NEW YORK - You knew it was bound to happen sometime.
Wishful as some might have been, Atlanta's starting pitchers weren't going to keep coming up aces all season long.
The Mets brought Horacio Ramirez and the Braves' staff down from orbit with a five-run sixth inning Monday in a 5-4 win at Shea Stadium.
That said, New York's bullpen and defense nearly spelled disaster in the eighth and ninth innings.
Down 5-1 in the eighth, Braves rookie Peter Orr hit his first career home run to cut the lead in half.
Then, with Braden Looper in to try to collect his third save of the year, Johnny Estrada and Andruw Jones hit back-to-back, one-out singles in the ninth. After Raul Mondesi grounded out, an error on third baseman David Wright allowed the Braves' fourth run to score, and it moved the tying run into scoring position.
However, pinch-hitter Julio Fran-co bounced out harmlessly to second base to end the game.
"You can't have a better situation than that," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said of having the 46-year-old Franco at the plate with the game in the balance.
Atlanta's starters hadn't allowed more than two runs since John Thomson on April 19 in Houston. It had been 21 innings since a single run had crossed the plate against any of the team's pitchers.
That changed in the sixth Monday.
With two out and the tying run on second, Ramirez had Mike Piazza in a 1-2 hole.
Ramirez wanted to send a fastball in on the veteran catcher's hands, but the pitch stayed out over the plate. Piazza ripped the mislocated pitch down the left-field line past a diving Wilson Betemit, who was filling in for the injured Chipper Jones (foot bruise).
"That pitch ..." Ramirez said of the cutter to Piazza, "I don't want to say it rattled me, but ... you can't make those kinds of mistakes. Not to a hitter like that."
After Piazza's RBI hit, Cliff Floyd followed with his fifth home run of the season to put New York ahead, 3-1.
Floyd's estimated 415-foot shot was launched high and deep into the Queens sky, and it smacked off the stadium's grossly large scoreboard in right-center field.
Chris Woodward singled on the next pitch, and then Wright added a 415-foot homer of his own to chase Ramirez (1-2) and put with the Braves in a four-run hole.
As the left-hander made the long march from mound to dugout, most of Shea's 16,874 patrons mockingly did the Tomahawk Chop.
Reach Travis Haney at email@example.com.