New York Mets: Curtis Granderson

Morning Briefing: Wheels up!

July, 25, 2014
Jul 25
5:25
AM ET
FIRST PITCH: Zack Wheeler has allowed one run and completed at least six innings in each of his last four outings.

He looks to keep that production going and get the Mets back on track Friday at Miller Park. Wheeler (5-8, 3.78 ERA) opposes right-hander Yovani Gallardo (5-5, 3.79) at 8:10 p.m. ET.

Friday’s news reports:

• The Mets have told the Colorado Rockies they would want in if the club is willing to trade Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez, Joel Sherman reports in the Post.

Tulowitzki is owed $20 million a season through 2019 and $14 million in 2020. CarGo is signed for $16 million in 2015, $17 million in 2016 and $20 million in 2017.

Of course, John Harper in the Daily News had just written Wednesday why Tulowitzki will NOT be coming to the Mets or Yankees.

Dillon Gee surrendered six runs over the opening three innings and the Mets ultimately lost to the Brewers, 9-1, in Thursday’s series opener. Gee now has a 9.00 ERA in two starts since a prolonged layoff during the All-Star break.

The Mets are averaging 2.1 runs and 5.3 hits per game and have a .168 team batting average in seven games since returning from the All-Star break. Matt Garza, who had been knocked out by the Washington Nationals after recording only one out Saturday, limited the Mets to one run on two hits in eight innings. The lone damage came on a solo homer by Lucas Duda in the seventh.

Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed a pair of home runs in two relief innings and appeared to be injured when he reached the dugout after the seventh, but Terry Collins said postgame that he was unaware of any issue.

Read game recaps in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday, Times and at MLB.com.

• Although Ruben Tejada felt fine a day after getting beaned with a 94 mph fastball from Taijuan Walker, the Mets promoted Wilmer Flores and started him at shortstop on Thursday. Kirk Nieuwenhuis was optioned to Las Vegas to clear the roster spot. Tejada should be back at shortstop Friday. Read more in the Journal, Times, Star-Ledger, Newsday and at MLB.com.

Curtis Granderson returned to the lineup Thursday after missing two games with a flu-like illness.

• Colon Plaia’s ninth-inning solo homer lifted Savannah to a 2-1 win against Augusta. Josh Prevost, Kelly Secrest and Paul Paez combined for four scoreless relief innings as Brooklyn beat Vermont, 7-2. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Tom Seaver tells the Daily News that Derek Jeter should be the first unanimous Hall of Fame selection.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets closer Billy Wagner turns 43.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you believe the Mets are serious contenders if the Rockies trade Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez?

Granderson back in lineup

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
7:24
PM ET
MILWAUKEE -- Curtis Granderson will bat leadoff and play right field Thursday night against the Brewers after missing the last two games with flu-like symptoms.

“[He] says he feels a lot better today,” Terry Collins said. “[He] hot some nourishment last night, had dinner, ate on the plane. Hopefully, he’s got some strength to give us nine tonight.”

Morning Briefing: Say cheese?

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
5:25
AM ET
SEATTLE

FIRST PITCH: After stops in San Diego and Seattle, the Mets now move further east as they begin a four-game series against the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday night at Miller Park.

Milwaukee is coming off a sweep of the Cincinnati Reds.

Dillon Gee (4-2, 2.92 ERA) opposes right-hander Matt Garza (6-7, 4.04) in the 8:10 p.m. ET series opener.

Read the Mets-Brewers series preview here.

Thursday’s news reports:

Bartolo Colon retired the first 20 batters he faced before surrendering a seventh-inning single to Robinson Cano and the Mets held on to beat the Mariners, 3-2, in Wednesday’s rubber game. The Mets are very open to dealing Colon before next Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline, although they will need to locate a partner willing to accept the $11 million he is owed next season. Because of the size of Colon’s contract, he likely will remain eligible to be traded in August.

Read game recaps in the Seattle Times, Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday, Journal and at MLB.com.

Ruben Tejada was beaned by a fastball from Mariners rookie Taijuan Walker in the fifth inning. Terry Collins said Tejada displayed no concussion symptoms and indicated no roster move was forthcoming. Tejada accompanied the team on its flight to Milwaukee. Still, Eric Campbell may start the series opener in Milwaukee at shortstop to give Tejada one day off. It would mark Campbell’s first major league start at shortstop, and his fifth professional game overall -- majors or minors -- at the position. Read more in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.

• Under-the-weather Curtis Granderson missed a second straight game Wednesday. It is not yet clear if he will be available for the series opener against the Brewers because of continued flu-like symptoms.

• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News suggests Troy Tulowitzki is not a fit for the Yankees or the Mets. "[Sandy] Alderson’s priority has been building depth into the farm system," a GM told Harper. "So he wouldn’t give up multiple prospects, especially for that type of risk, regardless of whether ownership would take on the contract -- which seems unlikely."

• Right-handed reliever Buddy Carlyle, who lost his major league roster spot when Jonathon Niese was activated from the disabled list on Monday, cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Las Vegas.

• Steven Matz allowed two runs in seven innings and Binghamton beat Portland, 4-2. Rob Whalen earned the win in his first Savannah start since May 1 as the Gnats beat Augusta, 7-2. Dale Burdick’s sacrifice fly broke an eighth-inning tie and the GCL Mets won, 9-6, against the GCL Nats. Read the full minor-league recap here.

BIRTHDAYS: Las Vegas reliever Miguel Socolovich turns 28.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Is 3-3 acceptable through two legs of the road trip?

Grandy iffy for Thursday return

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
7:49
PM ET
SEATTLE -- Curtis Granderson, who has missed two straight games while under the weather, is iffy for a return to the lineup Thursday at Milwaukee.

“He feels better, but yet he’s still got some symptoms that are flu-like,” Terry Collins said after Wednesday's 3-2 win against the Seattle Mariners.

Chris Young started in right field Wednesday in Granderson's absence. Young had left the series opener Monday with a left calf issue.

Morning Briefing: Colon Day!

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
6:22
AM ET
SEATTLE

FIRST PITCH: The Mets look for a rubber-game win Wednesday when Bartolo Colon opposes Seattle Mariners top prospect Taijuan Walker in the 3:40 p.m. ET series finale at Safeco Field.

Wednesday’s news reports:

Jacob deGrom continued to put up NL Rookie of the Year-type numbers. DeGrom limited the Mariners to one run in seven innings as the Mets won, 3-1, Tuesday. The Amazin’s snapped a three-game losing streak. Read game recaps in the Seattle Times, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.

Ruben Tejada's left hand was swollen, but the shortstop indicated he did not need X-rays after getting struck with a fifth-inning pitch on the left hand.

Curtis Granderson was held out of Tuesday’s lineup because of illness and Chris Young's left calf, which forced him to depart the series opener, continued to limit him. Read more in the Daily News.

• Noah Syndergaard tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings in Game 1 and Wilmer Flores lost a 22-game hitting streak as Las Vegas split a doubleheader at Tacoma. Left-hander Blake Taylor, the player to be named in the Ike Davis trade, tossed six scoreless innings as Kingsport blanked Greeneville, 5-0.

"For the most part, I attacked hitters," Syndergaard told milb.com. "I was trying to be a little unpredictable. I threw quite a bit of my curveball. I threw some pretty good curveballs, and some ended up out of the strike zone. Even though it wasn't for a strike, it showed the hitter I wasn't afraid to throw a breaking pitch in certain counts."

Read the full minor-league recap here.

Jeremy Hefner tossed three innings in his third Gulf Coast League appearance since returning from Tommy John surgery.

• Left-handed reliever Scott Rice is due to undergo surgery on Wednesday to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow and also to relocate a troublesome nerve. Read more in the Record and at MLB.com.

• Triple-A catching prospect Kevin Plawecki has been diagnosed with vertigo. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Citing a source close to Colon, ESPNDeportes.com’s Marly Rivera reported the San Francisco Giants have interest in the 41-year-old right-hander.

Executives from other teams tell columnist Joel Sherman in the Post that the $11 million owed to Colon in 2015 will make it very difficult to trade him. Writes Sherman:

Though there are multiple teams -- including the Yankees -- looking for rotation help, the case against Colon was described by several personnel men as significant. One put it this way: “His old team [the A’s] didn’t want to sign him for two years. The only team willing to sign him for two years already has him and that second year is a killer for the Mets to move him even if they don’t want any prospects back.”

Colon has a 4.12 ERA. But when you adjust that for the league and his big ballpark, Colon’s ERA is actually 15 percent worse than the league average. He already has surrendered 14 homers -- the same number as all of last season. There is always worry about his weight and his steroid past. All of that might be possible to overlook -- to some extent -- as one NL scout said, “if his contract were expiring.”

Read more in Newsday.

• ESPN’s Keith Law ranks the Mets’ farm system No. 4 in the majors. Writes Law:

The Mets have graduated a few prospects to the majors -- Travis d'Arnaud (No. 2 in the system coming into the year) and Jacob deGrom (No. 13) in particular -- but nearly all of the guys still in the system have taken steps forward. Noah Syndergaard (No. 1) has had an excellent year in the pitchers' hell of Las Vegas. Brandon Nimmo (No. 5) is hitting for power now that he's out of Savannah, a terrible park for left-handed power hitters. Catcher Kevin Plawecki (No. 6) continues to receive well, as expected, but he also has hit well enough to push himself up to Triple-A in his second full season.

ESPN Insiders can read the full entry here.

• The Mets will play the AL East in interleague play in 2015. In those years, the Mets and Yankees will meet six times, up from the now-customary four Subway Series games. The Boston Red Sox are tentatively due to visit Citi Field from Aug. 28-30, Gordon Edes writes at ESPNBoston.com.

• Read more on Walker’s call-up to face the Mets in the Seattle Times.

• Marc Carig in Newsday and Sherman in the Post revisit the R.A. Dickey deal and ask if the Mets took the right pitching prospect in Syndergaard over Aaron Sanchez.

Eric Young Jr. cheered up a couple of boys he had a close call with in the left-field stands by giving them his wrist band after the half-inning, Carig writes in Newsday.

• Tim Rohan in the Times writes about the Mets’ second-half stumble.

BIRTHDAYS: Savannah left-hander John Mincone, a product of Half Hollow Hills East High School on Long Island, turns 25.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you believe Jacob deGrom can win NL Rookie of the Year?

Sick Grandy held out of lineup

July, 22, 2014
Jul 22
7:23
PM ET
SEATTLE -- Curtis Granderson has been significantly ill since midnight, so Terry Collins is holding the outfielder out of Tuesday's lineup against the Seattle Mariners.

Collins hopes Granderson feels well enough to start Wednesday's matinee series finale.

Granderson is 3-for-16 on the second-half-opening road trip. He struck out four times Monday.

Morning Briefing: Almost back

July, 17, 2014
Jul 17
6:48
AM ET

Courtesy of New York MetsCurtis Granderson hosted a youth clinic Wednesday in Chicago at a stadium bearing his name.
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: Tomorrow, tomorrow …

The second half is only a day away.

The Mets resume their season on Friday at 10:10 p.m. ET at Petco Park in San Diego. Bartolo Colon (8-8, 3.99 ERA) opposes right-hander Ian Kennedy (7-9, 3.47).

Read the Mets-Padres series preview here.

Thursday’s news reports:

• Columnist David Lennon in Newsday assesses what Sandy Alderson ought to do at the trade deadline. Writes Lennon:

The determining factor there will be the market for Colon and [Daniel] Murphy, two players that could be very attractive to contending clubs -- and not necessarily cripple the Mets' own chances. Colon's contract, with $11 million coming to him next season, was practically designed to be moved. While he's been a solid placeholder for [Matt] Harvey, the Mets are now finding others pushing for permanent spots, like [Jacob] deGrom, and before too long, Noah Syndergaard. …

As for Murphy, it's strange that the Mets' lone representative at the All-Star Game may not even be on the team by August. But the argument to deal him may just be too compelling for Alderson to pass up -- peak value, a big arbitration bump this winter and a waiting replacement in Wilmer Flores, who is raking at Triple-A Las Vegas with a .368/.405/896 slash line over his last 10 games, including six homers.

• Mike Puma in the Post asks five questions for the second half.

• Marc Carig in Newsday looks at Travis d'Arnaud’s turnaround after a demotion to Las Vegas. Upon joining the Triple-A club, d’Arnaud had a two-hour meeting with Wally Backman, hitting coach George Greer and pitching coach Frank Viola.

"He just needed to slow things down and understand that he was good enough to be who they wanted him to be," Viola told Carig. "But he had to be good enough for him first. He was putting so much undue pressure on himself that he just had to take a little time to step back."

Said d’Arnaud: "If I have a good at-bat, I'm happy now. Before, if I had a productive out, if I lined out, I would get on myself so much because I was so worried about getting a hit. It helps me to stay even-keeled.”

• The Mets project attendance to rise over 2013, when they officially drew 2.14 million fans, Steven Marcus writes in Newsday.

"Halfway through the year we have our slight uptick in attendance already," chief revenue officer Lou DePaoli told the newspaper. "So, now it's a matter of what kind of hay we can make the rest of the season. The team has been playing well and the fans have reacted just in the last week or so. You saw some pretty nice crowds toward the end, and I'm sure if the team continues to play at that level we'll see more increased interest."

• Also in Newsday, Carig writes about young players fueling the Mets’ ascent, three key players for the second half and three key questions.

• Anthony DiComo at MLB.com assesses the state of the Mets as they enter the second half.

• Kristie Ackert in the Daily News hands out grades.

Curtis Granderson and his Grand Kids Foundation hosted a baseball clinic at Curtis Granderson Stadium at the University of Illinois at Chicago on Wednesday. Granderson recently contributed $5 million toward the college stadium, which also hosts Chicago youth organizations.

• Matt Ehalt in the Record reviews prospects who could be called up in the second half.

• Ehalt in the Record also looks at Granderson’s successful conclusion to the first half after a Jason Bay-like start to his Mets career. Granderson is hitting .274 with 13 homers and 36 RBIs since May 1.

• Allan Dykstra went hitless in three at-bats as the DH as the Pacific Coast League lost the Triple-A All-Star Game, 7-3, at Durham, N.C. Binghamton outfielder Kyle Johnson went 2-for-2 in the Eastern League All-Star Game, but his East squad lost, 5-2. Wuilmer Becerra went 5-for-5, but Kingsport lost to Burlington, 4-3. Taylor Teagarden caught all five innings in a rain-shortened win by the Gulf Coast League Mets. Read the minor-league recap here.

• Binghamton prospect Brandon Nimmo chats with WBNG.

From the bloggers … Blogging Mets thinks Jacob deGrom has pushed his way into the Rookie of the Year conversation.

BIRTHDAYS: The late Roy McMillan, a former shortstop for the Mets, was born on this date in 1929.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Will the Mets sweep the Padres?

Rapid Reaction: Mets 9, Marlins 1

July, 13, 2014
Jul 13
4:29
PM ET
NEW YORK -- There may have been scoffing and eye rolls when Terry Collins built this up as a make-or-break homestand, considering the Mets entered the stretch 10 games under .500 and 10 games back in the NL East.

Well, say this for the Amazin’s: They enter the All-Star break on fire … and still relevant.

The Mets completed a three-game sweep of the Miami Marlins with a 9-1 win Sunday at Citi Field.

With an 8-2 homestand, the Mets (45-50) have moved into sole possession of third place in the NL East for the first time since May 4. They still are five games under .500 and likely will be seven games out of first place in the division with co-leaders Atlanta and Washington enjoying large late-game leads Sunday, but the mathematics take a backseat to the emotional high for the moment. Sixty-seven games remain.

Jacob deGrom, the third-most ballyhooed prospect in his prospect peer group with Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero, continued to produce at a level that will make it difficult to entertain assigning him to the bullpen even for a week or two out of the break.

DeGrom limited the Marlins to one run in seven innings to win his second straight start and slice his ERA to 3.18. The lone run against him came in the fourth after Eric Campbell, in his first major league action at second base, retreated into right field calling for Garrett Jones' pop fly but lost the baseball. It dropped between Campbell and deferring right fielder Curtis Granderson for a two-out double. Marcell Ozuna followed by legging out a run-scoring infield single.

Heck, the Mets cannot afford to deprive themselves of deGrom’s bat, either. A half-inning after the defensive bungle evened the score at 1, deGrom followed an intentional walk to No. 8 hitter Ruben Tejada and restored a lead with a two-out RBI single. It was deGrom’s first career RBI.

DeGrom clearly is entrenched in the rotation for the long haul. Collins even acknowledged pregame Sunday that he arranged his second-half rotation to separate the similar-throwing Zack Wheeler and deGrom. Still, Collins had floated Saturday that deGrom might spend a week or two in the bullpen out of the break to conserve innings if Sandy Alderson deems it necessary -- temporarily sparing Daisuke Matsuzaka a bullpen assignment with Jonathon Niese due to return from the DL.

Yet it is hard to conceive that a hard-charging team that fancies itself in the race intentionally would deprive itself of a wildly successful rookie’s starts, no? So deGrom ought to be starting in Seattle in the second series after the break.

He currently is at 112 innings for the season between the majors and minors. Alderson has said 185 innings is the rough cap.

The Mets opened Sunday’s scoring with a Lucas Duda double and Chris Young sacrifice fly in the second inning. Following deGrom’s two-out RBI single, the lead swelled to 3-1 later in the fourth on Granderson’s run-scoring bloop double. Marlins starter Brad Hand departed after that inning with a bruised right shin, which he suffered getting struck with a comebacker.

Granderson scored in the sixth for a 5-1 lead when second-base ump Will Little trumped an out call at the plate by ruling Granderson was interfered with by Ed Lucas while rounding second base. The Mets loaded the bases with none out in the ninth and produced four runs.

What’s next: The Mets reconvene Friday in San Diego for a trip that also takes them to Seattle and Milwaukee. Bartolo Colon handles Game 1, followed by Dillon Gee and then Wheeler. The Padres will throw Tyson Ross, Ian Kennedy and Odrisamer Despaigne in the series.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 5, Marlins 4

July, 12, 2014
Jul 12
7:05
PM ET
NEW YORK -- The undercard to the Huey Lewis and the News concert did not disappoint.

Eric Campbell produced a two-out, pinch-hit single in the eighth against Mike Dunn that plated Travis d'Arnaud and the Mets beat the Miami Marlins, 5-4, on Saturday at Citi Field.

The Mets (44-50) twice overcame two-run deficits en route to their seventh win in nine games on the homestand. They climbed to six games under .500 for the first time since June 25.

In a pinch: Chris Young delivered a pinch-hit two-run homer in the seventh on the first pitch of reliever Bryan Morris' appearance as the Mets evened the score at 4. Morris had just inherited a two-run lead and a baserunner from starter Tom Koehler.

It was Young’s second career pinch-hit homer. The other came June 27, 2012 with Arizona at Atlanta against Jonny Venters.

The Mets’ last pinch-hit homer this season was produced by Lucas Duda on June 25 against Oakland.

All-Star leap: Daniel Murphy preserved a 4-all score in the eighth. The second baseman leaped and snared Adeiny Hechavarria's two-out liner against Vic Black to strand the potential go-ahead run in scoring position.

Pen-ultimately: Assuming Jonathon Niese successfully returns from the disabled list for the series opener in Seattle on July 21, which is the plan, this likely was Daisuke Matsuzaka's final start for a while.

In a 120-pitch effort, Matsuzaka had a better outing than his final line indicated (6 IP, 4 H, 4 ER). He had a career-high-matching 10 strikeouts -- a total he last had achieved three times in 2007 with Boston, back in his inaugural major league season.

Garrett Jones and Marcell Ozuna produced consecutive RBI doubles in the sixth against Matsuzaka as Miami took a 4-2 lead. Ozuna’s double was a line drive misread by Curtis Granderson, which resulted in it traveling over the right fielder’s head.

Déjà vu: The Mets pulled off their second suicide squeeze of the season … and second against the Marlins in three weeks. Ruben Tejada delivered a one-out bunt that plated hard-charging Kirk Nieuwenhuis and evened the score at 2 in the fifth.

The Mets also had successfully pulled off a suicide squeeze on June 22 at Miami, with Niese’s bunt plating Nieuwenhuis to open the scoring in the second inning of an eventual 11-5 win.

T.K. Oh! Koehler, a Stony Brook University product, held the Mets hitless until d’Arnaud’s leadoff single in the fifth. He ultimately allowed two runs that inning. He received a hard-luck no-decision despite limiting the Mets to two hits and departing with a 4-2 lead in the seventh.

Christian Yelich, who had raced to the wall to corral David Wright's fly ball in the fourth, had a misadventure on Nieuwenhuis’ fifth-inning fly ball to left field that carried well. Yelich drifted back, but the ball eluded him on the warning track.

After the catchable ball dropped for a double, the Mets had two in scoring position and none out. Juan Lagares followed with a run-scoring groundout. Tejada’s suicide squeeze then evened the score at 2.

Koehler departed after a one-out walk to Tejada in the seventh and Morris gave up the two-run lead.

What’s next: Jacob deGrom (2-5, 3.38 ERA) opposes left-hander Brad Hand (0-1, 5.09) at 1:10 p.m. Sunday in the final game before the All-Star break. Murphy is due for a day off, with Campbell playing second base.

Granderson hitting like an All-Star

July, 8, 2014
Jul 8
11:42
AM ET
Daniel Murphy will be heading to the All-Star Game by himself next week.

If Curtis Granderson’s first four weeks with the Mets hadn’t gone the way they went, he’d likely be joining Murphy there.

Granderson had another big hit on Monday, a game-tying home run in the eighth inning against the Braves on Monday.

He’s now hitting .276 with a .391 on-base percentage and .895 OPS since April 29. The latter ranks seventh-best in the National League in that span.

The six players ranked above him -- Paul Goldschmidt, Giancarlo Stanton, Troy Tulowitzki, Andrew McCutchen, Jonathan Lucroy and Yasiel Puig -- are all members of the NL All-Star team.

Monday’s home run was classic Granderson in that he did what he’d learned from Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long that turned him into a premier power hitter with the Yankees -- hooked an outer-half pitch over the fence for a home run.

In 2011 and 2012, Granderson hit 59 of his 84 home runs against pitches on the outer half of the plate, or off the outside corner. That was 14 more than the two players who ranked second over that span -- Jose Bautista and Mark Teixeira.

Monday’s home run was his eighth such long ball of the season. He’s got a little ways to go to chase down the leader, Nelson Cruz, who has 15. Citi Field has probably cost him a few. A cursory glance found that Granderson had three doubles, a triple and two fly outs at the park (all on outer-half pitches) that probably could have been home runs in a few other places.

Granderson now has six home runs in 85 at-bats against left-handed pitching this season, canceling out any thoughts from earlier this season that he might have to be a platoon player.

Granderson’s choosiness at the plate has helped, both with regards to his power and his on-base percentage. His 41 walks since April 29 are one shy of the most in the majors in that time (shared by Goldschmidt and Mike Trout). His 22 percent chase rate (the frequency with which he swings at pitches out of the strike zone) ranks 19th-best in the majors over that time.

That has made him an ideal leadoff hitter. In his last five games at the top of the lineup, he’s 7 for 20 with three home runs and three walks.

The only thing that hasn’t come with Granderson’s success is more wins. They were 14-11 entering that April 29 date we’ve repeatedly cited.

They’re 26-38 since.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Braves 3 (11)

July, 7, 2014
Jul 7
11:01
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Ya Gotta Believe?

The New York Mets, who aim to use this series against the Atlanta Braves to catapult themselves back into relevance, squandered a late lead but ultimately rallied for a 4-3 walk-off win in 11 innings on Monday at Citi Field.

Curtis Granderson produced a game-tying, two-out, solo home run in the eighth inning, and the Mets scored the winning run three innings later on Ruben Tejada's two-out RBI single off Anthony Varvaro.

Tejada also had the Mets' last walk-off hit, on May 11 against Philadelphia (also in the 11th inning).

The Mets (40-49) pulled to within nine games of the first-place Braves (49-40) in the NL East.

Wacky ninth: Eric Young Jr. ended up grounding into a fielder’s choice against Shae Simmons to strand the bases loaded and end the ninth inning, but how the Mets got there left Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez ejected and Mets manager Terry Collins perhaps worthy of admittance to the bar.

With the score tied at 3, Eric Campbell singled to open the frame. Juan Lagares then bunted, and umpire Sean Barber ruled Campbell out at second base, though a throw to first base for a double-play bid was too late.

However, Collins complained that Andrelton Simmons pulled his foot off second base before accepting the throw (which television replays supported).

"Neighborhood plays” are excluded from replay review, but Collins convinced the umps to confer and then go to video anyway. The ruling from the home office came back safe, which placed runners at first and second with no outs.

Gonzalez again argued and was ejected. He clearly believed the play was not reviewable.

In order for it to be considered a “neighborhood play,” the fielder must have acted to avoid a collision, which arguably wasn't the case, with Simmons pulling his foot off the bag to accept the throw at second. Perhaps that was Collins' winning argument.

Crazy eighth: Vic Black, Josh Edgin and Jenrry Mejia combined to allow three eighth-inning runs, as the Mets failed to hold a 2-0 lead after receiving seven scoreless innings from starter Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Black turned the two-run lead over to Edgin with Freddie Freeman on third base and two outs. Things quickly unraveled.

Edgin fired a wild pitch that sailed above Jason Heyward’s head and allowed Freeman to scamper home, which pulled the Braves within a run.

Given the series’ importance, Collins then turned to Mejia for a four-out save. Instead, the closer surrendered a game-tying RBI double to Chris Johnson off the top of the center-field wall. After an intentional walk to New Jersey native Tommy La Stella, rookie Christian Bethancourt served a go-ahead RBI single into right field.

Mejia suffered his second blown save in 10 chances. The other was June 7 at San Francisco.

Edgin had retired the first batter he faced in each of his previous 23 appearances -- a franchise record to begin a season.

Made the most: The Mets mustered only four hits through eight innings but made them count. Travis d'Arnaud had a second-inning double that plated Eric Campbell, who had reached via walk. David Wright homered the following inning against left-hander Mike Minor. Then, trailing 3-2 with two outs in the eighth, Granderson homered against Luis Avilan to even the score. Daniel Murphy followed Granderson’s homer with a single that chased Avilan.

The Braves had retired 15 straight batters between Wright’s and Granderson’s long balls, with Minor retiring 13 straight to close his seven-inning outing.

d'Arnaud has reached base in all 11 games since returning from Triple-A. Wright is hitting .395 (32-for-81) against southpaws this season.

No Dice: Matsuzaka tossed seven scoreless innings in his longest start of the season but was deprived of his first win since June 10.

Matsuzaka allowed two baserunners in each of the first three innings but repeatedly escaped unscathed. His final line: 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K. He threw 100 pitches and departed with a 2-0 lead.

With Dillon Gee ready to return from the disabled list, Matsuzaka might have been reassigned to the bullpen this week had Jonathon Niese not landed on the disabled list. Matsuzaka had surrendered five runs in each of his previous two starts. His previous season high had been six innings, which he had accomplished in three starts.

Struck: Carlos Torres was struck on the bare hand with a liner in the 11th but remained in the game after a visit from the trainer.

What’s next: Jacob deGrom (1-5, 3.77 ERA) opposes right-hander Julio Teheran (8-5, 2.29 ERA) at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday.
ATLANTA

FIRST PITCH: How low will they go?

Jacob deGrom takes the mound on Wednesday at Turner Field trying to help the Mets avoid getting swept in the three-game series.

The Mets enter his start 10 games under .500 and nine games behind the division-leading Atlanta Braves, both season worsts.

DeGrom (1-4, 3.62 ERA) opposes right-hander Julio Teheran (7-5, 2.34) in the 7:10 p.m. finale.

Wednesday’s news reports:

Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed five runs in five innings, including a costly two-out RBI single to opposing pitcher Mike Minor, and the Mets stranded the potential tying run at third base in the fifth when Chris Young and Travis d’Arnaud were retired en route to a 5-4 loss to the Braves on Tuesday. Curtis Granderson and Daniel Murphy homered in the defeat.

The Mets dropped to 10-20 in one-run games.

They struck out 13 times and now have 712 Ks this season, on pace for 1,373. That would fall 11 shy of matching the franchise record, set last season.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.

• With online voting set to conclude at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, David Wright trails leader Aramis Ramirez of the Milwaukee Brewers by 235,060 votes for the starting nod for the National League at third base in the July 15 All-Star Game at Minnesota.

Dillon Gee’s next and potentially last minor-league rehab start will be Friday for the Brooklyn Cyclones at 6 p.m. at Coney Island. The Mets figure to bring back Gee before the All-Star break, especially given Matsuzaka’s performance Tuesday, although Terry Collins suggested the organization would at least consider waiting until afterward to activate Gee to minimize his idle time. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Noah Syndergaard allowed five runs on 11 hits in 3 2/3 innings Tuesday with Las Vegas. Dustin Lawley had two homers in Binghamton’s 9-6 loss at New Britain. St. Lucie scored three runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to beat Charlotte, 6-4. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Even before Syndergaard’s Tuesday outing in Triple-A, Collins indicated there had been no discussion of a promotion date for the top prospect. The manager suggested there may not be a call-up at all in 2014. Read more in Newsday.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear considers Frank Cashen's accomplishments in the context of the Roman Empire. … NY Mets Life gives credit to Mets fans and The 7 Line Army.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets outfielder Angel Pagan, who just had a setback in his return from a back injury, turns 33. ... Hal Reniff, who finished his career with the Mets, was born on this date in 1938.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: What will be the Mets’ final record this season?

Rapid Reaction: Braves 5, Mets 4

July, 1, 2014
Jul 1
10:30
PM ET
ATLANTA -- The hole keeps getting deeper for the New York Mets.

The Atlanta Braves beat the Mets, 5-4, Tuesday at Turner Field, dropping the Amazin’s 10 games under .500 for the first time this season. The Mets (37-47) also fell a season-high nine games off the division lead.

No Dice: Daisuke Matsuzaka should have one more start in the rotation. After that, Dillon Gee could be activated from the disabled list and displace him.

For the second straight start, Matsuzaka allowed five runs.

This time, with the score tied at 2 in the fourth, Matsuzaka surrendered a two-out RBI single to opposing pitcher Mike Minor. Andrelton Simmons followed with a two-run single as the Braves took a 5-2 lead.

Matsuzaka’s line: 5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 5 K. His season ERA now stands at 3.72.

Gee makes what potentially is his final rehab start Friday, with the Brooklyn Cyclones.

Deep thoughts: Curtis Granderson homered for the second straight day, while Daniel Murphy also went deep. Murphy’s two-run shot against Minor in the fifth pulled the Mets within 5-4.

Eric Campbell and Lucas Duda followed with singles to place runners on the corners with one out. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez then summoned right-hander Shae Simmons. He coaxed a flyout from Chris Young and struck out Travis d'Arnaud to strand the potential tying run at third base.

Since his three-homer series against Oakland, C.Y. is 1-for-15 on the road trip. His average has dropped to .199. D’Arnaud actually has hit safely in all seven games since returning from Las Vegas.

Heavy lifting: Aided by one hustling catch by Juan Lagares, Carlos Torres contributed three no-hit innings in relief of Matsuzaka to keep the Mets within a run entering the ninth. The only baserunner came on a two-out throwing error by Torres to first base in the eighth.

Ouch: Jersey native Tommy La Stella departed the game with a right foot bruise, which he suffered getting hit by a pitch from Matsuzaka in the second inning.

What’s next: Jacob deGrom (1-4, 3.62 ERA) opposes right-hander Julio Teheran (7-5, 2.34) in Wednesday’s 7:10 p.m. series finale.

Rapid Reaction: Braves 5, Mets 3

June, 30, 2014
Jun 30
10:35
PM ET
ATLANTA -- Jeurys Familia had been nearly automatic of late as the primary setup man to Jenrry Mejia, tossing nine straight scoreless innings and posting a 0.71 ERA since May 25.

Even the best have hiccups.

Entrusted with a two-run lead, Familia committed one of the Mets’ three costly errors in a four-run eighth as the Atlanta Braves rallied for a 5-3 win Monday at Turner Field.

The Mets (37-46) fell a season-high eight games behind the division-leading Braves and are at nine games under .500, matching their low-water mark for the season.

The Mets fell to 33-5 when ahead after seven innings.

Leading 3-1, Familia surrendered inning-opening singles to Justin Upton and Jason Heyward. He then coaxed a would-be double-play comebacker from Chris Johnson. However, Familia bounced the throw to Ruben Tejada covering second base and everyone was safe.

With the bases loaded and none out, Jersey native Tommy La Stella then sent a run-scoring single up the middle. A second run scored on the play, tying the score at 3, when center fielder Juan Lagares could not cleanly field the ball, for a costly E-8.

Later, with the bases loaded and two outs, Andrelton Simmons sent a routine chopper to third baseman Eric Campbell. The ball popped out of Campbell’s glove and his ensuing throw to first base was late, allowing the Braves to take the lead.

Dana Eveland subsequently entered and issued a bases-loaded walk to force in another run.

The Mets entered the day with 15 double-play misplays and errors, tied with the San Diego Padres for the most in the major leagues, according to ESPN Stats & Information’s Mark Simon.

Wild thing: Zack Wheeler issued five walks and hit a batter, but managed to limit the Braves to one run in 6 1/3 innings and stood in position for the win until the eighth-inning meltdown.

Wheeler had tossed 83 pitches through four innings and looked headed for a short outing.

He then got a double play in a nine-pitch fifth and began to get more efficient.

With Wheeler coming off a career-low two-inning outing against Oakland in which he tossed only 48 pitches, and with him due to get an extra day of rest before pitching again Sunday, Terry Collins extended the right-hander.

With the Mets holing a 3-1 lead, Wheeler returned to the mound for the seventh inning with his pitch count already at 104. Wheeler surrendered a leadoff single to Christian Bethancourt, then pinch hitter Jordan Schafer sent a deep shot to left field that Chris Young ran down.

At that point, Wheeler departed -- and things got interesting.

Vic Black got B.J. Upton to ground into a potential inning-ending double play, but Tejada could not handle the grounder, which was generously scored an infield single. With two on and one out, Black coaxed Simmons to fly out.

Collins then returned to insert Josh Edgin to face the dangerous Freddie Freeman.

Edgin is now 21-for-21 this season in retiring the first batter he faces. Freeman flied out to left field as the Braves stranded two baserunners and the Mets maintained a two-run lead.

Wheeler’s final line: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP. He threw 113 pitches.

Leading man: Curtis Granderson, again in the leadoff spot after a cameo Sunday at cleanup, produced a game-opening homer against left-hander Alex Wood. The shot snapped an 0-for-17 drought by Granderson, albeit which included three shots to the outfield wall in Pittsburgh.

Granderson also had a leadoff homer June 15 at Citi Field against San Diego Padres right-hander Ian Kennedy. Monday’s shot marked his 26th career leadoff homer.

Catching on: Travis d'Arnaud continues to produce since returning from Vegas. Now able to reach pitches on the outer half of the plate because of his adjusted stance, d’Arnaud produced an RBI double in the second inning. He finished 1-for-4 and has hit safely in all six games since rejoining the Mets. D’Arnaud is hitting .348 (8-for-23) with one homer and four RBIs during that span.

Three cheers: The Mets entered the series batting .164 with the bases loaded this season. That figure remained intact Monday, but the Mets did pick up an RBI in such a situation. C.Y.’s third-inning sacrifice fly against Wood with the bases loaded increased the Mets’ lead to 3-0.

What’s next: Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-2, 3.23 ERA) opposes left-hander Mike Minor (2-5, 4.50) at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday.

Rapid Reaction: Pirates 5, Mets 2

June, 29, 2014
Jun 29
4:36
PM ET


PITTSBURGH -- The Mets had no shortage of baserunners (and ensuing towel-waving). Driving them in proved the problem.

The Amazin’s produced 13 hits, including at least one in each of the first seven innings, but remained scoreless until the ninth inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates won, 5-2, Sunday afternoon at PNC Park. Bartolo Colon suffered his first defeat since May 12 at Yankee Stadium.

The Mets (37-45) lost three of four games in Pittsburgh.

Snapped: Ex-Met Ike Davis’ two-run single highlighted a three-run first inning by the Pirates against Colon. Pedro Alvarez’s two-run homer in the fourth upped the lead to 5-0.

Colon’s final line: 6 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR.

Colon had been 6-0 with a 1.58 ERA in his past seven starts. He had not allowed more than two earned runs in any start during that span to match his longest career streak.

Nothing doing: Edinson Volquez held the Mets scoreless for six innings despite surrendering eight hits. The Mets had runners on the corners in the third inning, but Daniel Murphy struck out and Curtis Granderson flied out. They had two on and none out in the sixth, but Juan Lagares flied out and Travis d'Arnaud grounded into a double play.

After Volquez departed, Eric Young Jr. reached third base with one out in the seventh on an infield single and two-base error, but Ruben Tejada struck out and Murphy lined out.

Granderson, despite sending three balls to the outfield wall, finished the series 0-for-17.

What’s next: The Mets head to Atlanta for a three-game series. Zack Wheeler (3-8, 4.45 ERA) opposes left-hander Alex Wood (6-6, 3.07) in Monday’s 7:10 p.m. series opener at Turner Field. Wheeler is coming off a career-low two-inning start against Oakland. That was preceded by his first career complete game at Miami.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.284 7 38 57
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 16
RBIL. Duda 51
RD. Murphy 57
OPSL. Duda .850
WB. Colon 9
ERAJ. Niese 3.13
SOZ. Wheeler 112