New York Mets: Craig Kimbrel

Series preview: Mets at Braves

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
9:42
PM ET

Associated Press/Getty ImagesThe Mets are due to face Julio Teheran, Mike Minor and Ervin Santana this weekend at Turner Field.
METS (73-80, fourth place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (76-76, second place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Zack Wheeler (10-10, 3.61) vs. RHP Julio Teheran (13-12, 2.89), 7:35 p.m. ET

Saturday: LHP Jonathon Niese (8-11, 3.55) vs. LHP Mike Minor (6-11, 4.74), 7:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Jacob deGrom (8-6, 2.68) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (14-9, 3.74), 1:35 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

Catcher Evan Gattis has been sidelined for nine games with strep throat and a kidney stone, but may be close to returning. Christian Bethancourt has started the past eight games behind the plate.

Right fielder Jason Heyward departed Wednesday’s game in the eighth, two innings after getting hit by a pitch in the left thumb. X-rays were negative. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons earlier left the game with a sore left ankle.

The Washington Nationals clinched the NL East title at Turner Field on Tuesday. The Nats and Braves were even in the standings as recently as July 20. That defeat was Atlanta’s 11th in 14 games. It temporarily knocked the Braves under .500 for the first time since losing on Opening Day.

The Braves broke ground on a new ballpark in Cobb County this week that will open in 2017. It will be called SunTrust Park. The Braves have played at Turner Field since the 1997 season -- the year after it hosted the Olympics.

Closer Craig Kimbrel is the first pitcher to begin his career with four consecutive 40-save seasons. Overall, he is only the third pitcher to have four straight seasons reaching that save plateau. Trevor Hoffman achieved it from 1998 through 2001 and from 2004 through ’07. Francisco Rodriguez did so from 2005 through ’08.

Justin Upton's 27 homers are tied with Lucas Duda's total for third in the National League. Idle Marlin Giancarlo Stanton has 37. The Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo has 31. Upton also ranks third in RBIs with 97.

Collins: Atlanta's Kimbrel not cheating

July, 7, 2014
Jul 7
4:35
PM ET

Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesTerry Collins has no issue with the discoloration on the brim of Craig Kimbrel's cap.
NEW YORK -- Although some Mets fans watching on SNY went ballistic during last week's series over the discoloration on the brim of Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel's cap, Terry Collins told ESPNNewYork.com he has no issue with the substance.

"He's had the same hat for four years," Collins said. "It's not pine tar. It's rosin."

As in rosin from touching the legal rosin bag behind the mound, then touching his brim.

Collins continued by saying that 20 teams have faced Kimbrel. The manager added that he asked Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell if any team had complained about the visible discoloration.

"Never," McDowell replied, according to Collins.

Kimbrel has struck out 43 percent of the batters he has faced in his career, the highest percentage in major league history among relievers with at least 150 saves. Billy Wagner ranks second at 33 percent.

Series preview: Mets vs. Braves

July, 6, 2014
Jul 6
9:23
PM ET

Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY SportsTommy La Stella, a native of Closter, N.J., has taken over at second base for the Braves.
METS (39-49, fourth place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (49-39, first place/NL East)

Monday: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-3, 3.72) vs. LHP Mike Minor (2-5, 4.73), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Jacob deGrom (1-5, 3.77) vs. RHP Julio Teheran (8-5, 2.29), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Dillon Gee (3-1, 2.73) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (7-5, 3.93), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Bartolo Colon (8-7, 4.04) vs. RHP Aaron Harang (8-6, 3.67), 7:10 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

• With a 3-1 victory Sunday at Turner Field, the Arizona Diamondbacks snapped Atlanta’s season-high nine-game winning streak. The Braves had been bidding for their third straight series sweep, after winning four straight at Philadelphia and then three games against the Mets at Turner Field. The bullpen allowed one earned run in 22 2/3 innings during the winning streak.

Gerald Laird returned to the starting lineup Friday after missing last week’s Mets series to rest a strained right oblique. Christian Bethancourt handled the catching duties against the Mets and figures to continue to get the bulk of the starts, even with Laird now available. The rookie has performed solidly since his call-up nine days ago, hitting .292.

No. 1 catcher Evan Gattis (.290, 16 HR, 39 RBIs) landed on the DL on June 29 with a bulging disk in his back. He subsequently received an epidural injection and remains sidelined. Gattis continues to experience tightness.


Alex Brandon/Associated PressJason Heyward was ESPN's Defensive Player of the Month for June.


• Right fielder Jason Heyward received ESPN’s Defensive Player of the Month Award for June. He tied for the major league lead with eight defensive runs saved during the month. Heyward is hitting .125 (6-for-48) with no homers, three RBIs and 10 walks in his last 15 games (14 starts). Heyward nonetheless has reached base safely in 48 of 54 games since May 9.

• Center fielder B.J. Upton had a career-high 11-game hitting streak snapped Sunday. The hitting streak coincided with becoming the team’s leadoff hitter.

• Reigning NL Gold Glove shortstop Andrelton Simmons was installed in the No. 2 spot in the batting order beginning June 27. He is hitting .340 (17-for-50) in 12 starts in that slot.

• Right-hander Julio Teheran, first baseman Freddie Freeman and closer Craig Kimbrel will represent Atlanta in the July 15 All-Star Game at Minnesota. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has been selected to serve on NL manager Mike Matheny’s staff.

Freeman has played all but two innings for the Braves this season.

Kimbrel struck out all three batters he faced in recording last Tuesday’s save against the Mets. It marked the fifth time this season and 24th time in Kimbrel’s career that he faced at least three batters in an appearance and struck out each one. Kimbrel has struck out 43 percent of the batters he has faced in his career, the highest percentage in major league history among relievers with at least 150 saves. Billy Wagner ranks second at 33 percent.

Kimbrel’s 89.7 career save percentage (166-for-185) ranks third all time among relievers with at least 150 chances, trailing only Eric Gagne (91.7 percent) and John Smoltz (91.1).

• The Braves are the youngest team in the National League. Their average age on Opening Day was 27 years, 255 days.

Dan Uggla (.163, 2 HR, 10 RBIs, 39 Ks in 129 at-bats) has been relegated to the bench. He has started only two games since May 23. Uggla is earning $13 million this season. He also is under contract for 2015 at $13 million.

Rookie Tommy La Stella -- a Closter, N.J., native and product of St. Joseph High School in Montvale -- has taken over the position. La Stella, 25, got off to a quick start. He then became mired in an 0-for-23 skid until rebounding.

La Stella (.294) had been installed as the leadoff hitter beginning June 18, but he subsequently was moved to No. 2 and then No. 7. He has three straight multi-hit games. La Stella spent his freshman year of college playing at St. John’s before transferring to Coastal Carolina.

• Right-handed reliever David Carpenter was activated from the DL on Wednesday. He had landed on the DL on June 17 with a strained biceps. Ex-Mets reliever Pedro Beato, who had been promoted to replace Carpenter, landed on the DL two days later with a right elbow strain.

Mike Minor is 0-2 with a 4.46 ERA in his last eight starts. He allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Mets last week.

Series preview: Mets at Braves

June, 29, 2014
Jun 29
5:35
PM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets face Alex Wood, Mike Minor and Julio Teheran during their upcoming series in Atlanta.
METS (37-45, fourth place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (44-38, first place/NL East)

Monday: RHP Zack Wheeler (3-8, 4.45) vs. LHP Alex Wood (6-6, 3.07), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-2, 3.23) vs. LHP Mike Minor (2-5, 4.50), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Jacob deGrom (1-4, 3.62) vs. RHP Julio Teheran (7-5, 2.34), 7:10 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

Alex Wood was promoted from Triple-A Gwinnett and reentered the rotation Wednesday. He tossed seven scoreless innings at Houston in his first major league start since May 4. Wood replaced Gavin Floyd, who fractured the olecranon (funny bone) in his pitching elbow throwing a curveball. Mets doctor David Altchek performed season-ending surgery Wednesday in New York. Wood had opened the season in Atlanta’s rotation, but was shifted to the bullpen once Floyd returned from Tommy John surgery in early May.

Evan Gattis was forced to depart Friday’s game and since has been sidelined with a muscle issue in his upper back. Gattis, who had a career-high 20-game hitting streak snapped a week ago, hopes to avoid the disabled list. He has 16 homers, most among MLB catchers and tied with teammate Justin Upton for fifth overall in the National League.

Atlanta promoted top catching prospect Christian Bethancourt as a hedge, so the Braves would not be overly reliant on Gerald Laird. Ryan Doumit also has catching experience, but has started only two games behind the plate this season, both in early April.

Bethancourt had one plate appearance last Sept. 29, in his lone previous major league action. He got his first career start and action behind the plate in Game 2 of a doubleheader Saturday at Philadelphia. The 22-year-old Panamanian went 1-for-4. He has been selected to participate in his third Futures Game, at Minnesota on July 13.

Dan Uggla (.164, 2 HR, 10 RBIs, 38 Ks in 128 at-bats) has been relegated to the bench because of profound struggles. He has started only two games since May 23. Uggla is earning $13 million this season. He also is under contract for 2015 at $13 million.


Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY SportsNew Jersey native Tommy La Stella has overtaken Dan Uggla as the Braves' second baseman.


After brief use of Tyler Pastornicky and Ramiro Pena at second base, rookie Tommy La Stella -- a Closter, N.J., native and product of St. Joseph High School in Montvale -- has taken over the position. La Stella, 25, got off to a quick start, but had been mired in an 0-for-23 skid until delivering a three-run triple in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader.

La Stella (.278) had been installed as the leadoff hitter beginning June 18, but he subsequently was moved to No. 2. Beginning this past weekend, he shifted to seventh. La Stella spent his freshman year of college playing at St. John’s before transferring to Coastal Carolina.

• First baseman Freddie Freeman has started every Braves game this season. The only other National League players to start all their teams’ games in 2014 are the Cubs’ Starlin Castro and Giants’ Hunter Pence. Freeman actually had logged every inning until he was hit by a pitch in the elbow in the eighth inning Wednesday by Houston’s Darin Downs and departed that game.

In his last 15 games, Freeman is hitting .371 (23-for-62) with nine extra-base hits and seven multi-hit games.

• Right fielder Jason Heyward’s six outfield assists are tied for the NL lead.

• The Braves will move into a new home ballpark beginning with the 2017 season. The site is located in Cobb County, in an affluent area north of Atlanta. The Braves have called Turner Field home since 1997, the year after the stadium hosted the Olympics.

B.J. Upton and Justin Upton both homered Tuesday. It marked the fourth time the brothers went deep in the same game, which tied the major league record. Jason Giambi and Jeremy Giambi as well as Vladimir Guerrero and Wilton Guerrero also homered in the same game four times.

Andrelton Simmons, the reigning NL Gold Glove winner at shortstop, is the third-toughest player in the NL to strike out.

• Closer Craig Kimbrel has four blown saves this season, matching last season’s total and already exceeding the three he suffered in 2012. Kimbrel’s 89.6 career save percentage nonetheless ranks third all time among MLB relievers with at least 150 chances, trailing only Eric Gagne (91.7 percent) and John Smoltz (91.1 percent). Kimbrel’s 155th save came on June 6 and set the Braves franchise record for career saves, passing Smoltz.

• Right-handed reliever David Carpenter has started a rehab assignment. He landed on the DL on June 17 with a strained biceps. Ex-Mets reliever Pedro Beato, who had been promoted to replace Carpenter, landed on the DL two days later with a right elbow strain.

• Manager Fredi Gonzalez will serve as a coach on Cardinals manager Mike Matheny’s NL All-Star staff.

Series preview: Mets vs. Braves

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
7:17
PM ET

Associated Press/USA TODAY SportsIdentical to the series at Turner Field, the Mets face Aaron Harang, Ervin Santana and David Hale this weekend in Queens.
METS (8-7, third place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (10-5, first place/NL East)

Friday: LHP Jonathon Niese (0-1, 3.46) vs. RHP Aaron Harang (2-1, 0.96), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Bartolo Colon (1-2, 6.00) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (1-0, 0.64), 7:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Zack Wheeler (1-2, 4.76) vs. RHP David Hale (0-0, 2.89), 1:10 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

Jason Heyward faces Jonathon Niese for the first time since the Mets southpaw drilled the right fielder and fractured his jaw with a 90 mph fastball last Aug. 21 at Citi Field. Heyward now wears a protective flap attached to his helmet.


Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsJason Heyward's last visit to Citi Field resulted in a broken jaw via an errant fastball from Jon Niese.


This season, Heyward is only 1-for-18 against left-handed pitching. The hit came on April 13 with a double against Washington’s Gio Gonzalez.

Heyward remains in the leadoff spot despite hitting .136 overall after an 0-for-4 performance Thursday at Philadelphia that included a pair of line-drive outs. Three of his eight hits on the season came against Zack Wheeler on April 9.

• Closer Craig Kimbrel experienced shoulder soreness during an appearance Saturday and has not appeared in a game since. He threw a 15-pitch bullpen session Wednesday and “felt great,” manager Fredi Gonzalez told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Right-hander David Carpenter converted Monday’s save in Philadelphia. Carpenter had a 1.78 ERA in 2013.

• Shortstop Andrelton Simmons struck out for the first time this season Thursday. The strikeout, against Philadelphia’s A.J. Burnett, came in Simmons’ 48th plate appearance this season. With Simmons no longer K-less, St. Louis’ Shane Robinson has the most plate appearances this season of any MLB player with no strikeouts -- a measly 10.

Evan Gattis is hitting .588 (10-for-17) with three homers, six RBIs and a 1.765 OPS in his past four games. With Brian McCann’s defection to the Yankees, Gattis exclusively has caught this season. Gattis started 47 games in left field and four games at first base in 2013.

• Left fielder Justin Upton is the reigning NL Player of the Week. He had four homers during that period, including a two-homer game against Jenrry Mejia.

• Braves starting pitchers have an MLB-best 1.58 ERA this season. Oakland starters rank second at 2.48.

Ervin Santana threw 20 straight strikes to open his Braves debut, against the Mets at Turner Field. He then limited the Phillies to one run on four hits while matching a career high with 11 strikeouts on Monday. Santana’s 0.64 ERA ranks second in the National League.

Santana signed for one year, $14.1 million on March 12 after Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy both suffered spring-training elbow injuries and ultimately required Tommy John surgery.

Aaron Harang, who finished last season with the Mets, has the third-best ERA in the NL, at 0.96. The Braves unexpectedly dumped Freddy Garcia on March 24 and signed the 35-year-old Harang for a rotation spot. Harang took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning in Milwaukee in his Braves debut. Harang had been released by the Cleveland Indians late in spring training.

• Ex-Mets reliever Pedro Beato, claimed off waivers by the Braves on April 2, was demoted to Triple-A Gwinnett six days later, during the series the Mets took two of three at Turner Field.

• Left-hander Mike Minor, on the DL with shoulder tendinitis, should be activated next week, after one more rehab start. Right-hander Gavin Floyd, signed by the Braves in December after spending seven seasons with the Chicago White Sox, also is on a rehab assignment as he nears a return from Tommy John surgery.

• First baseman Freddie Freeman ranks fourth in the NL with a .389 batting average.

Rapid Reaction: Braves 4, Mets 3

April, 9, 2014
Apr 9
9:52
PM ET
ATLANTA -- Zack Wheeler’s perfect record against the organization he cheered growing up ended with a thud. Not that he had much margin for error given his team’s anemic offense.

Jason Heyward went 3-for-3, drove in two runs and scored twice against Wheeler, who departed after five innings, and the Atlanta Braves held on to beat the Mets, 4-3, Wednesday at Turner Field.

Wheeler, who had been 3-0 in his career against the Braves, ultimately was charged with four earned runs on eight hits while striking out six.

The Mets made it interesting in the ninth, scoring three times with two outs on a Juan Lagares two-run single and RBI single by Travis d'Arnaud against Craig Kimbrel. But the Mets left the tying run on third base when Kimbrel struck out Ruben Tejada to end the game.


Todd Kirkland/Associated PressZack Wheeler allowed four runs in five innings against the Braves on Wednesday.


Meanwhile, Ervin Santana shut down the Mets in the right-hander’s Braves debut. Santana limited the Mets to three hits in eight scoreless innings. His first 20 pitches were strikes.

The Mets finished with six hits and now are hitting an MLB-worst .190 (48-for-252) through eight games this season.

After Santana required only seven pitches to dispose of the Mets in the top of the first, Heyward had an 11-pitch battle to lead off the bottom half against Wheeler. Heyward smoked pitch No. 11, a 96 mph fastball, over the right-field wall for his fourth career leadoff homer.

Heyward also had an RBI single in what became a three-run fifth. Freddie Freeman contributed a two-run single that frame as Atlanta took a 4-0 lead.

Web gems: Lagares produced his latest spectacular fielding play in center field. It came in the first inning, when he crashed into the outfield wall while snaring Freddie Freeman’s line shot. Lagares seemed to injure his right arm on the play, which left a tear in the wall. But Lagares remained in the game with no evident ill effects.

Lagares wasn’t the only player providing fielding highlights at Turner Field. On d’Arnaud’s grounder in the second, Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons fired a laser from the outfield grass while on the ground to record the out at first base.

Simmons’ fielding prowess provided a stark contrast to the opposing shortstop Tejada's early issues. Simmons beat out an infield single to shortstop in the first inning. Later that frame, Tejada lost the handle while fielding Chris Johnson’s grounder and had to settle for a fielder’s choice at second rather than a double play.

Off the schneid: Under-the-weather David Wright, who participated in an extra batting-practice session in the early afternoon, snapped an 0-for-13 skid with a fourth-inning single against Santana. Wright finished 2-for-4. He nearly had a three-hit game, but was robbed on the track in right-center by Heyward in the sixth.

What’s next: Jenrry Mejia (1-0, 1.50 ERA) makes his second Mets start as the teams play the rubber game at 7:10 p.m. Thursday. Mejia opposes rookie right-hander David Hale (0-0, 0.00 ERA), a Princeton product.

Series preview: Mets at Braves

April, 7, 2014
Apr 7
9:30
AM ET

Associated Press/USA TODAY SportsThe Mets will face Aaron Harang, Ervin Santana and David Hale this week at Turner Field.
METS (2-4, fifth place/NL East) at ATLANTA BRAVES (4-2, second place/NL East)

Tuesday: RHP Bartolo Colon (0-1, 4.50) vs. RHP Aaron Harang (1-0, 0.00), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Zack Wheeler (0-1, 4.50) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (0-0, -.--), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Jenrry Mejia (1-0, 1.50) vs. RHP David Hale (0-0, 0.00), 7:10 p.m. ET

Braves short hops


Courtesy of Atlanta BravesThe Braves are wearing this patch to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron becoming MLB's home run king.


• During a pregame ceremony before Tuesday’s Braves home opener, Atlanta will recognize the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron’s 715th home run. The shot came on April 8, 1974 and broke Babe Ruth’s record. The Braves are wearing patches this season to commemorate the anniversary. Aaron, 80, will be on hand. He underwent partial left hip replacement surgery Feb. 14 after falling on ice.

• The Braves unexpectedly dumped Freddy Garcia on March 24 and signed 35-year-old Aaron Harang for a rotation spot. Harang took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning in Milwaukee in his Braves debut. Opposing pitcher Matt Garza also took a no-hit bid into that frame. Logan Schafer’s single to lead off the bottom of the seventh ended Harang’s bid. Harang, who finished last season with the Mets, had been released by the Cleveland Indians late in spring training.

Ervin Santana signed for one-year, $14.1 million on March 12 after Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy both suffered spring-training elbow injuries and ultimately required Tommy John surgery. Santana, who had a 3.24 ERA in 32 starts for the Kansas City Royals last season, will make his Braves debut Wednesday against the Mets. He allowed six runs (five earned) in 5 1/3 innings on Friday for Triple-A Gwinnett against Durham in his final tune-up.

• Atlanta also is missing a third starting pitcher -- left-hander Mike Minor. Minor, hindered by shoulder tendinitis during spring training, logged two innings for Double-A Mississippi on Thursday in a rehab start.

• Right-hander David Hale tossed five scoreless innings in his season debut at the Washington Nationals on Friday. It was his third career major-league start. Last September, Hale limited the San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies to a combined one run in 13 innings. He is a third-round pick in 2009 out of Princeton. To earn the rotation role, Hale beat out fellow rookie Gus Schlosser, who instead found a spot in the bullpen as a longer reliever.

• The Braves claimed ex-Met Pedro Beato off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.

• Brothers B.J. Upton and Justin Upton were a combined 2-for-31 with 16 strikeouts through Friday before each produced a two-hit game Saturday at Nationals Park.

• The Braves lead the majors with a 1.56 ERA.

• Closer Craig Kimbrel notched his 142nd career save Friday, passing Gene Garber for second on the franchise’s all-time list. John Smoltz owns the franchise record with 154 saves. Smoltz also won 210 games as a Brave.

• The Braves went on a late-winter signing binge, locking up several core players long term. The signings:

Feb. 5: First baseman Freddie Freeman, eight years, $135 million

Feb. 14: Right-hander Julio Teheran, six years, $32.4 million

Feb. 16: Kimbrel, four years, $42 million

Feb. 20: Shortstop Andrelton Simmons, seven years, $58 million

Right fielder Jason Heyward also signed for two years, $13.3 million on Feb. 4 to avoid arbitration.

• Simmons earned his first Gold Glove last season.

• The Braves, who have played at Turner Field since it opened for baseball the year after the 1996 Olympics, will move to a new ballpark in Cobb County for the 2017 season. The 42,000-seat stadium, which will be located 10 miles north of downtown Atlanta, is projected to cost $672 million. The Braves have disputed the publicly financed contribution to that price tag, which has been reported as $450 million.

• The probable Braves batting order:

Heyward, rf
B.J. Upton, cf
Freeman, 1b
Chris Johnson, 3b
Justin Upton, lf
Dan Uggla, 2b
Evan Gattis/Gerald Laird/Ryan Doumit, c
Simmons, ss

• Over the weekend, Heyward dealt with muscle spasms in the back of his neck that have resulted in headaches. He still wears a protective flap attached to his helmet to protect his jaw, which he fractured on a 90 mph fastball from Jonathon Niese last August.

Series preview: Mets at Braves

September, 2, 2013
9/02/13
9:00
AM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets face (l to r) Paul Maholm, Kris Medlen and Julio Teheran in a three-game series at Turner Field.
METS (62-73, third place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (83-53, first place/NL East)

Monday: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-2, 8.68) vs. LHP Paul Maholm (9-10, 4.37), 1:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Carlos Torres (3-2, 2.77) vs. RHP Kris Medlen (11-12, 3.58), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Dillon Gee (10-9, 3.63) vs. RHP Julio Teheran (11-7, 3.01), 12:10 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

• The Braves have a two-game lead on the Los Angeles Dodgers for home-field advantage throughout the National League playoffs. Atlanta has produced 21 winning seasons in the past 23 years. The Braves have won 27 of their past 36 games.

• Third baseman Chris Johnson now leads the NL in batting average at .333. St. Louis’ Yadier Molina ranks second at .329. Johnson, who has been dealing with leg soreness, had Sunday’s game off, but nonetheless delivered a pinch-hit single.

Freddy Garcia, 36, was called up by the Braves as rosters expanded. He was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles on Aug. 23 for cash. He will serve as a long reliever/spot starter. Garcia tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings Sunday after starter Alex Wood was knocked out in the third inning.

• Rookie Evan Gattis (.238, 15 HR) was demoted for the weekend to Triple-A Gwinnett to get at-bats. He is due to rejoin the Braves on Tuesday, after the International League season ends. Gattis is hitless in his past 17 major league at-bats. He is hitting .188 since June 1. Gattis was replaced on the major league roster by speedster Jose Constanza.

Julio Teheran topped Miami’s Jose Fernandez in his most recent outing. He limited the Marlins to one run in 6 1/3 innings.

Jason Heyward, who suffered a broken jaw when he was struck with a fastball from Jonathon Niese at Citi Field, has started to do limited exercising.

Kris Medlen has a 1.96 ERA over his past four starts. He blanked the Cleveland Indians for seven innings in his last outing.

• Second baseman Dan Uggla returned from the disabled list Wednesday. He underwent LASIK surgery on Aug. 16.

• Closer Craig Kimbrel has 43 saves. He has converted a franchise-record 33 straight chances.

Kimbrel is the first pitcher in major league history to have three straight 40-save seasons beginning with his rookie year, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. His 90.4 career conversion percentage ranks second in Braves history. The only better: John Smoltz, at 91.1 percent. The only better than those two in major league history (min. 100 chances): Eric Gagne, at 91.7 percent.

Series preview: Mets vs. Braves

August, 19, 2013
8/19/13
10:08
PM ET

USA TODAY SportsThe Mets face Brandon Beachy and Alex Wood during a two-game series at Citi Field.
METS (57-66, third place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (76-48, first place/NL East)

Tuesday: RHP Zack Wheeler (5-2, 3.43) vs. RHP Brandon Beachy (2-0, 4.50), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: LHP Jonathon Niese (5-6, 4.25) vs. LHP Alex Wood (2-2, 2.61), 1:10 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

Brandon Beachy made his season debut July 29 after missing 13 months recovering from Tommy John surgery. He took the rotation spot vacated by Tim Hudson, who underwent ankle surgery after getting stepped on by Eric Young Jr. at Citi Field during Atlanta’s last visit. Beachy had the NL’s best ERA at 2.00 when he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on June 16, 2012 against the Baltimore Orioles.

• The Braves are 19-3 since July 26. They own a season-high 15˝-game lead over the second-place Washington Nationals. The last time Atlanta enjoyed a larger division lead came when it won the NL East in 2002 by 19 games over the Montreal Expos, while going 101-59.


Win McNamee/Getty ImagesJason Heyward has moved to the leadoff spot.


Craig Kimbrel has an NL-leading 39 saves. He has converted 29 straight chances, topping the previous franchise record of 27 straight set by John Smoltz from Aug. 8, 2002 through May 1, 2003. Over his past 25 appearances, Kimbrel has struck out 42 batters while allowing 10 hits and 10 walks in 25 innings.

Overall, Atlanta’s relief corps ranks first in the majors in ERA (2.40), opponent batting average (.213) and WHIP (1.11).

• Since emerging as the leadoff hitter on July 27, Jason Heyward is batting .370 (30-for-81) with five homers, 15 RBIs and a .433 on-base percentage. Andrelton Simmons, who previously occupied the leadoff spot the bulk of the time, mostly has dropped to eighth.

• Rookie Alex Wood, a second-round pick out of the University of Georgia in 2012, makes his seventh major league start -- and third career start against the Mets. In his previous two appearances against the Mets, he has allowed a combined five earned runs on 10 hits and five walks (one intentional) in 7 1/3 innings.

Jordan Schafer has started the Braves’ last four games against right-handed pitchers over B.J. Upton in center field. Upton is hitting .186 with eight homers and 21 RBIs in 317 total at-bats. He is in the first season of a five-year, $75.25 million deal.

Dan Uggla is on the DL after undergoing LASIK surgery to correct his vision. Tyler Pastornicky, Paul Janish and rookie Philip Gosselin have started at second base over the past five games in Uggla’s absence. Gosselin was promoted after Pastornicky tore the ACL in his left knee.

The Braves also have signed second baseman Tyler Greene to a minor league contact and assigned him to Triple-A. He previously was with the Chicago White Sox.

Uggla ranked second on the Braves in homers with 21 and had a team-leading 62 walks when he landed on the DL. But he also had the worst batting average (.186) among major league qualifiers and led the NL in strikeouts (146).

• Left-hander Paul Maholm, on the disabled list since July 29 with a bruised left wrist, is nearing a return after making a rehab start Saturday with Class A Rome.

Series preview: Mets vs. Braves

July, 21, 2013
7/21/13
8:55
PM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets face (l to r) Julio Teheran, Kris Medlen and Tim Hudson the opening three games of the series.
METS (43-51, fourth place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (55-43, first place/NL East)

Monday: RHP Dillon Gee (7-7, 4.32) vs. RHP Julio Teheran (7-5, 3.35), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Carlos Torres (0-1, 0.79) vs. RHP Kris Medlen (6-9, 3.64), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (4-7, 3.93) vs. RHP Tim Hudson (7-7, 4.08), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Zack Wheeler (3-1, 3.58) vs. LHP Paul Maholm (9-9, 4.41), 12:10 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

• The depleted Braves outfield is expected to get Jason Heyward back Monday from a right hamstring strain, which he suffered sliding into third base on July 11. Heyward is due to play center field, where he has only appeared in four career games at the major league level. Heyward will return to right field once B.J. Upton returns from the disabled list.


Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY SportsFreddie Freeman had to sit out the All-Star Game with a thumb injury.


• Left-hander Paul Maholm was sent home to Atlanta to have his sprained left wrist checked, leaving in doubt his availability for Thursday’s start against the Mets. Brandon Beachy or rookie Alex Wood are the likely alternatives if Maholm is unable to start. Maholm injured the wrist batting July 10. He then departed Saturday’s start when the issue flared up. He is 0-3 with a 10.13 ERA this month.

Beachy has made eight minor league starts since returning from 2012 Tommy John surgery. Wood, a southpaw, had been dispatched to Triple-A before the All-Star break to get continued work.

• Right-handed reliever Kameron Loe, who was signed by the Braves on May 11 after appearances with the Chicago Cubs and Seattle Mariners this season, was promoted Sunday.

Freddie Freeman, who attended but could not participate in the All-Star Game due to injury, returned Saturday after missing two starts with a jammed left thumb. He had suffered the injury applying a tag at first base. Freeman had beaten out Yasiel Puig in the “Final Vote” among fans for an All-Star Game berth. He was replaced by teammate Brian McCann. Freeman entered Friday’s game as a defensive replacement and had a first-base collision right away with Adam Dunn, but showed no ill effects.

• McCann has homered in three of his past four games.

• Left fielder Justin Upton returned Friday after missing the final two games before the All-Star break with a calf injury.

• Backup catcher Gerald Laird left Sunday’s game with a bruised left hand in the fourth inning after being hit by a pitch. Evan Gattis returned Sunday after missing 24 games with a right oblique strain. Gattis had started the game in left field before shifting to first base once Laird departed.

• Second baseman Dan Uggla has 19 homers, matching his 2012 total.

• Closer Craig Kimbrel has converted 17 straight saves. Since blowing a save on May 7 at Cincinnati, Kimbrel has allowed one run and 12 hits while striking out 36 in 23 innings.

Kimbrel is the first player in franchise history to reach the 20-save plateau in each of his first three seasons in the majors. With three more saves, he will match John Smoltz as the only closers in Braves history with three 30-save seasons.

• Atlanta’s 29 come-from-behind wins lead the National League.

Reed Johnson has five hits in his past six pinch-hit appearances.

Morning Briefing: Who gets dumped?

May, 26, 2013
5/26/13
8:05
AM ET

Getty Images/Associated Press
Jeremy Hefner or Dillon Gee likely will need to get bounced from the rotation once Zack Wheeler arrives.
FIRST PITCH: So how do the Mets clear a rotation spot when Zack Wheeler joins the Mets in mid-June?

Matt Harvey isn’t going anywhere. Jonathon Niese isn’t, either. And because of his veteran status and $4 million base salary, it is unlikely winless Shaun Marcum is going to get bounced from the rotation.

The choices for bullpen relocation … or demotion: Dillon Gee (2-6, 6.34 ERA) and Jeremy Hefner (0-5, 4.76).

The predisposition probably had been to put Hefner in the bullpen as a long reliever and return Collin McHugh to Triple-A Las Vegas, since scouts often have projected Gee as a quality fifth starter and see Hefner as more of a swingman and rotation safety net.

But Gee’s performance this season, including allowing five fifth-inning runs and departing Saturday against the Atlanta Braves, and Hefner’s more credible recent outings complicate that decision.

There is still time for both to state their cases. Around the time Wheeler is projected to join the Mets, the team will need a sixth starter for a five-game series in Atlanta June 17-20. So the decision likely will not need to be made until after that.

Meanwhile, after dropping two games yesterday to the Atlanta Braves, the Mets (17-29) are now winless through five games of their homestand. They only have a better record than the Houston Astros (14-35) and Miami Marlins (13-36).

The Amazin’s have lost eight straight games at Citi Field. With 12 losses in their past 15 games overall, the Mets have fallen 12 games under .500 at this early a date for the first time since 1993.

The Mets send Marcum (0-5, 6.59) to the mound for an ESPN-televised game on Sunday night at 8:05 opposite Braves right-hander Julio Teheran (3-1, 3.99).

The four-game Subway Series then gets underway Memorial Day -- with two games in each ballpark, beginning in Queens. Matt Harvey Day is Tuesday, opposite Hiroki Kuroda.

Sunday’s news reports:

• Ageless Mariano Rivera continued his production Saturday, converting his 18th straight save opportunity to open the season in the Yankees’ 4-3 comeback win in 11 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Mets will honor the retiring Rivera, 43, before Tuesday’s game -- the closer’s last in Queens (with the exception of the All-Star Game). Last season, the Mets presented retiring Chipper Jones artwork inside the bowels of Citi Field, then replayed the ceremony on the scoreboard once fans arrived.


Mark Cunningham/Getty Images
Mariano Rivera received mounted photos from Jim Leyland during his final visit to Detroit as a player.


Rivera has received gifts at every last stop in a city so far, so spare the outrage at the Mets recognizing his retirement, too.

The Detroit Tigers gave mounted photos of Mo pitching at the old Tiger Stadium and Comerica Park with dirt capsules from each stadium. The Cleveland Indians gave a gold record of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And the Kansas City Royals and Colorado Rockies each have donated $5,000 to his charitable foundation.

Of course, having the Mo’s Zone in right field at Citi Field arguably is enough.

• The Atlanta Braves scored a pair of runs against Brandon Lyon in the 10th inning and won the resumption of Friday’s suspended game, 7-5. The Mets placed two runners on base in the bottom half against closer Craig Kimbrel, but Ruben Tejada popped out on an attempted sacrifice bunt and Justin Turner grounded into a game-ending double play. The defeat kept the Mets winless in the 10 games following Harvey starts, and meant the Mets are now 0-9 in Hefner starts, although this wasn’t his fault.

The Mets then were blanked by left-hander Mike Minor and David Carpenter in a 6-0 loss in the regularly scheduled contest. Gee took a scoreless effort into the fifth, when he surrendered five runs, including a two-run homer to Minor. This season, Gee has held opposing batters to a .225 average and no homers the first time through the order. After facing him one plate appearance, though, opponents are hitting .392 with eight homers during subsequent at-bats in the game.

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

• Read more on Gee in the Post.

Ike Davis delivered a line-drive single over shortstop against Kimbrel after the suspended game resumed, but then sat against the left-handed Minor. He struck out on three pitches as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning of the regularly scheduled game and is now 2-for-his-last-44. Read more in the Post, Newsday, Star-Ledger and Times.

• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News suggests the stench in Flushing is more than Davis stinking up the joint. Writes Harper:

At this point the Ike Davis saga is little more than a symbolic sideshow. Yes, he should be in the minors by now, if only to throw a life preserver to a drowning hitter, but with each passing day, the debate matters less and less as the Mets sink into oblivion.

Suffice to say the Mets are as bad as the weather lately, and, of course, only one of the two is guaranteed to get better in the weeks ahead. Remember when Sandy Alderson insisted during the winter that he wasn’t punting on 2013? Well, it’s Memorial Day weekend, and the only race the Mets are in is the one to avoid the embarrassment of finishing behind the Triple-A Marlins.

Never mind punting. The season already feels like one long Hail Mary. I mean, you knew the Mets had no shot of contending, but, Matt Harvey aside, did anybody really think they’d be this unwatchable?


Getty Images/Associated Press
Scott Atchison and Jeurys Familia began rehab assignments Saturday with Class A St. Lucie.


Scott Atchison and Jeurys Familia began rehab assignments Saturday with Class A St. Lucie, each tossing scoreless innings. Atchison had experienced numbness in his fingers during a May 13 appearance at St. Louis, which was related to elbow inflammation, so appearing in a minor league game this soon would appear a positive sign. When similar symptoms surfaced last year while with the Boston Red Sox, Atchison passed on undergoing Tommy John surgery but missed two months. Familia has been on the DL since May 12 with biceps tendinitis.

• Starter Logan Verrett retired the final 13 batters he faced and Binghamton beat Portland, 3-2, on a throwing error in the 10th. Phillip Evans’ two-out, walk-off hit in the ninth scored Cole Frenzel with the winning run as Savannah overcame a one-run deficit in the final frame to beat Augusta, 2-1. Angel Cuan tossed seven scoreless innings and combined with Familia and Atchison on a two-hit shutout as St. Lucie beat Bradenton, 1-0. Read the full minor league recap here.

• The Mets amended their ticket-exchange policy for Friday’s suspended game. If you haven’t already traded in tickets for Friday's suspended game, you need to do so for tonight’s series finale against Atlanta. Originally, the Mets had said fans could trade in the tickets for any comparably priced seat this season, subject to availability. Read more in the Daily News.

• Mike Kerwick in the Record believes the Subway Series getting reduced from six to four games this season is good for the Mets, but not the fans.

• Vote on the best Subway Series moments, Sweet 16 bracket style, in the Post.

• Steve Serby in the Post has a Q&A with Gary, Keith and Ron.

• Columnist Bob Klapisch in the Record outlines some Subway Series matchups to watch.

• Columnist George Willis in the Post writes something unflattering about Wheeler.

• Harvey’s social life made the tabloids. Read more in the Daily News.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear discovered Mets-Braves suspended game precedent from 1979. … John Delcos at Mets Report suggests Davis needs the minor leagues right now.

BIRTHDAYS: Right-hander Kevin Mulvey, who now helps coach the Villanova baseball team, turns 28. He was traded to the Minnesota Twins in the Johan Santana deal.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Who should get bounced from the rotation for Zack Wheeler?
ATLANTA

FIRST PITCH: After a rainout Saturday, the Mets complete a shortened series today at 1:30 p.m. at Turner Field.

Jonathon Niese (2-2, 3.31 ERA) opposes Atlanta Braves right-hander Tim Hudson (3-1, 3.86). Matt Harvey instead gets pushed to Tuesday’s homestand opener against the Chicago White Sox.

Sunday’s news reports:

• Is Lucas Duda’s selectivity at the plate an asset or a detriment? Writes Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger:


Chris Trotmanamee/Getty Images
Lucas Duda could afford to swing more frequently with runners in scoring position.


In 24 plate appearances with runners in scoring position this season, Duda has walked 33.3 percent of the time, tied for the highest rate in the league. But he has just two hits, both singles, and two runs batted in. He has struck out twice. His slugging percentage in those circumstances is just .133, the 12th-worst in the majors with runners in scoring position.

"You don’t want to change a guy’s approach too much, but there’s certain times -- his swing percentage on first pitch is like seven percent or something -- I’d like to see him swing," Mets hitting coach Dave Hudgens said this week.

"A lot of times he wants to see what the pitcher’s got. I totally understand that. But once you get into the game, in the at-bat, and there’s guys in scoring position, and that guy lays a good pitch there, I want guys to be able to do some damage on it -- especially a guy like him that can hit the ball out of the ballpark."

Ruben Tejada, on the other hand, has an excellent two-strike approach. Writes Marc Carig in Newsday:

Since 2010, when Tejada made his debut, major-league hitters have reached base at roughly a .250 clip once they land in any two-strike count. But Tejada has consistently outperformed the league average. His .319 on-base percentage on two-strike counts is the eighth highest among all hitters with at least 300 plate appearances. Tejada leads the 2013 Mets with a .362 on-base percentage when he reaches two strikes, ahead of noted two-strike battler David Wright (.355).

"Ruben's really good," Mets hitting coach Dave Hudgens said. "He fouls off a lot of pitches with two strikes. He lets the ball get deep . Yeah, he does a good job with that."

David Wright has not been complacent after signing an eight-year, $138 million contract in December, writes Mike Puma in the Post.

Bobby Parnell has largely succeeded in the ninth inning this season, writes Kristie Ackert in the Daily News.

• Read more on Harvey getting pushed back to Tuesday and the starting pitching in the Post.

• The Mets are 9-3 when they score five-plus runs this season and 3-12 otherwise, notes Mike Kerwick in the Record.

• Ray Glier in the Times gets inside Wright’s game-tying at-bat against Craig Kimbrel on Friday night. He also looks at the Braves’ ability to win despite gaudy batter strikeout totals.

• Tyler Kepner in the Times profiles the arrival of Justin Upton with the Braves.

D.J. Mitchell allowed seven first-inning runs and Las Vegas lost to Sacramento, 11-7, Saturday night. Read the full minor league recap here.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear looks forward to a night of intense Mets talk this week. … Shannon from Mets Police has a 25th-favorite Met. … John Delcos from Mets Report suggests Terry Collins unfairly is being judged.

BIRTHDAYS: Ex-Mets reliever Juan Acevedo turns 43.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Would you rather Matt Harvey pitched today against the Braves? Or are you OK with him waiting and pitching at Citi Field?

Morning briefing: Wright stuff in 9th

May, 4, 2013
5/04/13
5:52
AM ET

Marvel/Associated Press
David Wright, also known as Captain America, had a game-tying ninth-inning homer against Craig Kimbrel on Friday night.
ATLANTA

FIRST PITCH: After suffering a pair of demoralizing defeats early this week in Miami, the Mets felt good to be the team to come back a few outs from defeat.

David Wright produced a one-out homer in the ninth on a 97 mph fastball from Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel and the Mets ultimately won, 7-5 in 10 innings, Friday night at Turner Field.

“They’re one of the best in the game -- and then arguably the best in the game pitching the ninth,” Wright said about Atlanta’s bullpen and specifically Kimbrel. “Any time you get the opportunity to win a close game late against these guys, you’ve got to take advantage of it, because that opportunity doesn’t come around too often.”

Jonathon Niese (2-2, 3.31 ERA) looks to up the Mets’ winning streak to three games when he opposes right-hander Julio Teheran (1-0, 5.08) at 7:10 tonight. Rain is forecast.

Saturday’s news reports:

• Sandy Alderson offered a vote of confidence -- or, at least, no indication Terry Collins’ job is in jeopardy anytime soon. Alderson also told Mike Puma in the Post about the 2013 Mets:


William Perlman/US Presswire
Sandy Alderson in Atlanta commented on Terry Collins and the Mets' performance.


“When you’re not hitting, it basically puts pressure on every aspect of your game. And our starting pitching has to get into the sixth and seventh inning. And I don’t believe our bullpen is as bad a part of that doomsday scenario. If you look at that pen, we’ve actually got some guys that have pitched well. Have they pitched well in high-leverage situations? Inconsistent.

“There’s a lot of the season left to play out,” the GM continued. “I do think perceptions are heightened when you go into Miami, a place everybody thinks every team should sweep ... and you end up losing two games, and you lose them basically with no offense the first two nights. But you move forward.”

Read more in the Daily News.

Jordany Valdespin irked Mets people by failing to show up for early batting practice Friday at Turner Field, sources told ESPNNewYork.com. Valdespin, after contributing to the win with a 10th-inning pinch-hit walk and steal, suggested he was not required to attend.

Jared Diamond in the Journal discusses the merits of Valdespin as a pinch hitter and starter.

John Buck, Lucas Duda, Marlon Byrd and Wright all went deep in the Mets’ victory Friday night. Bobby Parnell inherited a runner on third base with one out from Brandon Lyon in the bottom of the ninth and wriggled free to send the game to extra innings. Jeurys Familia earned his first major league save and could be setting himself up for more late-inning work. Shaun Marcum lasted only 4 1/3 innings. The Mets felt they caught a break when Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez lifted Mike Minor after seven innings and 90 pitches, even though the southpaw had retired 18 straight batters.

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


Adam Rubin
Robert Carson says his mother may wear this jersey to tonight's game. Carson's mother began calling him "Pookie-Nookie" when he was young. When Mets teammates found out last year, they had the jersey made.


• Read a transcript of Braves postgame quotes from David O’Brien in the AJC.

• Read more on Marcum in the Post.

Mike Piazza made an appearance with the Miami City Ballet on Friday.

• There will be less Collin Cowgill with the Mets. Actually, none at all for the time being. Cowgill was demoted Friday to clear a roster spot for the promotion of fellow outfielder Andrew Brown. Brown went 0-for-3 with a strikeout in his Mets debut as the starting right fielder. Read more in the Times, Star-Ledger, Newsday and MLB.com.

• Center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis had an amazing catch Friday night for Triple-A Las Vegas at Sacramento.

• Right-hander Noah Syndergaard, who arrived with Travis d’Arnaud in the R.A. Dickey deal, suffered his first loss as a member of the organization despite limiting Fort Myers to one run in six innings. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Kieran Darcy at ESPNNewYork.com profiles Columbia slugger and military veteran Joey Falcone, the son of former Mets pitcher Pete Falcone.

Justin Turner started over Ike Davis at first base on Friday. Read more in the Record.

• Drink alcohol in the Citi Field parking lot and risk a $25 fine, writes Eric Holden at Yahoo Sports.

From the bloggers … In recognition of the Kentucky Derby, John Delcos at Mets Report gives Mets of past and present horse names. … Faith and Fear in Flushing marvels how the Atlanta opener was two games in one. … At Mets Police, a Mets-themed coffin and a group photo of Piazza's ballet. … Rising Apple writers opine on April and what the Mets ought to do going forward.

BIRTHDAYS: Infielder Miguel Cairo is 39. … Catcher Robinson Cancel, who was nicknamed by teammates “La Tortuga,” turns 37. … Reliever Manny Aybar is 41.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Did you agree with Collin Cowgill getting demoted for Andrew Brown?

Wright hands Kimbrel rare blown save

May, 4, 2013
5/04/13
12:27
AM ET

Butch Dill/Getty Images
Craig Kimbrel reacts in disgust after surrendering a game-tying solo homer to David Wright in the ninth.
ATLANTA -- What pitch did David Wright hit for a game-tying solo homer against Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel in the ninth?

After the Mets completed a 7-5, 10-inning win Friday night at Turner Field, Wright suggested he was not quite sure.

“I had my eyes closed. I don’t know,” Wright said after his 464-foot shot with one out in the ninth evened the score at 5. “I think it was a fastball. He throws so hard that he supplies the power. You’ve just got to try to in your mind slow it down a little bit and try to meet it. Because when he’s throwing 97, 98 and you can just make contact, a lot of times he provides the power and the work for you.”

Wright’s homer allowed the Mets to produce their first win in Atlanta when trailing in the ninth inning in 20 years, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

On Sept. 18, 1993, the Mets won 3-2 in 10 innings on Tito Navarro’s pinch-hit RBI single against Steve Bedrosian. The Mets had a two-run ninth that day, with Todd Hundley and Dave Gallagher producing consecutive two-out RBI singles against Greg McMichael.

Kimbrel had entered the game two successful save conversions shy of becoming the third-quickest closer in major league history to 100 saves. (It would have been 112 chances.) Instead, he suffered his 13th blown save in 111 career chances.

In 16 previous games against Kimbrel, the Mets had a .148 batting average against him. They had struck out 27 times in 54 at-bats. And they had only one extra-base hit -- a solo homer by Lucas Duda on Sept. 18, 2011 in a non-save situation with the Braves already trailing.

“I’m not really sure how many hits we’ve ever got off Kimbrel, let alone a home run,” Terry Collins said. “As I said the other night, there’s a reason why No. 5 is a star -- because he comes up with big things at big times. A huge hit for us. We really needed it.”

Said Wright: “Against him, it’s almost close your eyes and swing hard and hope you hit it. He’s as dominant as anybody in the game. So, really, you’ve just got to hope that he even makes a minor mistake, or really you don’t have much of a chance. So on that one it was kind of more luck than anything.”

Wright’s 464-foot shot was his longest since ESPN began tracking homers in 2006, and the longest by a Met since a 467-foot shot by Carlos Delgado on June 27, 2008. It also was the longest Kimbrel has allowed in his career, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

“He’s definitely a guy you can’t make a mistake to, especially up in the zone with a fastball,” Kimbrel said. “… He hit that good. You can’t make mistakes to him, and I did. And that was the difference in the ballgame.

“It’s frustrating when you feel like you’re pitching well on a certain night and you still get beat, because you make a mistake. That’s a mistake that could’ve been avoided, but I didn’t do it, and I paid for it.”

Considering the Mets’ consecutive heartbreaking losses in Miami ran their losing streak to six, Wright suggested Friday’s dramatics were especially pleasing.

“To be a good team, you’ve got to win the close games and you’ve got to win the majority of those extra-inning games,” Wright said. “So, yeah, it felt great, especially after going through what we went through in Miami.”

Rapid Reaction: Mets 7, Braves 5 (10)

May, 3, 2013
5/03/13
11:04
PM ET
WHAT IT MEANS: The Mets' most reliable pieces -- David Wright, Bobby Parnell, Jordany Valdespin and John Buck -- all played starring roles as the Mets survived for a 7-5 win in 10 innings against the Atlanta Braves on Friday night at Turner Field.

With the Mets two outs from defeat, Wright belted a solo homer against Braves closer Craig Kimbrel in the ninth to even the score. Kimbrel had entered the game with the fifth-best career save percentage in MLB history among closers with at least 100 opportunities (89.1 percent).

Parnell then had a stellar moment, too.

Inheriting a runner on third base from Brandon Lyon with one out and the score tied in the bottom of the ninth, Parnell wriggled free of the jam. He stranded the potential winning run 90 feet from home plate by ultimately retiring Justin Upton on a groundout to third base.

The final dramatics: Ruben Tejada delivered a two-out single against Jordan Walden in the top of the 10th that scored Valdespin and Daniel Murphy added an RBI single against Luis Avilan. Valdespin had walked as a pinch hitter with two outs and stolen second.

Jeurys Familia pitched a scoreless bottom of the 10th for his first major league save. The converted starter's only other professional save came earlier this season with Triple-A Las Vegas.

LYON DOESN’T ROAR: Lyon, who became the eighth pitcher in franchise history to uncork a walk-off wild pitch earlier this week in Miami, nearly twice gave up the lead.

Lyon originally entered with one out in the eighth and the score tied at 4. He served up a tiebreaking homer to Evan Gattis on the first pitch he threw.

After Wright’s long ball pulled the Mets even at 5, Lyon allowed a leadoff double to Ramiro Pena in the ninth, then a sac bunt. Terry Collins then inserted Parnell with the winning run at third base. And Parnell coaxed a flyout that was too shallow for the Braves to attempt to score, the closer ultimately escaped with the Upton groundout.

DEEP THOUGHTS: All of the Mets’ runs before the 10th came via the homer.

Buck's 10th homer of the season, a two-run shot in the first inning against left-hander Mike Minor, came in his 25th game of the season. That tied Buck with Carlos Delgado (2006) and Dave Kingman (1982) for the second-fastest to double digits in franchise history to start a season.

Kingman also has the franchise record. He reached 10 homers in his 23rd game of the 1976 season.

Duda’s solo shot in the second was his sixth long ball of 2013 and staked the Mets to a 3-0 lead. He was the last baserunner Minor allowed.

Marlon Byrd homered to lead off the eighth against left-hander Eric O'Flaherty, which evened the score at 4. O’Flaherty had just replaced Minor, who was pulled with his pitch count at 90 despite retiring the final 18 batters he faced.

OFF THE MARC: Shaun Marcum took a 3-1 lead into the fifth. He then surrendered a one-out RBI single to Andrelton Simmons that pulled Atlanta within a run and departed with the bases loaded.

LaTroy Hawkins limited the damage. Hawkins surrendered a first-pitch sacrifice fly to dangerous Justin Upton that evened the score at 3. Hawkins then struck out Freddie Freeman to strand two in scoring position.

Marcum’s final line: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K. He threw 87 pitches (57 strikes).

DEBUTANT: Andrew Brown, starting in right field, went 0-for-3 with a strikeout in his Mets debut before departing for the pinch-hitting Valdespin in the 10th.

OUCH: Braves third baseman Juan Francisco was forced to leave the game after spraining his right ankle on the basepaths in the third inning. Pena replaced him.

WHAT’S NEXT: Jonathon Niese (2-2, 3.31 ERA) opposes right-hander Julio Teheran (1-0, 5.08) at 7:10 p.m. Saturday.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.295 9 55 76
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 28
RBIL. Duda 86
RD. Murphy 76
OPSL. Duda .832
WB. Colon 14
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.49
SOZ. Wheeler 180