(Reuters) - The New York Mets breathed a sigh of relief after holding off a ninth-inning rally from Atlanta to beat the Braves 6-5 on Sunday, ending a string of defeats to their divisional rivals.
New York starter Jonathon Niese pitched the home team to a 6-1 lead with a strong eight-inning outing but his good work was almost undone by the bullpen in a nervous final inning.
The Mets used three relievers and gave up four walks, resulting in two runs and a hit batsmen before Jon Rauch came on to get the final out with a pair of runners in scoring position.
"It was tough. I can't sugarcoat that by any means," Niese told reporters of watching his team mates nearly blow his ninth win of the season.
"But they got the job done, and that's all that matters. I think we're going to enjoy this win and then go after the (Cincinnati Reds in the next series)."
The victory ended New York's (55-60) seven-game losing streak to the Braves and allowed them to avoid being swept in the finale of the three-game series.
Despite the loss, Atlanta (66-48) remain 4 1/2 games behind first-place Washington in the National League East division.
Ike Davis had two hits and two RBIs while David Wright went 2-for-4 with two runs scored to lead the Mets offense.
In the end it came down to their relievers who just barely got the job done.
"Obviously, it's frustrating," said New York catcher Rob Johnson. You've got to continue to pound until the 27th out is made."
(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Alastair Himmer)