
 hope  Jonathon  Niese can complete the  sweep over the Braves Wednesday. Niese
 has  won back-to-back  starts and  the  Mets are  unbeaten in  his last  three
 outings.  He struck out  nine and allowed a run in six innings of Friday's 5-2
 win at San Diego, improving to 5-6 in 16 starts with a 4.25 ERA.
 
 Niese  has  faced the Braves twice  this season and  is 0-1 with a lofty 12.27
 ERA.  In 14 career starts in this series, the left-hander has a winning record
 at 6-4 with a 3.83 ERA. Niese, though, is 1-4 in nine home starts.
 
 New  York is 8-7  against the Braves this season and has won three of the last
 four matchups between the NL East foes.
 
 08/21 09:02:13 ET