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Gee twirls scoreless start in win vs. Braves

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Collin Cowgill hit his fourth home run of the Grapefruit League season and Dillon Gee cruised through six scoreless innings as the Mets beat the Braves, 7-4, at Champion Stadium Monday afternoon.

Gee faced just one more than the minimum number of batters as he surrendered two singles and recorded seven strikeouts against what will essentially be the Braves' regular lineup. The right-hander struck out five of the final six batters he faced.

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"Now they've seen me, so I've got to keep mixing and matching with them," Gee said of the Braves. "But to have my best outing of the spring against a lineup like that, it's nice to finally get something like that going."

Cowgill's third-inning shot over the left-field wall accounted for the last of the three home runs surrendered by Braves starter Mike Minor, who allowed five earned runs and six hits in five innings. The other two home runs were hit by Andrew Brown and Jamie Hoffmann, who were both reassigned to Minor League camp on Sunday.

Brown highlighted New York's three-run first inning with a two-run home run that hit more than halfway up the 60-foot wall located behind the center-field fence. Hoffmann began the second inning with another towering shot that easily cleared the center-field fence.

Jason Heyward and Justin Upton put the Braves on the board with back-to-back homers to begin the bottom of the seventh against Robert Carson. Heyward's home run was his fourth this spring and first since March 1. Upton has four home runs in his past 18 at-bats.

Up next: Outfielder Lucas Duda will look to stay hot when the Mets face the Cardinals in a 1:10 p.m. ET game Tuesday at Tradition Field (watch on MLB.TV). Though Duda went 0-for-3 in his last game, he is batting .316 with three home runs and five RBIs dating back to March 15. Right-hander Jeremy Hefner will start for the Mets, opposite Cardinals righty Adam Wainwright.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for

New York Mets, Collin Cowgill, Dillon Gee