LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Freddie Freeman is a thorn in the Mets’ side even when the games do not really count.
Freeman has a career .313 average with 13 homers and 59 RBIs in 268 regular-season at-bats against the Mets.
The Mets (3-5) placed two runners on base with none out in the eighth, trailing by a run. But Anthony Recker grounded into a double play and Eric Campbell was retired on a sharp comebacker back to pitcher Jose Veras as Atlanta preserved a 3-2 lead.
Colon indicated that the fastball to Freeman was supposed to be away but instead traveled up and in.
“I didn’t get it where I wanted to get it,” Colon said through a team official.
Colon’s line: 3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 B, 1 K, 1 HR.
“I was only scheduled to go three innings. I’m right on schedule,” Colon said. “I’ve got command of all my pitches. I’m hoping to go at least four innings in my next start. Overall, I feel pretty good.”
Said Terry Collins: “He was fine. He’s always going to move the ball around. And Freddie kills us. Nothing new. [Colon] didn’t see a lot damage except for Freddie Freeman. And that’s what he does to us.”
Welcome back: Travis d'Arnaud returned to the starting lineup Tuesday, two days after being forced to exit with a cut on his left ring finger. D’Arnaud retired Braves leadoff batter Mallex Smith attempting to steal in the first inning and later contributed an RBI single in the sixth to pull the Mets within 3-2.
D’Arnaud had been 1-for-13 before the hit.
Odds and ends: Dario Alvarez, now a more serious candidate for a lefty relief role with Josh Edgin injured, tossed a perfect inning that included inducing Freeman to fly out. … Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ strong offensive showing in the Grapefruit League continued. Nieuwenhuis, who entered 9-for-15, walked twice and went 0-for-1. He now has a .579 on-base percentage. “Good at-bats from Kirk,” Collins said. “He’s really had a good camp. He’s swinging the bat very well.” … Right fielder Cesar Puello threw out Eury Perez trying to score from second base in the third inning. … Buddy Carlyle contributed two scoreless relief innings.
What’s next: Another Matt Harvey Day! Harvey is slated for 45 to 50 pitches, ideally spanning three innings, against the Miami Marlins on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. in Jupiter. He opposes right-hander Henderson Alvarez. Noah Syndergaard also is scheduled to pitch for the Mets.