Niese pitches Mets to 4-0 win over skidding Miller, Braves

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NEW YORK— Jonathon Niese won for the first time in a month, Michael Conforto homered and the New York Mets inched closer to an NL East title with their 4-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Monday night.

Daniel Murphy lined a two-run double, Yoenis Cespedes had three hits and the Mets handed hard-luck Shelby Miller (5-16) his 15th straight defeat. New York stretched its lead to 6 1/2 games over the second-place Nationals with 12 to play and lowered its magic number for clinching the division to seven.

Washington’s interleague home game against Baltimore was postponed because of rain and rescheduled for Thursday.

Thanks in large part to Niese (9-10), the Mets rebounded nicely from a disappointing loss to the crosstown rival Yankees in the Subway Series. The left-hander tossed three-hit ball for six innings, keeping the ball down during an encouraging outing and getting 13 of his 18 outs on the ground.