NEW YORK — The last-place Atlanta Braves burst out of the dugout and celebrated as though they were a team in the pennant race, too.
Hard to blame them after the thrilling way this one ended.
In an electrifying finish to a pressure-packed game for the New York Mets, center fielder Ender Inciarte robbed Yoenis Cespedes of a three-run homer for the final out of Atlanta’s 4-3 victory Wednesday night.
“Guys were flying over the railing,” Braves interim manager Brian Snitker said. “It just erupted. I don’t think you could have won the World Series and had a bigger explosion than that right there.”
With two runners on in the bottom of the ninth inning, Cespedes launched a drive to deep right-center. Inciarte raced a long way to the wall and timed his jump perfectly, catching the ball just above the orange line atop the fence to save the Braves.
“Probably the best catch I’ve ever made,” he said. “I thought that ball was gone right (off) the bat. But it was the last play of the game. I was just giving everything I’ve got.”
Inciarte broke a tie with his RBI groundout in the ninth, and the feisty Braves rallied from a three-run deficit for their fifth straight victory. They completed their second consecutive three-game sweep at Citi Field, including one in June.
“This is a playoff atmosphere right now, and we’re playing like we’re in the playoffs,” Inciarte said. “We know we’re not going to make it this year, but we are building up for what the future is coming for us.”
Once he corralled Cespedes’ bid for a game-winning homer, Inciarte held up his glove in excitement. He kissed the ball as he was jogging toward the infield to greet teammates, while Cespedes turned and walked slowly off the field.
Some fans in the stunned crowd of 32,187 at Citi Field still had their hands on their heads as they filed up the aisles toward the exits.
“Probably the best catch I have ever seen in a high-pressure situation,” Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said. “I still can’t wrap my mind around that, how he did that. Just incredible.”
New York remained tied with San Francisco and St. Louis for the two NL wild cards.
At his locker, a disappointed Cespedes would answer only one question from reporters.
“I knew I hit the ball well,” he said through a translator. “I knew there was a good chance it was going to make it out, but he made a better play.”
Bartolo Colon and Jeurys Familia (3-4) failed to protect a 3-0 lead for the Mets. An error by normally sure-handed first baseman James Loney helped Atlanta tie the game with an unearned run in the eighth.
Ian Krol (2-0) struck out pinch-hitter Kevin Plawecki with the bases loaded to end the eighth — moments after Cespedes nearly put New York ahead. His high fly to deep left field was knocked down by a leaping Matt Kemp at the top of the fence, with the ball glancing off Kemp’s glove and dropping to the ground for a double.
Jim Johnson got three outs for his 17th save, and Atlanta won the season series 10-9.
Asdrubal Cabrera and Rene Rivera homered to help the Mets build their 3-0 lead. Colon carried a three-hit shutout into the seventh before ex-Met Anthony Recker started Atlanta’s comeback with a two-run homer.
Seeking a five-out save from his All-Star closer, Mets manager Terry Collins turned to Familia with two runners on. But the Braves surprised New York with a double steal on Familia’s second pitch, and Kemp made it 3-all with a sacrifice fly.
Atlanta rookie Ryan Weber was down 2-0 after eight pitches in his second major league start this season. He issued a leadoff walk to Jose Reyes before Cabrera went deep.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING OVER THERE?
In a funny scene, a confused Recker paused his trot between second and third and held out his hand, unsure why teammate Nick Markakis had stopped at third. Markakis apparently didn’t realize the ball cleared the fence on the fly at first. Finally, both players crossed the plate and Recker patted Markakis on the helmet.
Freeman extended his hitting streak to 25 games and has reached base safely in 41 straight, both career bests and the longest active strings in the majors. The on-base streak is the longest for a Braves player since Chipper Jones also had a 41-game run in 2008. Freeman went 7 for 13 in the series and batted .486 (18 for 37) in 10 games at Citi Field this year.
Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz threw about 25 fastballs in a bullpen session and said he felt normal. As long as that continues, he plans to mix in all his pitches during a longer bullpen Friday and hopes to make at least one more start this season. Foltynewicz has been sidelined since getting hit on the left calf by a line drive Sept. 12.
Braves RHP Josh Collmenter (2-0, 4.61 ERA) starts Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series at Miami.