NEW YORK — On paper, the Mets boast Major League Baseball’s most favorable schedule down the stretch, playing their final 16 games against sub-.500 opponents. It’s their get-out-of-jail-free card, their golden ticket back to October.

But the last-place Braves are doing their best to ensure reality unfolds a bit differently. Atlanta knocked Noah Syndergaard out of Monday night’s series opener in the fourth inning, tagging him for five runs in a 7-3 win over the Mets. The loss put New York at risk of losing ground to the Giants and Cardinals, who entered Monday’s play within one and two games, respectively, of the Mets in the National League Wild Card race.

Freddie Freeman collected four hits and three RBIs, finishing a triple short of the cycle, while rookie shortstop Dansby Swanson recorded three hits and drove home three runs in the win.

Freeman's solo homer

Freeman’s solo homer

ATL@NYM: Freeman goes deep to extend hitting streak

Freddie Freeman belts an opposite-field solo shot to left to extend his hitting streak to 23 consecutive games and extend the Braves’ lead

It was Swanson who opened the scoring off Syndergaard with a second-inning single, before Freeman broke things open with a home run in the third and a two-run double in the fourth.

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The Mets fought back on a T.J. Rivera two-run homer but mustered nothing else against Braves starter Aaron Blair. In his 13th career start, the right-hander recorded his first big league win.

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Danny Knobler is a contributor to based in New York and covered the Braves on Monday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Source: Mets News / Syndergaard, Mets pelted by plucky Braves