NEW YORK — Strikeouts at the plate and injuries in the bullpen are about the only two things that have slowed the first-place Atlanta Braves this season.
Both came back to hurt them Sunday night.
Cory Gearrin gave up three runs in the eighth inning, the last two on a tiebreaking single by slumping Ike Davis, and the New York Mets rallied past Atlanta 4-2 to end the Braves' eight-game winning streak.
"You've got to tip your hat a little bit to those guys. They put the bat on the ball and made something happen," said Gearrin, one of several green relievers getting late-inning chances for Atlanta because of injuries to Jonny Venters, Eric O'Flaherty and Jordan Walden.
Shaun Marcum struck out a career-high 12 and Lucas Duda homered for the Mets, who stopped an eight-game slide at home and avoided a three-game sweep. The Braves had won 15 of 18 against New York and five in a row at Citi Field.
Pinch-hitter Justin Turner led off the eighth with a single against Gearrin (1-1). David Wright struck out but Duda punched a ground-rule double to left for his third hit, and John Buck's run-scoring single tied it at 2.
Pinch-hitter Mike Baxter was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Davis, who pulled a two-run single through the right side for a 4-2 Mets lead.
"Just a sinker. He got under it enough and got it out there," said Gearrin, who entered with a 0.86 ERA in 21 innings this season.
Davis began the night batting .148 with nine RBIs. He finished 2 for 3 with a walk after entering in a 2-for-44 slide that included 19 strikeouts. It was his first hit in his last 27 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
"I went up wanting a sacrifice fly and not to ground into a double play," Davis said. "He's a nasty pitcher with sinking movement and I wanted to stay through and hit right through the sinker."
Marcum went seven innings for his longest outing in six starts with the Mets. His only costly mistake came on Dan Uggla's two-run homer in the seventh that put Atlanta ahead 2-1.
The Braves struck out 14 times, including twice against closer Bobby Parnell in the ninth.
Relying on an effective slider and changeup to go with his 85 mph fastball, Marcum cooled off the Atlanta bats with finesse. He struck out B.J. Upton looking to end the seventh, surpassing his previous career high of 11 strikeouts set on June 16, 2007, with Toronto against Washington.
It was the right-hander's fourth career double-digit strikeout game and first since July 20, 2010, with Toronto against Cleveland.
"You don't have to light up the radar gun to be successful," Uggla said. "Marcum really knows how to pitch – every aspect of the word pitching. He's very patient. He knows his strengths, knows his weaknesses, and he had just unbelievable command. Not just his fastball, but of everything. He knows what he wants to do with every pitch. So he was good tonight, man. He really kept us off balance."
Mets nemesis Freddie Freeman fanned four times for the Braves, who lead the NL by a wide margin with 448 strikeouts. Upton and Jason Heyward each whiffed three times.
LaTroy Hawkins (1-0) worked a scoreless inning and Parnell earned his seventh save. It was a spirited win for the Mets heading into their Subway Series against the crosstown-rival New York Yankees beginning Monday night.
Duda hit a leadoff shot to right off Julio Teheran in the fourth, giving him nine home runs and 16 RBIs this season. It also extended his career-best hitting streak to 10 games.
The 22-year-old Teheran yielded one run and five hits over 6 2-3 innings in his latest strong start.
Marcum allowed a leadoff single in the first to Andrelton Simmons, quickly erased on Heyward's hard-hit double play, and didn't permit another hit until the sixth. The only baserunner the Braves managed during that stretch came when Uggla was hit by a pitch in the second.
After that, Marcum retired 13 straight batters before Simmons reached down and floated a flare over shortstop with two outs in the sixth. Hustling all the way out of the box, Simmons legged it out for a double. He was stranded when Heyward took a called third strike.
NOTES: Gerald Laird caught Teheran, as usual. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Brian McCann and Evan Gattis will each catch one game and DH the other during a two-game series in Toronto that begins Monday night. RHP Tim Hudson (4-3, 4.98 ERA) pitches against Blue Jays LHP Mark Buehrle (1-3, 5.90) in the opener. ... Walden (shoulder inflammation) threw a bullpen before the game and was expected to start a rehab assignment Monday with Triple-A Gwinnett. ... RHP Brandon Beachy, on the mend from Tommy John surgery in June 2012, is slated to make his next minor league rehab start Wednesday. ... Uggla dropped a popup for an error in the first when the second baseman tried to make a one-handed catch and the ball popped out of his glove. "More embarrassing than anything," he said.