Norris allowed just four singles over seven scoreless innings and the Mets' bullpen imploded in the eighth inning as the Braves gained a split of the four-game series with a 5-2 victory Sunday.
Norris (3-7) didn't walk a batter and struck out eight, improving to 2-1 with a 2.15 ERA in five starts since returning to the rotation. He threw 67 of his 88 pitches for strikes before leaving for a pinch hitter.
"When he went down to the bullpen, he started pitching great and wanted to get back in the rotation," Freeman said. "He's been lights out since."
"Bud threw really well. He threw a ton of strikes," said Kelly Johnson, who gave the Mets a 1-0 victory Saturday with an 11th-inning homer. "He was throwing hard where he wanted and we didn't get much going."
Freeman, hitting .453 over his past 13 games, added a double, single and walk to his 13th home run, and Adonis Garcia connected for a three-run homer in the eighth inning
The Mets (40-34) avoided a shutout with two runs in the ninth inning, but have dropped five of the past seven games against the Braves (26-49) and trail first-place Washington by three games in the National League East going into a three-game series starting Monday.
Freeman went the opposite way with the first pitch he saw from Colon (6-4) and deposited his 13th homer just over the fence in left field.
Freeman, who ambushed an 87-mph fastball, is 13-for-27 against Colon, but hadn't homered previously against him.
"I treat him just like I do against a knuckleball," Freeman said. "I know he's going to throw strikes, so I just go up there swinging. He was a little bit slower and I saw that. You were getting good pitches early in the count, so I went up there aggressive."
Colon had won five straight decisions against Atlanta, and the 43-year-old right-hander came in with a 9-2 career record and 2.44 ERA against Atlanta.
Colon (6-4) allowed six hits, walked one and struck out two over seven innings before relievers Anthony Bastardo and Logan Verrett faltered in a four-run eighth for the Braves.
Bastardo gave up a walk and two hits, including an RBI single by Nick Markakis, without retiring a batter, then Verrett surrendered Garcia's fifth homer of the season.
Yoenis Cespedes had an RBI grounder and Wilmer Flores an RBI single for the Mets in the ninth before Arodys Vizcaino came in to get his 10th save in 12 chances.
The Braves improved to 17-21 under interim manager Brian Snitker.
Norris lost his rotation spot in April and then continued to struggle in the bullpen before turning things around and getting another starting chance.
The best previous June outing by Norris was a 5-1 home victory for the Chicago Cubs in which he allowed just four hits over seven innings.
"These are great starts against good teams," said Snitker. "We really need that from him right now. He's filling a valuable spot."
"I'm a competitor and it's been a lot of fun," Norris said of his turnaround.
Colon left his previous start after four pitches when he was struck on the right thumb by a line drive against Kansas City. He threw 84 pitches against the Braves before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the eighth inning.
"He pitched great," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He did not say a word about (his thumb)."
NOTES: Mets SS Asdrubal Cabrera and RF Curtis Granderson were out of the lineup for a rest with a three-game series against NL East leader Washington next, although Granderson did pinch hit. "Both needed a day," manager Terry Collins said. ... Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard (8-2, 2.08 ERA) will go for his seventh straight victory in the opener at Washington. He is 2-0 with a 1.33 ERA in four career starts against the Nationals. ... OF Brandon Nimmo, called up Saturday by the Mets from Triple-A Las Vegas, started in place of Granderson in his major league debut, batting seventh. He was 0-for-4 with a strikeout to end the game. ... The Braves begin a home three-game interleague series Monday with Cleveland. RHP John Gant (1-2, 4.45 ERA) will start the opener. ... Braves RHP Mike Foltynewicz (bone spurs) gave up one hit and walked none over five scoreless innings Saturday in his first rehab outing for Triple-A Gwinnett. He struck out five and threw 43 of his 65 pitches for strikes.