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Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Mets 6, Braves 1

By Adam Rubin


ATLANTA -- Chipper Jones sat alongside Zack Wheeler’s parents in the second row behind home plate.

Jerry Seinfeld tweeted: “Wheeler!!!!!”

Yes, this was a big deal.


Scott Cunningham/Getty ImagesZack Wheeler attracted a crowd while warming up for his major league debut.


Making his major league debut in a stadium 30 miles from his home of Dallas, Ga., Wheeler overcame early control issues to toss six scoreless innings against the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night.

His final line: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 7 K, 102 pitches (55 for strikes).

Wheeler qualified for the win after Josh Satin singled and Anthony Recker belted a two-run homer against Paul Maholm to break a scoreless tie in the top of the seventh.

The New York Mets swept the NL East-leading Braves in a day-night doubleheader with a 6-1 nightcap victory.

Wheeler became the third starting pitcher in franchise history to earn the win in his MLB debut while tossing six or more scoreless innings, joining Masato Yoshii (1998) and Dick Rusteck (1966).

The performance capped an uplifting day that included Matt Harvey taking a no-hit bid into the seventh inning in the 4-3 matinee victory.

Harvey’s line in his MLB debut, for the record: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 11 K against the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 26, 2012.

Tweeted Dwight Gooden: "Today after watching @MattHarvey33 & @Wheelerpro45 it looks like the @Mets could have the best one-two punch in @MLB for years to come!!"

The 23-year-old Wheeler undoubtedly experienced early jitters. He walked Andrelton Simmons, the first batter he faced, then earned a mound visit from David Wright after falling behind No. 2 hitter Jason Heyward, 2-0.

Wheeler rallied to strike out Heyward with a 97-mph, full-count fastball.

He walked Freddie Freeman on four pitches later in the first, earning a visit from pitching coach Dan Warthen as well. Wheeler ultimately retired B.J. Upton on a fielder’s choice grounder to escape unscathed from a 23-pitch first inning.

Sore subject: Scott Atchison, in his return from the disabled list, never threw an official pitch.

Atchison was summoned to start the bottom of the seventh inning after Wheeler departed. He lasted one warm-up pitch. At least it was not an elbow problem.

Atchison clutched his groin after his first warm-up pitch, received a mound visit from trainer Ray Ramirez and departed. Warthen summoned Brandon Lyon to replace him. The team subsequently announced Atchison had a sore right groin.

Lyon surrendered two hits and a sacrifice fly to Justin Upton as Atlanta pulled within 2-1, but the Mets answered with four runs the following half-inning thanks in part to sloppy Braves fielding.

Round number: Wright recorded his 1,500th career hit. He is the 30th active player to reach that milestone.

What’s next: Shaun Marcum (0-8, 5.43 ERA), still in search of his first Mets win, opposes right-hander Kris Medlen (3-7, 3.09) at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday.