The NL East has a new leader for the first time since early April.

After the New York Mets fell 6-3 to the Miami Marlins, the Atlanta Braves won 6-4 at Seattle later Friday to take sole possession of first place in the division for the first time all season.


The Braves won their eighth straight and finally jumped a half-game ahead of the Mets in the East after chasing them for five months. The only previous day this year the Mets did not hold at least a share of the division lead was April 11.


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“It’s that time of year, a lot of us can hit that wall,” Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor said. “We have to find a way to break through the wall and do it together. That’s what good teams do and I’m sure we’re going to do it.”

The Mets led the NL East by as much as 10½ games over the Braves on June 1. After seeing that lead shrink to 2½ games at the All-Star break, New York rebuilt a seven-game lead by Aug. 10.

But the Braves have caught fire since then, going 21-5 while the Mets have gone 14-13.

“That’s why we’re playing these games: trying to win the division,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “That’s our goal. When we left spring training, our No. 1 goal was to win the division. I think they’ve been great in their approach and how they come to work.”

Added rookie Michael Harris II: “It shows how dedicated we are to winning and how much we want to win. We were down 10 games at one point and now we’re leading the East. That was our main goal. We got to it and now we’re just trying to keep it.”

The largest blown lead in a division or league in major league history is 13 games, by the 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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