Mets rally past Braves with big 8th

Damion Easley delivered a two-run single with the bases loaded and Ramon Castro added an RBI double to cap a five-run eighth against Atlanta's bullpen.

One night after their six-game winning streak was snapped in Pittsburgh, the Mets won for the 10th time in 13 games and maintained their 1½-game lead in the NL East over Philadelphia.

New York received a strong effort from its unsteady bullpen, including newcomer Luis Ayala, after getting more bad news about All-Star Billy Wagner.

An MRI earlier in the day showed the injured closer has increased swelling in his left elbow, so he's out indefinitely. The Mets don't know when he might be able to return to the mound, if at all, this season.

The eighth-inning outburst left Scott Schoeneweis to close this one out with a one-hit ninth in a non-save situation. Aaron Heilman (3-7) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.

Oliver Perez kept New York in the game by allowing three runs in 6 1-3 innings against a lineup that had Omar Infante batting cleanup. Infante has three home runs this season.

With the Braves trying to hold on for their first one-run win on the road since Aug. 9 last year at Shea Stadium, Jeff Bennett (2-5) walked consecutive batters with one out in the eighth.

Carlos Beltran's dribbler for an infield single loaded the bases for Delgado, who popped out with the sacks full to end the eighth inning Monday, keeping the score tied.

This time, he drove left-hander Will Ohman's pitch the other way and clapped his hands as he cruised into second with the Mets up 4-3.

The clutch hit snapped New York's 3-for-42 skid with the bases loaded.

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