- Associated Press - Thursday, June 23, 2016

ATLANTA (AP) - Matt Harvey keeps trying to find a happy medium for the New York Mets.

His performance was hardly a disaster, but Harvey is still searching to find a formula that will straighten out his mechanics.

“It’s definitely a struggle,” he said. “I kind of went to back to not feeling as a great as I did a couple of starts before this, but I was able to make some quality pitches when I needed to and guys made the plays behind me.”

Adonis Garcia hit a go-ahead, two-run homer off Addison Reed in the eighth inning and the Mets lost to the Atlanta Braves for the fourth straight time in a week, 4-3 on Thursday night.

Atlanta has improved the worst record in the NL by winning seven of eight. The Mets have lost four of six.

A.J. Pierzynski drove in two runs off Matt Harvey to boost the Braves, who posted a three-game sweep at Citi Field last weekend.

The Braves trailed 3-2 when Freddie Freeman opened the eighth with a single off Jerry Blevins. Reed (1-2) relieved with one out and, with catcher Travis d’Arnaud calling for a chest-high fastball on an 0-2 count, Garcia connected on a pitch that badly missed the target for his fourth home run.

Jim Johnson (1-4) won in relief.

Arodys Vizcaino converted his 18th save in 21 chances. Pinch hitter Matt Reynolds walked, but Curtis Granderson flied out, Asdrubal Cabrera lined out and James Loney flied out to end it.

“We just kept battling,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “That’s what won the game.”

Harvey gave up eight hits, two runs and struck out three, but he labored at times. His season-long struggles after the third inning continued as he gave up a run in the fourth and sixth to increase his ERA in those frames to 7.65.

“When you’re out there, the last thing you want to think about is your mechanics, but for some reason this year it’s been popping in my head,” he said. “Pitch for the pitch, it doesn’t feel the same. It’s one of those things you’ve got to battle through and keep pushing forward. We’re going to do that next start.”

Harvey’s fastball velocity hovered in the mid-90s mph, and he commanded it well most of the night before Sean Gilmartin replaced him to begin the seventh.

The right-hander still doesn’t resemble the ace who dominated opponents in 2013 and ‘15, but he has a 2.25 ERA in his last five starts.

“Obviously, it’s been a struggle mechanically pretty much all year,” Harvey said. “It was one of those starts where I really had to battle kind of the whole time, so it was tough.”

Braves starter Matt Wisler allowed three runs on seven hits and a season-high four walks in 6 2-3 innings.

Alejandro De Aza’s RBI double put the Mets up 1-0 in the second. He had been hitless in his previous 20 at-bats.

Walker’s RBI single put the Mets up 3-1 in the fifth. He had been in an 0-for-15 slump.

Pierzynski improved to 8 for 12 in his career against Harvey when his RBI double in the sixth made it 3-2.

CLOSE CALL

New York saved a potential tying run in the seventh when left fielder Michael Conforto ended the inning by throwing out Emilio Bonifacio on one bounce to d’Arnaud.

Snitker challenged the play and after a review of nearly two minutes, he was ejected for arguing with crew chief Mike Everitt.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: CF Yoenis Cespedes, out with a mildly sprained left wrist, missed the game after leaving Wednesday’s win over Kansas City and having a cortisone shot. He hopes to return to the lineup Friday. … RHP Noah Syndergaard left Wednesday’s game early with discomfort in the back of his right elbow, but an MRI showed no structural damage. He’s expected to make his scheduled start Monday at Washington. … Conforto had his knee wrapped in ice after the game. He hit the foul wall hard catching a fly ball in the fourth, but he stayed in the game.

UP NEXT

Mets: LHP Steven Matz (7-3) is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in four career starts against Atlanta.

Braves: RHP Aaron Blair (0-4) has a 7.19 in 10 career starts. He’s 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA in two starts against the Mets.

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