A steamy day at Citi Field turned into a painful one for the New York Mets when their top two hitters went down with injuries on Sunday.
Jose Reyes tweaked his troublesome hamstring again and Daniel Murphy was helped off the field with a throbbing knee injury during a 6-5 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
"We've been struggling offensively as it is. Now we lose a guy hitting .335 and another guy hitting .320, obviously that's going to be difficult to overcome," said third baseman David Wright, who found himself filling in at shortstop for the first time in his major league career. "We know it's going to be a tremendous uphill battle to try to score runs."
Longtime nemesis Chipper Jones hit a tiebreaking single off Bobby Parnell (3-4) in the ninth inning and Atlanta handed the depleted Mets their sixth loss in seven games.
After almost 3 1/2 hours of back-and-forth baseball, it was a difficult defeat to endure.
"It felt like it was about a 12-hour game," said rookie Justin Turner, who went from second base to shortstop and back to second base. "We felt like we literally just walked off a battlefield, with the heat and all the switching around and the grinding and coming back and tying it up. It's tough, mentally and physically."
Jason Heyward, Alex Gonzalez and Jose Constanza homered early for the Braves, who finally solved New York rookie Dillon Gee. Dan Uggla extended his career-best hitting streak to 28 games.
Gee entered 2-1 with a 1.52 ERA in four outings against Atlanta, including two wins and a 0.54 ERA in three starts this year. He was originally slated to start Wednesday night against Florida, but that game was rained out.
It was the first major league homer for Constanza -- he also got his first stolen base, spiking Murphy hard in the process on a clean but awkward play.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Murphy has a substantial injury to his left knee and will be placed on the disabled list. New York called up infielder Ruben Tejada from the Bisons to take his place.
Murphy entered as a pinch-hitter in the sixth and drove in a run with an infield single, a dribbler up the third base line. Murphy stayed in the game at second base -- but didn't last long.
Constanza's foot popped up off the bag when he slid hard into second and came down on Murphy's prone left leg, between his ankle and knee. The lower portion of Murphy's leg was driven awkwardly toward the ground, and he hobbled away immediately in pain.
Murphy, out of the majors in 2010 because of two right knee injuries, stayed down in the outfield before being helped off the field.
Reyes, the NL batting leader, was lifted in the second because of a stiff left hamstring, the same spot that landed him on the DL last month.
Alderson said he thought Reyes hurt himself running out a first-inning grounder and it appears he has a mild hamstring pull, the same injury that cost him more than two weeks in July. Alderson said the Mets would wait before deciding if Reyes' injury necessitates another roster move.
X-rays on Murphy's leg were negative, but the team was waiting for MRI results on both players.
The Mets' Jason Bay had three hits, three runs and a stolen base.
Jonny Venters (6-1) worked a hitless inning for the win.