NEW YORK -- Aaron Blair won for the first time in 13 major league starts, Freddie Freeman drove in three runs off a misfiringNoah Syndergaard and the Atlanta Braves' slowed the New York Mets' wild-card chase with a 7-3 victory Monday night.
Freeman had four hits for the Braves, who have the worst record in the National League, and rookie Dansby Swanson had three hits and three RBIs.
New York had won 11 of its previous 14 games and led the NL wild-card race at the start of the night, one game ahead of San Francisco and two in front of St. Louis.
Acquired from Arizona along with Swanson and Ender Inciarte in December's trade that sent Shelby Miller to the Diamondbacks, Blair had been 0-6 with an 8.23 ERA in his first 12 big league starts, including 0-2 in three outings against the Mets.
The 24-year-old right-hander, the 36th overall pick in the 2013 amateur draft, went on the disabled list after an Aug. 28 loss because of a strained left knee, then worked on his mechanics during two injury rehabilitation starts in the minors.
Activated to start against the Mets, Blair (6-1) did not allow a hit until the fourth, when Curtis Granderson singled and Pacific Coast League batting champion T.J. Rivera hit his third home run this month.
Blair gave up six hits in six innings, struck out four and walked one, lowering his ERA to 7.71.
Pitching on five days' rest rather than four, Syndergaard (13-9) allowed five runs, eight hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings, and Atlanta fouled off 26 of his 99 pitches.
Swanson swiped the 47th stolen base of the season off Syndergaard; Milwaukee's Jimmy Nelson is second in the big leagues with 27 allowed.
Syndergaard started to falter in a 35-pitch second inning that included consecutive walks and RBI singles by Swanson and Inciarte, the first on a 99.9 mph fastball and the second on a slider.
Freeman led off the third with an opposite-field homer to left, extending his streaks for hits to 23 games and for reaching base to 39. Freeman then reached down to slice an opposite-field, two-run double in the fourth for a 5-0 lead.
Syndergaard is set for two more regular-season outings and would be lined up to start the NL wild-card game on Oct. 5.
OH SO CLOSE:
Rio Ruiz, a 22-year-old Braves third base prospect, had been announced as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning Sunday in his major league debut when Washington changed pitchers, rain started to fall and the tarp was brought out. The game, which had been interrupted for 1 hour, 7 minutes in the sixth, was called after a 1:50 wait. "His parents were in town. They had already changed a flight," Braves manager Brian Snitker said.
RHP Ryan Weber will start for the Braves in Wednesday's series finale, his second start this season and the seventh of his big league career.
TAKE A SEAT:
New York benched outfielder Jay Bruce from the starting lineup for the second straight game, hoping the mental break will spark an end to his slump. Bruce pinch hit in the ninth inning and flied out. He is in a 3-for-34 slide and is hitting .180 with four homers and 11 RBIs in 39 games since the Mets acquired him from Cincinnati.
Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson was given the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, presented annually by the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity to the major leaguer best exemplifying Gehrig's giving character.
Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz, hit on the left calf by Marcell Ozuna's liner on Sept. 12, is playing catch and walking on a treadmill. Snitker said he could return this season.
Mets: LHP Steven Matz (shoulder tightness) is to throw a bullpen Wednesday and could rejoin the rotation later this week. He has been sidelined since Aug. 14.
RHP Robert Gsellman (2-1) is to start for the Mets on Tuesday and Julio Teheran (5-10) for the Braves. Gsellman made hit big league debut Aug. 23 and allowed four runs over five innings at Atlanta on Sept. 9.