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Mets bats again quiet as Braves earn series split

ATLANTA -- Hurry back, Jose Reyes!

Bartolo Colon showed no ill effects from a bruised right thumb, but the New York Mets continued to underwhelm offensively and lost to the Atlanta Braves, 5-2, Sunday at Turner Field.

The Mets came alive too late with a pair of ninth-inning runs against Alexi Ogando.

Freddie Freeman’s first-inning homer accounted for the only damage against Colon as the teams split the four-game series. Atlanta tacked on four runs in the eighth against Antonio Bastardo and Logan Verrett.

The Mets went 2-5 against the last-place Braves during home-and-home meetings over a nine-day span.

As Reyes began a minor-league tune-up on Sunday to prepare for joining the Mets, manager Terry Collins gave heavily worked Asdrubal Cabrera and Curtis Granderson off on the eve of a showdown with the Washington Nationals. Their absences didn’t help. Bud Norris limited the Mets to four hits in seven scoreless innings.

Starting in right field in place of Granderson, Brandon Nimmo went 0-for-4 in his major league debut while batting seventh. He grounded out to third base in his first at-bat. Then, batting with two runners on base and none out in the fifth, Nimmo grounded into a fielder’s choice. He also grounded out to shortstop in the seventh. Nimmo was called out on strikes to end the game.

“I wish it would have ended up different,” said Nimmo, whose parents Ron and Patti, and fiancée Chelsea Bradley, attended the game. “Still, for me -- first MLB game -- to be able to get out there and just kind of look around and enjoy being in a triple-deck stadium and just playing against the Braves for the Mets, it was a very surreal feeling. I had fun. But I wish it would have ended up differently, I could have come through a couple of times for us. You know, it’s the first game out of the way. And hopefully I can help out a little bit better down the road.”

Said Collins: “We’ve got to get him calmed down, because he’s going to a bigger series here in 24 hours.”

Colon had been knocked out of his last start after four pitches because he was struck on his pitching hand by a comebacker from Kansas City’s Whit Merrifield. He had no apparent residual effect on Sunday. After surrendering the first-inning homer to Freeman, Colon (6-4) went on to log seven innings. He has a 1.80 ERA over his last seven starts.

“At no point throughout the game did the thumb bother me, thank god,” Colon said through an interpreter. “I’m able to squeeze the ball without any issues.”

What’s next: Noah Syndergaard (8-2, 2.08 ERA) pitches for the Mets in Monday’s 7:05 p.m. ET opener at Nationals Park. Washington placed Steven Strasburg on the disabled list on Sunday with an upper-back strain, so Syndergaard may face Joe Ross or a minor-league call-up.

Syndergaard was pulled from his last start with discomfort in the back of his right elbow. But Collins said Syndergaard will pitch without restriction on Monday. Doctors detected no structural damage and Syndergaard was prescribed anti-inflammatory medication.