Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Braves 1

NEW YORK -- The New York Mets bounced back from a bitterly disappointing defeat the previous night, beating the Atlanta Braves 4-1 in the second game of this four-game series at Citi Field.

What it means: The Mets improve to 44-52 -- fourth place in the National League East and 10 games behind the first-place Braves (56-44). But they are only two games behind the third-place Nationals and 3½ behind the second-place Phillies. The Mets are 3-2 since the All-Star break, 11-7 in July and have won seven of their past 11.

Carlos in charge: Carlos Torres made his second start of the season and was just as good as the first time around, when he gave up one run in five innings against the Pirates on July 13.

This time, Torres gave up one run in six innings of work. Atlanta's Andrelton Simmons drove the second pitch of the game into the left-field seats to give the Braves an early 1-0 lead. But that was all the damage Torres allowed.

The Braves had a runner in scoring position in five of the first six innings, but Torres worked his way out of trouble. He threw 96 pitches, scattering seven hits, with six strikeouts and two walks. He also had an RBI single in the third inning, driving home Juan Lagares (who had doubled) to tie the game at one.

It was just the eighth major league start for the 30-year-old Torres, who was called up from Triple-A in mid-June. He was very good in 10 relief appearances, prior to these two starts. In 28⅔ innings overall, Torres has given up just three earned runs for an ERA of 0.94.

The breakthrough: Torres was rewarded for getting through that sixth inning. In the bottom of the sixth, the Mets broke open the game, allowing Torres to collect a win.

Daniel Murphy and David Wright hit back-to-back singles to lead off the frame. Ike Davis drove home Murphy with a double off the wall in right field, John Buck drove home Wright with a single (sending Atlanta starter Kris Medlen to the showers), and then Davis scored on a Lagares sacrifice fly.

Davis had been booed after his first two at-bats -- he attempted to bunt in the second inning and was thrown out by the pitcher and struck out with a runner on first in the fourth. But he ended up delivering the biggest hit of the ballgame. (He also hit into a 4-6-3 double play to end the eighth.) Davis is now batting .178 on the season.

Lagares went 1-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored and also threw out Jason Heyward at the plate in the first inning. He is batting .395 with 10 RBIs in 13 games in July.

The finishing touches: David Aardsma, Scott Rice, LaTroy Hawkins and Bobby Parnell pitched three scoreless innings of relief to seal the victory. The Braves didn't have a single hit in innings seven through nine. For Parnell, it was his 19th save of the season after he blew the save Monday night.

What's next: The third game of the series. Jeremy Hefner (4-7, 3.93 ERA) will start for the Mets and will be opposed by Tim Hudson (7-7, 4.08). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. on Wednesday.