NEW YORK — To keep pace with the Cardinals and Giants in the National League Wild Card race, the Mets understand they must take advantage of every opportunity. Less than two weeks to go in the regular season. No slip-ups now.

But the Mets allowed a prime opportunity to fall through their fingers this week at Citi Field, losing a 4-3 game to the Braves on Wednesday that completed a series sweep for Atlanta. Taking a three-run lead into the seventh inning, the Mets lost it amidst a lengthy string of pitching changes and pinch-hit plate appearances, going behind for good in the ninth.

Yoenis Cespedes nearly won the game for the Mets on a walk-off, three-run homer in the ninth, but center fielder Ender Inciarte robbed him with a leaping catch at the wall. The resulting win was the sixth in a row for the Braves at Citi Field and their fifth straight overall.

WC standings | 2016 tiebreaker scenarios | How to determine postseason tiebreakers

The loss ensured the Mets would remain tied with the Cardinals, who lost earlier Wednesday, while temporarily dropping them a half-game behind the Giants in the NL Wild Card race.

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.

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

Source: Mets News / HR robbery follows lost lead, stuns Mets