New York Mets: Jair Jurrjens

Series preview: Mets vs. Braves

September, 6, 2012
9/06/12
4:44
PM ET

Getty Images
The Mets face (l to r) Paul Maholm, Kris Medlen and Tommy Hanson this weekend.
METS (65-72, fourth place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (78-60, second place/NL East)

Friday: LHP Jon Niese (10-8, 3.55) vs. LHP Paul Maholm (11-9, 3.79), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (2-5, 4.52) vs. RHP Kris Medlen (7-1, 1.56), 4:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Chris Young (4-7, 4.48) vs. RHP Tommy Hanson (12-7, 4.45), 1:10 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

Chipper Jones makes his final appearance in Queens as a player this weekend. He famously named his son Shea (now 8 years old) after the Mets’ former homer because of his success there.

Jones hit his second walk-off homer of the season Sunday, when he slugged a three-run shot against Philadelphia. He now has nine career game-ending homers, breaking a tie with Hank Aaron for the franchise record. Aaron had two with the Milwaukee Braves and another six after the move to Atlanta. Jones’ two walk-off homers in a season match the major league record for a player who has turned 40. Andres Galarraga also performed the feat twice, in 2001 with the San Francisco Giants.

Jones has 2,714 career hits, one shy of matching Bill Buckner for 60th on the all-time list.

Kris Medlen is the reigning NL Pitcher of the Month. He went 4-0 with an 0.50 ERA (2 ER in 35 2/3 innings) while striking out 35 and walking four in August. Medlen is 6-0 with a 0.54 ERA in seven starts since moving from the bullpen to the rotation on July 31.


Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images
Dan Uggla's .207 average is the lowest in the National League among qualifiers.


He produced a 34 2/3-inning scoreless streak that began with a start against the Mets on Aug. 11. It marked the longest scoreless streak by a Brave since Greg Maddux went 39 1/3 run-free innings in 2000.

Medlen is now 12-2 with a 3.08 ERA in 25 career major league starts. The Braves have won his last 18 starts, a franchise record. The record previously was held by John Smoltz (15 in 1996). The last major league team to win that many consecutive starts by a pitcher was the Yankees in 2000 with Roger Clemens on the mound (20 straight).

• After three games out of the starting lineup, slumping Dan Uggla has now made consecutive starts at second base. Uggla’s .207 average is last among National League qualifiers, a full 13 points worse than runner-up Drew Stubbs of Cincinnati. Uggla’s 150 strikeouts are six shy of matching the franchise record he set last season. Andruw Jones previously held the record, with 147 strikeouts in 2004. Martin Prado started the three games with Uggla on the bench. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez indicated he would pick spots for Uggla to start.

• Catcher Brian McCann went hitless in four at-bats Thursday and is hitting .155 (13-for-84) with no extra-base hits in 24 games since Aug. 1. McCann received a cortisone shot in his right shoulder after Saturday’s game and did not return to the lineup until Wednesday. McCann also received a cortisone shot Aug. 7. He has a frayed labrum and a cyst and may require offseason surgery. David Ross handled the catching duty with McCann unavailable.

• Rookie shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who has been sidelined since July 8 with a fractured right pinkie, will complete his rehab assignment with Class A Lynchburg and should be activated during the weekend series against the Mets. Ex-Red Paul Janish primarily has handled shortstop in Simmons’ absence. Jack Wilson, who fractured a finger against the Mets in July, was released last week before being activated.

Miguel Batista, who signed a minor league contract with Atlanta on July 27 after declining to go to Triple-A with the Mets, returns to Citi Field in a Braves uniform. He was called up on Aug. 25 and has allowed one run in five innings spanning four relief appearances.

Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran received September call-ups. Teheran received the promotion despite a 7-9 record and 5.08 ERA in 26 starts for Triple-A Gwinnett. Jair Jurrjens was bypassed for a call-up. He had a 6.89 ERA in 11 appearances (10 starts) earlier in the season in the majors. Backup first baseman Lyle Overbay also was among the September call-ups. He had been signed Aug. 20 after being released by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

• Center fielder Michael Bourn is one homer shy of becoming the fourth player in Atlanta history to reached double digits in homers, triples and steals in the same season. The others: Ralph Garr (1974), Marquis Grissom (1996) and Rafael Furcal (2003 and 2005).

• Atlanta acquired infielder Jeff Baker from the Detroit Tigers for a player to be named or cash last Friday, at the non-waiver trade deadline.

• Closer Craig Kimbrel notched his 34th save Thursday. He has struck out 94 in 51 1/3 innings.

• The Braves enter the weekend off consecutive 1-0 victories against the Colorado Rockies. Both Braves runs were unearned. The last time a team won consecutive games by that score using unearned runs came in July 1984, with the Los Angeles Dodgers defeating the Cincinnati Reds, according to STATS LLC. Mike Minor took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning in the Wednesday victory. Atlanta went 3-for-35 with runners in scoring position during the four-game series against Colorado.

• Call-up Jose Constanza, who injured Daniel Murphy on a slide in 2010, won the International League batting title. Constanza hit .314.

Last series results

Atlanta won, 2-1, at Citi Field, Aug. 10-12 (AP game recaps)

Braves 4, Mets 0: Paul Maholm pitched a three-hitter in his second start for Atlanta and the Braves got two-run homers from Jason Heyward and Dan Uggla. Heyward connected in the first inning to help spoil Matt Harvey's home debut with the Mets. Uggla went deep in the eighth off reliever Josh Edgin for his first homer in more than a month. More

Braves 9, Mets 3: Freddie Freeman had five RBIs in the first two innings and the Braves battered Johan Santana in his return from the disabled list. Michael Bourn had three hits, Chipper Jones chased Santana with an RBI single in a seven-run second inning and Atlanta roughed up the two-time Cy Young Award winner in the worst start of his career. Kris Medlen (3-1) pitched effectively into the seventh inning, striking out seven while improving to 2-0 since joining the rotation. More

Mets 6, Braves 5: Jon Niese handed a five-run lead to the bullpen, then watched from the bench as it started to unravel. Frank Francisco walked a pair of batters with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning, then gave up a two-run double to Martin Prado that put the potential tying run on third and the go-ahead run on second. When Jason Heyward then swung and missed at strike three, the slider was in the dirt and rolled under catcher Rob Johnson. Johnson took his time, however, and his throw just beat Heyward for the final out. More

Series preview: Mets vs. Braves

August, 10, 2012
8/10/12
10:38
AM ET

Getty Images
The Braves send (l to r) Paul Maholm, Kris Medlen and Ben Sheets to the mound this weekend at Citi Field.
METS (54-58, third place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (64-47, second place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Matt Harvey (1-2, 3.86) vs. LHP Paul Maholm (9-7, 3.75), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: LHP Johan Santana (6-7, 3.98) vs. RHP Kris Medlen (2-1, 2.37), 7:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: LHP Jon Niese (8-6, 3.82) vs. RHP Ben Sheets (4-1, 1.41), 8:05 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

• After a deal to acquire Ryan Dempster from the Cubs unraveled (he ultimately landed in Texas) the Braves instead obtained left-hander Paul Maholm from Chicago on July 30 with outfielder Reed Johnson and cash for right-handers Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman.

Before the trading deadline, the Braves also acquired infielder Paul Janish from Cincinnati. That acquisition, which came during the second-half-opening series against the Mets, resulted from rookie Andrelton Simmons suffering a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal in his right hand. Atlanta also lost Jack Wilson during that Mets series, with a dislocated middle joint in his right pinkie.

Maholm lost his Braves debut Saturday despite limiting Houston to three runs in seven innings. In his final seven games (six starts) with the Cubs, the 30-year-old southpaw went 5-0 with a 1.00 ERA. The Braves have a $6.5 million team option on Maholm for 2013. Janish is hitting .198, but has only one error in 24 starts at shortstop since the deal.


Dale Zanine/US Presswire
Despite a solid season, Chipper Jones reiterated he will retire after 2012.


Chipper Jones (.316, 10 HR, 48 RBIs) recently told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he still intends to retire after the season, despite his success. Jones, 40, will be honored at Turner Field during Atlanta’s final regular-season home series, which fittingly is against the Mets. Atlanta makes one more visit to Flushing this season -- Sept. 7-9. Jones ranks sixth on the all-time list among switch-hitters with 2,694 hits. He trails only Pete Rose (4,256), Eddie Murray (3,255), Frankie Frisch (2,880), Omar Vizquel (2,863) and Roberto Alomar (2,724).

• A strong Cy Young candidate, closer Craig Kimbrel has 31 saves (in 33 chances), trailing only Pittsburgh’s Joel Hanrahan (33 saves). The last closer to win the award was the Dodgers’ Eric Gagne in 2003. Kimbrel, 24, has struck out 75 and allowed only 17 hits and 11 walks in 43 innings. If he finishes at this rate, his 15.70 strikeouts per nine innings would be the second-best of any closer in a single season while producing 30-plus saves. The only better: Carlos Marmol had a 15.99 strikeout-per-nine-innings rate while amassing 38 saves with the Cubs in 2010.

• Atlanta’s bullpen tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings Wednesday at Philly in relief of Tim Hudson. The relief corps has allowed 18 earned runs and struck out 110 in 102 innings over 32 games since July 3. That’s a 1.59 ERA during that span. The Braves are 64-1 when holding a lead in the seventh inning or beyond, the best winning percentage in the majors, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Ben Sheets is 4-1 with a 1.41 ERA since joining the Braves following a two-year absence from the majors while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

• Right fielder Jason Heyward turned 23 Thursday. He is one of six major leaguers to have produced at least 15 homers and 15 steals this season, joining Ryan Braun, Ian Desmond, Hanley Ramirez, Alex Rios and Mike Trout.

• The Braves have won 12 of their past 15, and 23 of 32 since July 3.

Brian McCann and David Ross have combined for 24 homers, the most in the NL from the catching position. McCann has nine homers and 22 RBIs in his past 23 games.

• Center fielder Michael Bourn is eligible for free agency after the season.

• Left-handed reliever Jonny Venters, who led the majors in relief appearances last season with 85, returned from the DL on July 21 after missing two weeks with an elbow impingement. He recently had elbow soreness surface and was given a week off, but returned to action Sunday. Lefty batters are hitting .281 against Venters this season, after hitting only .127 in 2011.

• Right-handers Tommy Hanson (lower-back strain) and Jair Jurrjens (groin strain) are on the DL. Jurrjens (6.89 ERA) had been reassigned to the bullpen before the injury.

Last series results

Altanta won, 3-0, at Turner Field, July 13-15 (AP game recaps)

Braves 7, Mets 5: It was a big day for Atlanta catcher Brian McCann, who celebrated the birth of his first child. It was also a big day for his backup, David Ross, who helped power the Braves' offense in McCann's absence. Ross homered and drove in four runs, Chipper Jones also connected and the Braves survived a crisis at shortstop to beat the Mets. The Braves had chosen to wait to replace rookie Andrelton Simmons, who broke his right little finger and will be out at least a month. Atlanta then lost shortstop Jack Wilson with another pinkie injury in the game. The Mets-killer Jones hit the 49th homer of his career against the Amazin’s, in the sixth off Josh Edgin, who was making his major league debut. More

Braves 8, Mets 7: Jason Heyward singled to cap a three-run eighth-inning rally and the Braves took advantage after the umpires reversed a call. The Braves' comeback prevented a shaky R.A. Dickey from getting his 11th win in a row. Bobby Parnell (2-2) gave up RBI singles with two outs in the eighth to Michael Bourn, Marin Prado and Heyward. Terry Collins was ejected while disputing a call in Atlanta's two-run fifth. With the score 3-all and Prado on first base with one out, Heyward hit a sinking liner that left fielder Jordany Valdespin charged. Dale Scott initially ruled Valdespin made a diving catch and Prado, who had reached second, was trapped while retreating for an apparent inning-ending double play. After the umpires conferred, they ruled Heyward's ball bounced. The umpires placed Prado on second. More

Braves 6, Mets 1: Freddie Freeman hit a three-run homer in a six-run fifth inning and Ben Sheets (1-0) allowed two hits and one walk with five strikeouts in six scoreless innings in his first start since July 19, 2010. Johan Santana (6-6) gave up eight hits, six runs, two walks and struck out three in five innings. Dan Warthen was ejected during a mound visit. When plate umpire C.B. Bucknor reached the mound, Warthen began arguing with him over the strike zone afforded Santana. More

Series preview: Mets at Braves

July, 13, 2012
7/13/12
9:27
AM ET

Getty Images/Associated Press
The Mets face (l to r) Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson and Ben Sheets during a weekend series at Turner Field.
METS (46-40, third place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (46-39, second place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Chris Young (2-2, 3.41) vs. RHP Tim Hudson (7-4, 3.56), 7:35 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP R.A. Dickey (12-1, 2.40) vs. RHP Tommy Hanson (10-5, 3.71), 4:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: LHP Johan Santana (6-5, 3.24) vs. RHP Ben Sheets (0-1, 5.06 at Double-A Mississippi), 1:35 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

• Retiring Chipper Jones’ farewell tour took him to the All-Star Game as a selection for the eighth and final time. Jones addressed the National Leaguers pregame. “I was honored that Tony [La Russa] asked me to say something, and I just wanted the guys to know that nothing’s a given, you don’t know when your last one’s going to be,” Jones told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Soak up this opportunity. I quoted the late, great Lou Brown in ‘Major League,’ saying ‘Two’s nice, but three’s a winning streak.’ [In the All-Star Game] we got on a little bit of a roll and we’ve won three in a row. Somebody in this clubhouse is going to be real happy to have home-field advantage come October.”

The Braves will have a Sept. 28 ceremony to honor Jones before facing -- you guessed it -- the Mets. (The Amazin’s happen to be the final home series for the Braves during the regular season.)

• Second baseman Dan Uggla, center fielder Michael Bourn and closer Craig Kimbrel also represented the Braves in Kansas City. Bourn replaced Nats shortstop Ian Desmond.


David Eulit/Getty Images
Chipper Jones had his final All-Star appearance Tuesday.


• On Sunday, ex-Brewer Ben Sheets will make his first major league start since July 19, 2010, when he was with Oakland. Sheets has undergone a pair of elbow surgeries. Sheets, who turns 34 on Wednesday, signed a minor league deal with Atlanta on July 1. In two starts with Double-A Mississippi, he allowed seven runs (six earned) on 12 hits, a walk and a hit batter while striking out 10 in 10 2/3 innings. Sheets will bump either Mike Minor or Randall Delgado from the rotation.

Tim Hudson has received two cortisone shots in the past month to try to alleviate left ankle discomfort. The second injection came last Friday, after Hudson nonetheless blanked the Phillies for seven innings in what eventually became a weekend sweep. Hudson reportedly has bone spurs in the ankle, but will wait until the offseason for surgery.

• Defensive whiz Andrelton Simmons suffered a broken right pinkie on a headfirst slide into second base Sunday and was placed on the DL. The Braves will make a corresponding roster move to replace the rookie before Friday’s game. Original starting shortstop Tyler Pastornicky, who is playing for Triple-A Gwinnett, is a candidate for promotion. Jack Wilson is expected to start in the series opener.

Simmons had won the NL Rookie of the Month award for June, after hitting .333 for the month. An NL scout said about Simmons’ defense: "For someone as young as he is, and who has played the position as little as he has -- he was a pitcher -- it’s extremely impressive to be as good as he is. In my mind, he’s only going to get better." Said an AL scout: “Future star if he hits. And, defensively, already All-Star type.”

• Catcher Brian McCann homered in his final four games of the first half.

• Left fielder Martin Prado’s .321 average ranks seventh in the National League. Since May 8, Prado is hitting .349 and has a .399 on-base percentage and 21 RBIs. He has nine steals without being caught during that 55-game span.

• Left-handed reliever Jonny Venters landed on the disabled list July 5 with elbow inflammation. Luis Avilan was promoted to fill a lefty relief role.

Jair Jurrjens, who will not face the Mets, is 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA in four starts since returning from a two-month stint in the minors.

• Right fielder Jason Heyward has 14 homers, matching his 2011 total.

Last series results

Atlanta won, 2-1, at Turner Field, April 16-18 (AP game recaps)

Mets 6, Braves 1: Ike Davis hit a tiebreaking three-run homer and Dillon Gee pitched four-hit ball over seven innings. With the game tied at 1 in the sixth, Atlanta intentionally walked hot-hitting David Wright with two outs to get to Davis -- a move that certainly made sense, given the first baseman was batting just .118. The strategy backfired when Davis drove a 2-2 curve from Tommy Hanson (1-2) it into the right-field seats. More

Braves 9, Mets 3: The Braves handed Johan Santana the shortest start of his career. Two costly errors -- Jason Bay dropped a fly ball, Ike Davis made a wild throw -- led to a pair of unearned runs against Santana (0-2), who had allowed just one run in his first two games. He was lifted after 1 1/3 innings, finished off by Jason Heyward’s run-scoring single that made it 6-0. Santana had never gone less than three innings in his previous 265 starts. Santana remembered that his last appearance in 2010 before undergoing major elbow surgery also came at Turner Field. More

Braves 14, Mets 6: Dan Uggla, Juan Francisco and Freddie Freeman hit two-run homers off R.A. Dickey. Uggla had been 0-for-24 against the knuckleballer before his long ball capped a four-run third and gave Atlanta a 6-3 lead. Francisco homered in the second and Freeman hit an opposite-field drive to left in the fifth, his first of the season. That chased Dickey (2-1), who allowed eight runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings in his worst outing in four years. There was light rain through the early innings, making it more difficult for Dickey to grip his knuckleball. More

Mets morning briefing 5.20.12

May, 20, 2012
5/20/12
8:35
AM ET
Brandon Morrow tossed a three-hit shutout and the Mets lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, 2-0, Saturday at Rogers Centre. Dillon Gee starts Sunday's 1:07 p.m. game, trying to prevent the Amazin's from getting swept north of the border.

Regarding the Mets' offense, Terry Collins said, the Mets can't be patient to a fault in driving up pitch counts.

"We’ve got to start grinding out some at-bats," Collins said. "It goes back to exactly what we talked about a couple of weeks ago, and that's: It’s not about taking pitches. It’s about being patient, and when you get the pitch you want, hit it. Brandon was in the strike zone today. He was making good pitches early in the count. And we're down early, 0-1, 0-2. I don’t want these guys to think they've got to go up there and just take the good pitches they can hit."

Sunday's news reports:

Miguel Batista was forced to leave Saturday's game after tossing two scoreless innings because of a pulled muscle in his lower back. Jeremy Hefner, promoted from Triple-A Buffalo, entered in relief and limited the Jays to two runs in five innings but was charged with the loss. Chris Schwinden will arrive Sunday in Toronto as a taxi-squad member, and presumably has a good chance of being activated as a hedge against Gee having a short outing, with Batista landing on the DL.

Jordany Valdespin had been demoted before Saturday's game to make room for Hefner. Valdespin will play second base with the Bisons. The Mets will promote a position player before Monday's game in Pittsburgh, Collins indicated. Collins said Hefner would start in Batista's place Thursday at Citi Field if the 41-year-old right-hander lands on the DL. Read more in Newsday, the Record, Star-Ledger and Post.

Mike Baxter was ruled out at second base in the ninth inning on an apparent blown call. Had Baxter been credited with a double, the Mets would have had two runners in scoring position with one out in the ninth, trailing by two runs. Read more in the Post.

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

• There's no indication Ike Davis is in imminent danger of a demotion. But the number of notable names getting demoted is, well, notable. First, the Braves sent Jair Jurrjens to Triple-A Gwinnett. First baseman Adam Lind is reportedly on waivers for the purpose of being removed from the 40-man roster and demoted by the Blue Jays. And, now, first baseman Gaby Sanchez, who was hitting .197 with one homer with Miami, has been demoted too. “We don’t think he’s a .190 hitter,” Marlins GM Michael Hill told the Miami Herald about Sanchez, an All-Star last season. “We think he’s better than he’s showing here. We think he’s pressing. We want to take some of the pressure off him, get him down to Triple-A, and get him right.” Davis is hitting .160 after going 0-for-3 Saturday in Toronto.

Pedro Beato began an official rehab assignment Saturday night with Class A St. Lucie, tossing two scoreless innings. He is on the 60-day DL because of a shoulder issue that arose during spring training. Jenrry Mejia, meanwhile, allowed one run on six hits while striking out three and walking none in three innings for Double-A Binghamton. He threw only 48 pitches in his first Double-A start since Tommy John surgery, but Sandy Alderson said that roughly was the prescribed length. Mejia had higher pitch counts in two previous starts for St. Lucie. Also Saturday, Vinny Rottino had three homers for Triple-A Buffalo. Read the Saturday's full minor league recap here.

David Wright was sicker Saturday than the previous day and was unavailable. Still, he already has informed Collins he wants to play Sunday. Read more in the Daily News.

Anthony McCarron pens a feature in the Daily News celebrating Wright's leadership by example. Regarding Wright bickering with Collins in the dugout because he wanted to remain in Tuesday's game against Milwaukee to get drilled as payback for D.J. Carrasco hitting Ryan Braun, Ron Darling said: “I think there were probably people on the bench who didn’t understand what the hullabaloo was about at all and were taught a valuable lesson. 'What? Get hit? Who wants to get hit?’ He basically said, 'I know how the game is played and I know what we have to do in certain situations and I’m willing to do that.' David is one of those rare current players who could’ve played in any generation. There is a real courage in the way he plays the game. Guy played three weeks with a back that was broken last year, hits a homer with a broken finger because he knows his team needs him. I watch him play, and it makes me proud that I was part of the fraternity.”

• Collins believes Ruben Tejada (quadriceps) could be in a minor league rehab game as soon as Monday. Jason Bay (fractured rib) may take batting practice that day in Pittsburgh. Chris Young, who took a brief break with his wife due to give birth, is expected to resume his comeback with Class A St. Lucie on Friday. It will be Young's third minor league start with the Florida State League club since May 16, 2011 surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his right shoulder.

David Lennon in Newsday reviews the early impact of the wall changes at Citi Field. He notes Gee's amusement at hearing during the trip to Miami's new ballpark about Marlins players already expressing discontent with the cavernous dimensions. As a result of the Citi Field changes, there have been 10 additional homers this season that would have remained in play under the old configuration -- six by opponents, four by the Mets (Kirk Nieuwenhuis 2, Lucas Duda, Wright). "I enjoy it," Wright told Lennon. "Obviously, it's smaller, so I enjoy that. But it's tough, I guess, to describe the effect that it has because it's still relatively early. A lot of how the ball carries has to do with the weather, and the weather has been chilly, rainy and windy."

Still, Citi Field has not become a homer haven. Writes Lennon:

Through the first 20 home games, there have been 26 home runs hit at Citi Field, and that frequency of 1.3 per game is tied (with Wrigley Field) for 13th-best in the National League . Only AT&T Park (0.84), PETCO Park (0.96) and Marlins Park (1.24) had produced fewer. Before Citi's changes are deemed inconsequential, however, consider this: According to ESPN Home Run Tracker, 10 home runs needed the new dimensions to clear the walls, and if there were only 16 home runs to this point, that drops the average rate to a minuscule 0.80 -- the lowest in either league. "It's only a small sample size," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. "But at the same time, that's still a dramatic impact."

Jeff Wilpon told Lennon: "It doesn't look like a sore thumb sticking out, in the terms of the changes that we made. I think it's been very successful in that sense. We knew it wouldn't make a huge difference -- we wanted it to be a moderate difference. ... I wish we were hitting more home runs, either with the benefit of the changes or without the benefits."

Tyler Kepner in the Times pays homage to Chipper Jones, who is due to retire at season's end. Writes Kepner:

In Chicago, the Cubs gave him a Braves flag that flew above the scoreboard at Wrigley Field. In Denver, the Rockies gave him a camera to mount on his hunting bow. The Houston Astros gave him a cowboy hat, and the St. Louis Cardinals presented a jersey signed by Stan Musial. “It was really cool in St. Louis when he came up to bat,” Braves reliever Craig Kimbrel said. “They kind of stopped the game. They were already losing in the first inning, but he came up to bat and got a standing ovation.”

Jones told Kepner about last year's Braves historic collapse relative to the team's current success (25-16, first place): "It’s really gratifying because the guys went home in the offseason and used what happened in September as a motivational tool. I’ve said this all along: If we end up winning an Eastern Division championship or a National League championship or a World Series in the next couple of years, I guarantee you all these players will look back at September and say we learned a lot.”

• Critic Bob Raissman in the Daily News praises Collins as a straight shooter. Writes Raissman:

While The Prince of Darkness, John Tortorella, continues perfecting his mummified style, Terry Collins is out in Queens shedding light. The Mets manager will never be cast as Mr. Sunshine. He illuminates by speaking the truth. That’s why the media rarely has a discouraging word about him. Of all the head mouths in town, Collins is the straightest shooter.

• Columnist Jeff Bradley in the Star-Ledger compares the 1993 Yankees to the 2012 Mets in terms of success despite low expectations. Warning: extensive Paul O'Neill quoting.

TRIVIA: Who was the last Pittsburgh Pirate to have a multi-homer game against the Mets?

Saturday's answer: Mike Jacobs was traded to Toronto for a player to be named or cash in the last swap between the Mets and Jays, on July 30, 2010.

Around the minors 5.16.12

May, 17, 2012
5/17/12
12:20
AM ET
BUFFALO 14, GWINNETT 7: Matt Tuiasosopo highlighted a 17-hit attack with a first-inning inside-the-park homer as the Bisons roughed up demoted Braves starter Jair Jurrjens. Jurrjens was charged with 11 runs (10 earned) in 4 2/3 innings. Tuaisosopo became the first Bison to produce the feat since Mike Jacobs on June 9, 2010, and the first to do it in Buffalo since Karim Garcia on June 6, 2001. In that inning, Vinny Rottino had a two-out infield single. Valentino Pascucci followed with a walk, which brought Tuiasosopo to the plate. He hit a fly ball to Braves right fielder Felix Pie that drifted out of his reach. As the ball skipped away, Tuiasosopo motored around the bases and slid headfirst into home. "I think it's my first inside-the-park home run in my career," Tuiasosopo said. After Tuiasosopo's feat, the Herd piled on. On the next pitch, Brad Emaus homered the conventional way for his first long ball as a Bison. The onslaught continued in the third, with Omar Quintanilla hitting a three-run triple for an 8-1 lead. The offense benefited Bisons starter Garrett Olson, who picked up his first 2012 win. The southpaw allowed three runs while striking out six in five innings. In his previous seven starts, three losses and four no-decisions, Olson received 17 total runs of support. Rottino (2-for-4) extended his hitting streak to 19 games. Box

BINGHAMTON 1, TRENTON 0: Jefry Marte ripped a bases-loaded single to right to give Binghamton a walk-off win. It was the B-Mets’ second walk-off win of the season and first 1-0 victory since they defeated New Hampshire in the second game of a doubleheader on July 14, 2011. Collin McHugh struck out six over seven scoreless innings, retiring the final nine Thunder he faced. Matt den Dekker set the table in the ninth by doubling against reliever Preston Claiborne to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, the longest for any B-Met in 2012. Josh Rodriguez followed by bunting up the third-base line. He reached safely when Claiborne failed to handle the tough bouncer. A walk to Reese Havens loaded the bases and set the stage for Marte. McHugh walked one and allowed six hits. It was his longest scoreless start since he tossed seven shutout frames as a Brooklyn Cyclone on Aug. 8, 2009. Brett Marshall was just as good for the Thunder. The 22-year-old matched McHugh with seven scoreless frames, retiring 14 straight B-Mets at one point. Brad Holt (1-0) entered in relief for Binghamton in the eighth and worked around a two-out walk to post a scoreless frame. He worked around another two-out walk in a scoreless ninth. Zack Wheeler pitches Thursday's rubber game opposite right-hander Cory Arbiso. Box

ST. LUCIE 6, BREVARD COUNTY 3
ST. LUCIE 4, BREVARD COUNTY 0:
St. Lucie left fielder Rafael Fernandez hit two homers and drove in seven runs in a doubleheader sweep. The Mets used a three-run eighth inning to come away with a Game 1 victory. Blake Forsythe hit a go-ahead RBI triple. Fernandez then ripped a two-run homer. Chris Young pitched 5 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits with two strikeouts. He received a no-decision for his second straight Florida State League start. Adrian Rosario pitched 1 1/3 innings and picked up the win in relief. He struck out the side in the seventh. Fernandez hit a two-run double in the fourth to give the Mets a 3-1 lead. Wilmer Flores launched a solo blast in the second for his sixth homer. In Game 2, Erik Goeddel pitched six shutout innings. Fernandez had a sacrifice fly RBI in the first inning. The Mets then scored three runs in the third. Robbie Shields drilled a leadoff homer. Fernandez crushed a two-run homer to make it 4-0. Goeddel (2-1) allowed five hits and struck out two over six innings. Adam Kolarek pitched a scoreless seventh with two strikeouts. Box 1, Box 2

CHARLESTON 14, SAVANNAH 5: Starter Alex Panteliodis was charged with eight runs in 3 1/3 innings. Relief Carlos Vazquez allowed five runs in 1 2/3 innings. Aderlin Rodriguez had a two-out, three-run homer in the ninth to cap the scoring. Box

Compiled from team reports

Rapid Reaction: Braves 14, Mets 6

April, 18, 2012
4/18/12
3:29
PM ET
WHAT IT MEANS: David Wright achieved a career milestone while R.A. Dickey had one snapped as the Mets lost to the Atlanta Braves, 14-6, Wednesday afternoon at soggy Turner Field.

The Mets finished their road trip to Philly and Atlanta at 3-3. They are 7-5 overall. The 14 runs allowed are the most since a 14-1 loss against Arizona on Aug. 1, 2010.

Wright drove in three runs to match Darryl Strawberry’s record for career RBIs as a Met at 733.

Wright delivered a two-run double in the third inning against Jair Jurrjens, which gave the Mets a 3-2 lead at the time. He then matched Strawberry on what was ruled a run-scoring infield single in the fifth that pulled the Mets within 6-4.

Incidentally, only two franchises' career RBI leaders have fewer than the Mets' 733. That would be the Marlins (Mike Lowell, 578 RBIs) and Rays (Carl Crawford, 592). Next after Wright and Straw: Luis Gonzalez, Diamondbacks, 774 and Tim Wallach, Expos/Nats, 905.

Also, Wright is now the first major leaguer to reach base safely at least twice in each of his first nine games in a season since Mike Cameron with the Seattle Mariners in 2002, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Dickey’s streak of quality starts, which had been the longest active in the majors, ended at 14. Juan Francisco, Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman homered against the knuckleballer, who ultimately was charged with eight runs in 4 1/3 innings.

The run total against Dickey fell one shy of matching the most runs allowed in a start in his career, and was the most since he allowed eight in two innings while with Seattle against the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 20, 2008.

Uggla had been 0-for-24 in his career against Dickey before a two-run long ball in the third.

DEEP THINKING: Ike Davis homered three times in the final four games of the trip, including a second-inning long ball Wednesday against Jurrjens. Davis’ three-run tiebreaking homer in the series opener against Tommy Hanson sparked a 6-1 victory.

LEADING MAN: Kirk Nieuwenhuis, in his first major league game assigned to the leadoff spot, reached base four times as part of a career-high three-hit day. He produced an RBI single in the sixth that pulled the Mets within 8-5. Nieuwenhuis also scored three times.

Nieuwenhuis and Jason Bay stole bases, giving the Mets three as a team this season. Mike Baxter had the other, in Philadelphia.

WHAT’S NEXT: After a team off-day Thursday, the Mets play host to Angel Pagan and the San Francisco Giants. The four-game series is the Mets’ first matchup with a non-division opponent. Jon Niese (2-0, 2.13 ERA) opposes fellow southpaw Barry Zito (1-0, 1.13) in Friday’s series opener. Struggling Tim Lincecum (0-2, 10.54 ERA) is due to pitch Sunday.

Mets morning briefing 4.12.12

April, 12, 2012
4/12/12
8:34
AM ET
Stephen Strasburg allowed two hits in six scoreless innings to outduel Johan Santana and the Washington Nationals beat the Mets, 4-0, in Wednesday afternoon's rubber game. After opening the season with four straight wins, the Mets headed into Thursday's off-day losers of two straight and tied with the Nats atop the division standings.

After mustering a season-low three hits and issuing 10 walks in the series finale against Washington, the Mets attempt to regroup in Philadelphia on Friday night, when R.A. Dickey opposes Cliff Lee. Jon Niese then faces Vance Worley on Saturday, followed by Mike Pelfrey and Cole Hamels on Sunday.

By the way, on the Citi Field revised dimension tracker, the Mets now have taken advantage of the new specs for two additional homers, whereas opponents have yet to capitalize. Lucas Duda went deep in the fourth inning Saturday against Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens, while Kirk Nieuwenhuis took advantage in the fourth inning two days later against Washington's Edwin Jackson.

I'll be chatting Mets at SportsNation at 11 a.m. today. Please join me here.

Thursday's news reports:

• Santana tossed 99 pitches, four over the soft cap Terry Collins had publicly identified, and the southpaw's highest pitch count in any organized game since Aug. 28, 2010. With a short bench minus active David Wright, Collins used Santana to bunt in the bottom of the fifth. Santana tossed 84 pitches in his first 2012 start. Collins said the Mets actually hoped to keep Santana to 105 pitches Wednesday, not 95. He was removed Wednesday after a six-pitch leadoff walk in the sixth to Jayson Werth. The lone run to score against Santana came on a second-inning wild pitch. He became the sixth pitcher in franchise history to limit an opponent to no more than one run in each his first two starts to a season and yet not be credited with at least one win. The others: Pat Mahomes (2000), Pete Harnisch (1995), Rick Anderson (1986), Ron Darling (1985) and Don Cardwell (1969). Read game recaps in the Star-Ledger, Times, Record, Journal, Daily News, Post and Newsday.

• Collins expressed confidence Wright will return to the lineup Friday, four days after suffering a fracture to his right pinkie diving back into first base on a pickoff throw from the Nats' Jackson. (Of course, the manager initially also wishfully believed Wright's abdominal tear would be a day-to-day thing.) Wright, who received a customized splint Wednesday, is due to see a hand specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery today. "I'm not a doctor," Collins told reporters. "I don't mean to step on the doctor's toes. I will never do that. But when they give us a final diagnosis of the whole thing, my gut tells me that you'll see him Friday."

After Wright's Thursday visit to the specialist, there may be more clarity about whether a disabled list trip is required. If Wright lands on the DL, Collins expects to shift Daniel Murphy to third base. Wright has only been on the DL twice in his career -- after a 2009 beaning by San Francisco's Matt Cain that resulted in a concussion, and last season after discovering he was playing with a stress fracture in his lower back. Read more in Newsday and the Star-Ledger.

• Columnist Bob Klapisch in the Record offered this review of Santana-Strasburg and the Mets' three-hit attack:

That’s the surcharge they’re paying for David Wright’s injury: Without him, the lineup looks lost, rudderless. Ike Davis is a walking ghost with one hit in his first 20 at-bats, and Lucas Duda (.136) and Jason Bay (.158) aren’t much better. In all, the Mets struck out 15 times, and not just because of Strasburg. Washington’s relief corps registered six of the last nine outs with punch-outs. The effect was impossible to ignore -- it was as if the four-game winning streak never happened. Collins watched in disgust as the Mets issued 10 walks, seven by his relievers in the last four innings. And he couldn’t help but criticize the Mets’ passivity at the plate, noting in particular how many pitches they took “right down the middle.” This underscores just how narrow the Mets’ axis of success really is. They can’t generate enough offense without Wright, and they’ll soon need Santana to go deeper than five or six innings per start.

• Columnist David Lennon in Newsday echoed the concern about a Wright-less lineup. Wrote Lennon:

This lineup, as currently constructed, can't sustain Wright's prolonged absence. The only righthanded threat, and we're using that term loosely here, is Bay and he's 3-for-19 with eight strikeouts after whiffing twice more Wednesday. Ike Davis snapped an 0-for-18 opening skid with his sixth-inning single to avoid tying Todd Pratt for the dubious record of hitless streak for a Mets position player to start a season. It was one of only three hits by the Mets as they slipped to .167 (9-for-54) with runners in scoring position. Wright, remember, was batting .583 (7-for-12) with a .647 on-base percentage, a home run and four RBIs before he injured his finger diving back to first base. The Mets can't come close to replacing that. Not now, anyway.

• Wrote columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News:

You could just feel the pall once again settling in over Citi Field as all the dire prognostications for this Mets team seemed back on track. Ordinarily, a 4-2 home stand in which Johan Santana turned in two strong, almost vintage, though abbreviated outings would be cause for optimism -- if only all the things Terry Collins privately worried about hadn’t reared their ugly heads so quickly.

• Columnist Joel Sherman at his Post blog advocates MLB creating a seven-game DL because of situations like Wright's knuckle injury. Writes Sherman:

Would some teams abuse the seven-day DL as a way, for example, to remove a starter who wasn’t going to play seven days anyway and get an additional player on for a week? Probably. But you can minimize the abuses by a) Making it a seven-game, not seven-day DL so that off-days and/or rainouts cannot be used to manipulate. b) Create an injury clearing house at MLB whereby any seven-game DL stint has to be signed off on by a doctor not affiliated with the team. c) Not allow the use of the seven-game DL after the All-Star game, so teams are not abusing the privilege during a pennant stretch. Remember that rosters can expand to 40 men after Sept. 1 anyway.

Ike Davis' sixth-inning single Wednesday snapped an 0-for-18 start. It was the longest season-opening skid by a Mets position player since Todd Pratt opened the 2001 season hitless in 19 at-bats, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Jason Bay, meanwhile, went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts as his average dipped to .158. Collins was ejected by plate umpire Larry Vanover for arguing a called third strike against Bay. “I actually feel pretty good," Bay told reporters afterward. "I’ve faced some good pitching the last couple days and it’s really a matter of just building on it. I feel like I’m having good at-bats as far as seeing the ball and doing certain things. There were times the last few years you’re kind of guessing and not even close. But I don’t feel like I’m there at all.” Read more in Newsday and the Daily News.

• Duda had an entertaining Q&A with Steve Serby in the Post. The exchange includes:

Q: Bo Jackson was your boyhood idol?

A: Bo Knows Everything. Bo Knows tennis, Bo Knows cycling, Bo Knows bowling ... I had that picture of him where he had like the football pads and he had like a baseball bat in his hand and ... cycling shorts on. I just think he was a freak athlete. It’s awesome to see anybody climb up a wall and run two steps on the side of the wall and catch a ball.

Sean Ratliff, who underwent four eye surgeries and missed all of last season after being struck late in 2011 spring training with a foul ball, played his first regular-season game on Wednesday night since Sept. 6, 2010. Ratliff started in left field for Class A St. Lucie. Meanwhile, in Triple-A Buffalo's home opener, Zach Lutz launched two homers in a win against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. Read the full minor league recap here.

• On the 50th anniversary of the first game in Mets history, Roger Craig threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Citi Field before Wednesday's game. Craig started Game 1 for the 40-120 Amazin's, on April 11, 1962 -- an 11-4 loss at St. Louis. Read more in the Record, Post and Newsday.

• Strasburg was allowed to reach the 100-pitch plateau for the first time. Read more in the Times.

• 1986 Met Ray Knight said in a radio interview he has felt shunned by the organization, according to the Daily News. "I’ve never been able to get anybody from the Mets to really call me," Knight said, the newspaper reported. “I get invited to the big events, but the Mets have just never treated the players the way the other clubs do. Detroit, Houston, Cincinnati, I always get notes, cards, stuff from them. I never get anything from the Mets. I don’t know what I did to the front office. I always tried to be a professional and comport myself with class. But I’ve never had anybody act as if it mattered.”

Mike Harrington profiles Jordany Valdespin in the Buffalo News. Valdespin started a fifth straight game in center field Wednesday.

TRIVIA: Strasburg beat the Mets on Wednesday in his second career start against them. Which current MLB pitcher had the most starts against the Mets before finally being credited with a win?

Wednesday's answer: The other six active MLBers who have 500 career RBIs and primarily play third base, along with Washington's Ryan Zimmerman and Wright: Alex Rodriguez, Chipper Jones, Scott Rolen, Aramis Ramirez, Adrian Beltre and Eric Chavez.

Mets morning briefing 4.9.12

April, 9, 2012
4/09/12
7:16
AM ET
In his first game since signing a contract that guarantees him $25.5 million over five seasons, Jon Niese took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning Sunday, when he walked leadoff batter Dan Uggla, then surrendered a single to Freddie Freeman. So make it 7,191 games in franchise history without a no-hitter. The Mets nonetheless held on for a 7-5 victory to sweep the Atlanta Braves and open the season 3-0.

The Mets, who have yet to trail this season, are off to their best start since winning four straight to begin 2007. They are alone in first place for the first time since May 1, 2010.

And they perfect after three games, along with the Yankees opening 0-3, for only the third time since the Mets were born 50 years ago -- the other instances in 1973 and 1985.

Now, Mike Pelfrey tries to help run the Mets' record to 4-0 Monday night. After a woeful start to spring training, he limited the Houston Astros and Yankees in his final two Grapefruit League starts to a combined two earned runs and five hits while striking out eight and walking none in 10 1/3 innings. Washington visits for the first night game at Citi Field this season. Edwin Jackson makes his debut for the Nationals, who arrive having taken two of three from the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Meanwhile, if you're counting, the Mets had one extra homer in the series as a result of the revised Citi Field dimensions, by Lucas Duda off Jair Jurrjens in the fourth inning Saturday. Opponents had none.

Monday's news reports:

• Because Niese's pitch count was at 99 on the pitch Freeman singled to break up the no-hit bid in the seventh, Terry Collins indicated the southpaw would not have been allowed to complete the outing had the no-hitter remained intact. The manager said he and pitching coach Dan Warthen had agreed to cap the outing at 115 pitches. Still, Niese countered: "I would've ran back out there. It would've been hard to take me out, that's for sure." Added catcher Mike Nickeas: "I would've lobbied for him to stay in." Read more in the Record, Post, Star-Ledger, Times, Daily News and Newsday.

• Columnist Steve Serby in the Post gets Niese to recall a no-hitter -- actually, better, a perfect game -- he tossed as an amateur. Writes Serby:

Niese had thrown a five-inning perfect game as a Defiance (Ohio) High School senior against Wauseon. “We were up 10-0, so if you’re up 10 runs after five, that’s a run rule,” he said. Niese chuckled at the caricature of himself in a bunny outfit holding a large carrot inside his locker accompanied by Happy Niese-ter at the top. “Whoever did it, that’s pretty clever,” Niese said. Someone wanted to know when he started thinking about the no-hitter, and he joked: “Um, I guess the first inning.”

• Not only do fans get a treat Wednesday with Johan Santana opposing Stephen Strasburg, the Mets are offering tickets for $2.50 in the Promenade Outfield and Left Field Landing sections. The Mets also had offered complimentary tickets to Sunday's game as they try to get fans in the seats. The tickets must be purchased in advance and are not available at game time at the box office.

• Shortstop Ruben Tejada, who had moved to the leadoff spot in Andres Torres' absence with a left-calf strain, notched a career-high four hits Sunday. Collins floated the idea pregame of potentially placing Kirk Nieuwenhuis in the leadoff spot, but that is unlikely to materialize as long as Tejada is getting on base. Collins recently had mentioned the strong possibility of Duda batting fifth and Jason Bay sixth after the first series, when the Mets no longer had to contend with the likes of southpaws Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty in the opposing bullpen, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, the manager had floated Daniel Murphy during the offseason as an alternative to Torres as leadoff hitter, but Collins is now content leaving him in the No. 2 hole. Read more on lineup machinations in the Star-Ledger.

• Tejada had been 0-for-6 in the first two games of the series, before the four-hit outburst. Collins, you may recall, had expressed disappointment that Tejada arrived on time to spring training. The manager wanted Tejada to spend most of the offseason at the team's complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla. -- bulking up in November with minor league strength and conditioning coordinator Jason Craig, then working with his new double-play partner Murphy starting in January, after a holiday break in his native Panama. Read more in Newsday and the Daily News.

Frank Francisco, who only eight days ago was getting a cortisone shot for inflammation in his left knee, recorded saves in each game of the Braves series. He became the first Mets pitcher to notch saves in his first three games with the team. The bullpen, incidentally, only surrendered one run in 10 innings in the series -- on a solo homer by Brian McCann against Manny Acosta in the eighth inning Sunday. "I don't worry about what bothers me at the end of the game," Francisco told reporters afterward regarding his knee. "I only worry about the game." Read more in Newsday, the Daily News and Post.

Valentino Pascucci's eighth-inning homer gave Buffalo the lead and Jeremy Hefner was a winner in his debut with the organization as the Triple-A Bisons beat Rochester on Sunday to improve to 3-1. Middle infielder Jordany Valdespin started in center field for the second straight game, coinciding with Nieuwenhuis' promotion to the majors. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Pelfrey acknowledged to ESPNNewYork.com early last season that he is injected with Toradol before starts. R.A. Dickey acknowledged in his memoir he also received injections of the drug before every second-half start last season, after tearing a band of issue beneath his foot at Wrigley Field. Santana received the injection as well after his body was achy following a start in Jupiter against the St. Louis Cardinals late in spring training. David Lennon, Newsday's new baseball columnist, writes in the newspaper about that subject:

Toradol is an NSAID, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug; it's in the same class as over-the-counter medication like Advil, Aleve and Motrin. The difference is that Toradol is far more potent -- it must be prescribed by a physician -- and it is injected, usually into the buttocks. ... "I'm a big fan," Pelfrey said. "I think it should be mandatory. I really think it's that good." Toradol is different from cortisone-type treatments, which are injected directly into the problem area and do not have a systemic effect on the entire body. David Wright received a cortisone shot during spring training to help heal his abdominal strain. ... But that focus on one particular area does not produce the same overall feeling of invulnerability that Pelfrey described after getting his shots of Toradol, which he regularly did an hour before his starts if something was bothering him. "You don't feel anything," Pelfrey said. "If someone punched me in the stomach, I wouldn't feel it."

Philip Wenger, an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, told ESPNNewYork.com last April that it is not recommended to use Toradol for more than five days, and certainly not on a regular basis. The generic name for the drug is Ketorolac, with Toradol a brand name.

“It’s often used for pain and inflammation, and especially pain from inflammation. But this one specifically has a warning on it that it shouldn’t be used for more than five days just because of the potential adverse reactions from it,” Wenger said. “The longer you use it, the higher the risk of problems happening. The serious problems can be serious stomach problems, serious kidney problems and the potential for bleeding and heart problems.”

• Cleanup hitter Ike Davis is 0-for-11 with five strikeouts. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Record.

• Columnist Filip Bondy in the Daily News notes the onus is now on Pelfrey to keep the solid starting pitching rolling. Writes Bondy:

These are three tough acts to follow for Mike Pelfrey, who is on deck for the Mets. “Good pitching can be contagious,” Pelfrey said. “I just told Dillon [Gee], ‘We’ve got our work cut out for us.’ You don’t want to be that guy who stops the streak, you want to keep it going. It’s good to keep that inner-competition on the team.” Next comes Monday night’s game against the Nationals, which does not involve Stephen Strasburg or Santana and might have been the most depressing event at Citi Field since Ollie Perez last stepped to the mound. Except that the Mets are at 3-0 and have done exactly what they needed, kept hope alive. They’ve swept the Braves, the first ever three-game sweep of a division rival to start any season. As far as the city rivalry goes, this is the first time since 1985 the Mets have started 3-0 while the Yanks are 0-3.

TRIVIA: The Mets had never opened a season with a three-game sweep of a division opponent, but they had swept a two-game series from a division foe five times to open a season. Which team was the most recent victim?

Sunday's answer: With a sacrifice fly Sunday, David Wright is now five RBIs from matching Darryl Strawberry's 733 for the franchise career record. No. 3 on the list: Mike Piazza, with 655 RBIs.

Series preview: Mets vs. Braves

April, 4, 2012
4/04/12
12:25
PM ET

Getty Images
Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens and Mike Minor (l to r) face the Mets in the opening series, at Citi Field.
METS (77-85, fourth place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (89-73, second place/NL East)

Thursday: LHP Johan Santana (DNP) vs. RHP Tommy Hanson (11-7, 3.60), 1:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP R.A. Dickey (8-13, 3.28) vs. RHP Jair Jurrjens (13-6, 2.96), 1:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: LHP Jon Niese (11-11, 4.40) vs. LHP Mike Minor (5-3, 4.14), 1:10 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

Chipper Jones, 40, announced during spring training his intention to retire after the season. He then underwent March 26 surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, the same procedure Tim Byrdak required with the Mets.

The Braves responded to Jones’ injury, which may only sideline him for the regular season’s first road trip, by acquiring 24-year-old third baseman Juan Francisco from the Reds. Francisco made his Grapefruit League debut with his new team Monday, against the Mets. Atlanta sent expendable right-handed reliever J.J. Hoover to Cincinnati. The lefty-hitting Francisco was boxed out with the Reds by Scott Rolen. Francisco has a .284 average with five homers and 29 RBIs in 169 career major league at-bats. One of the long balls was a monstrous 502-foot shot last Sept. 12 off the Cubs’ Rodrigo Lopez. It was the second-longest homer in Great American Ball Park history, trailing only a 535-foot homer by Adam Dunn in 2004.


Derick E. Hingle/US Presswire
Tyler Pastornicky will make his major league debut as Braves shortstop Thursday.


Even with the Francisco acquisition, Martin Prado still should man third base against lefties, with southpaw-killer Matt Diaz (.329 career average versus lefties) positioned in left field. The Mets start two left-handers in the series. Still, Francisco’s arrival allows Prado to primarily play left field in Jones’ absence.

• After struggling for the first two-plus weeks of spring training, 22-year-old Tyler Pastornicky started producing and beat out fellow prospect Andrelton Simmons for the shortstop job. The strong-armed Pastornicky hit a combined .314 with seven homers and 45 RBIs in 117 games between Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett last season. He arrived in the shortstop swap that sent Yunel Escobar to the Toronto Blue Jays for Alex Gonzalez in July 2010. His father, Cliff Pastornicky, played 10 games for the Kansas City Royals at third base in 1983. Simmons had not played above Class A.

Livan Hernandez -- released by the Houston Astros late in spring training after a Grapefruit League outing in which he surrendered eight runs (four earned) in 3 2/3 innings against the Mets, which included a grand slam by David Wright -- quickly landed with the Braves. He will work as a long reliever and spot starter. That frees Kris Medlen to work in more integral spots rather than be held back as a long man.

• At 25 years old, Tommy Hanson becomes the youngest Opening Day starter for the Braves since John Smoltz at 23 in 1991. Hanson suffered a concussion in a single-car accident when he reportedly blew a tire and went off the road en route to the first spring-training workout. He did not make his first official start until March 16.

• 2011 All-Star Jair Jurrjens has missed the past two Septembers with knee injuries. He looked awful in his first four Grapefruit League appearances, allowing 16 runs (15 earned) in 13 1/3 innings. Since then, he has allowed a combined two runs and eight hits in 13 innings spanning two starts. However, both of those outings came against meager Houston Astros split squads, albeit with Carlos Lee in the latter game.

• Left-hander Mike Minor had the best production of any Braves pitcher during spring training. He had four straight scoreless outings until the Mets ended that streak March 23 at Disney. The Mets wanted Minor in trade talks with Atlanta regarding Carlos Beltran last July, but the Braves were uninterested in trading the 24-year-old southpaw.

• Center fielder Michael Bourn, who arrived in a trade with the Astros last July 31 for four players, including Jordan Schafer, is due to be a free agent after the season. He led the National league with 61 steals last season.

• After his production plummeted as a sophomore, right fielder Jason Heyward has worked since January with Jones and new hitting coach Greg Walker to rediscover his swing. Heyward developed bad habits last season while dealing with a strained shoulder. His batting average dropped 50 points, to .227, in 2011. His on-base percentage dropped from .393 as a rookie to .319 last year.

• Right-hander Tim Hudson is due back as soon as late April after undergoing offseason back surgery to address a herniated disc. In his absence, Randall Delgado beat out Julio Teheran for a spot in the rotation, although both young prospects struggled during spring training.

• Reliever Cristhian Martinez was charged with DUI on Monday morning near Atlanta, Gwinnett County police spokesman Corporal Jake Smith told the Journal-Constitution.

• First baseman Freddie Freeman appears poised for a monster year after hitting .282 with 21 homers and 76 RBIs in 571 at-bats during his rookie season. The lefty-hitting Freeman showed significant power to the left side of the field during spring training.

• Left-hander Jonny Venters, who had a National League-leading 85 appearances, and closer Craig Kimbrel, who accumulated 46 saves and made 79 appearances last season, have been lightly used during spring training. In fact, Venters was idle for 10 days with arm soreness before returning March 29. Last year, Kimbrel set the major league rookie saves record, previously held by Texas’ Neftali Feliz, who had 40 in 2010. Venters and Eric O’Flaherty form a dynamic one-two attack against lefty batters out of the bullpen. The duo combined to hold opposing batters to a .163 average last season, with two homers in 166 at-bats.

• The Braves signed right-hander Chad Durbin to round out the bullpen on the eve of the season. Durbin, 34, had been released by the Nationals despite posting a 2.35 ERA in 10 Grapefruit League appearances. The addition bumped left-hander Yohan Flande to the minors.

• Overshadowed by the Boston Red Sox’s late freefall, Atlanta had its own 2011 collapse. The Braves held a 10-game lead on St. Louis for the wild card in late August.

Matchups

Santana vs. Braves (career: 3-6, 2.28 ERA)
Matt Diaz .500, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K, 33 PA
Michael Bourn .455, 1 K, 12 PA
Jack Wilson .333, 9 PA
Brian McCann .276, 3 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 6 K, 30 PA
Martin Prado .150, 2 K, 21 PA
Jason Heyward .125, 1 BB, 2 K, 9 PA
Dan Uggla .053, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 10 K, 20 PA
David Ross .000, 2 BB, 4 K, 8 PA
Eric Hinske .000, 2 K, 5 PA

Dickey vs. Braves (career: 1-4, 4.01 ERA)
Jose Constanza .500, 1 RBI, 3 PA
Freddie Freeman .333, 2 BB, 1 K, 11 PA
Jason Heyward .250, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 1 K, 15 PA
Michael Bourn .238, 3 RBI, 4 K, 23 PA
Brian McCann .214, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 5 BB, 1 K, 19 PA
Eric Hinske .150, 3 BB, 2 K, 23 PA
Martin Prado .118, 1 BB, 2 K, 18 PA
Dan Uggla .000, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K, 23 PA
Jack Wilson .000, 3 K, 4 PA
David Ross .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Matt Diaz .000, 1 K, 2 PA

Niese vs. Braves (career: 3-2, 3.55 ERA)
Michael Bourn .571, 2 BB, 9 PA
Jason Heyward .500, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 9 PA
David Ross .462, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, 14 PA
Freddie Freeman .429, 1 RBI, 3 K, 7 PA
Jose Constanza .333, 1 RBI, 3 PA
Dan Uggla .318, 3 RBI, 5 K, 22 PA
Martin Prado .263, 1 BB, 1 K, 20 PA
Matt Diaz .125, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, 10 PA
Brian McCann .000, 3 K, 6 PA
Eric Hinske .000, 2 K, 4 PA

Hanson vs. Mets (career: 3-3, 3.69 ERA)
Justin Turner .667, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K, 3 PA
Daniel Murphy .600, 1 K, 5 PA
Lucas Duda .500, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K, 6 PA
Josh Thole .438, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 17 PA
Ronny Cedeno .400, 1 K, 5 PA
Jason Bay .333, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 11 PA
Ike Davis .200, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K, 12 PA
Andres Torres .200, 1 K, 5 PA
David Wright .111, 2 RBI, 8 K, 19 PA
Ruben Tejada .000, 6 PA

Jurrjens vs. Mets (career: 8-4, 2.94 ERA)
Andres Torres .500, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 5 PA
Ronny Cedeno .333, 3 PA
Justin Turner .333, 1 K, 3 PA
Daniel Murphy .304, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K, 25 PA
Josh Thole .273, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 12 PA
Ruben Tejada .250, 1 BB, 6 PA
David Wright .207, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K, 31 PA
Jason Bay .200, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K, 18 PA
Ike Davis .000, 1 BB, 4 K, 8 PA
Lucas Duda .000, 1 RBI, 3 PA
Scott Hairston .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Mike Nickeas .000, 1 BB, 2 PA

Minor vs. Mets (career: 2-0, 6.75 ERA)
Lucas Duda .667, 3 PA
Jason Bay .500, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 8 PA
Justin Turner .429, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K, 9 PA
Ruben Tejada .286, 1 K, 7 PA
Scott Hairston .200, 1 K, 5 PA
David Wright .125, 1 BB, 3 K, 9 PA
Daniel Murphy .000, 1 RBI, 1 K, 3 PA
Ike Davis .000, 1 BB, 2 K, 3 PA
Ronny Cedeno .000, 1 BB, 2 PA

Last series results

Mets won, 2-1, at Turner Field, Sept. 16-18, 2011 (AP game recaps)

Mets 12, Braves 2: David Wright drove in five runs with two homers as the Mets pounded the Braves. Atlanta leads St. Louis by only 3 games in the NL wild-card race with 11 games remaining. The Cardinals gained ground by beating the Phillies. The Mets matched their season high with 20 hits and ended a six-game losing streak. Chris Capuano (11-12) gave up two runs on six hits in five innings. Lowe (9-15) gave up nine hits and six runs in only 2 1/3 innings while losing his third straight start.

Braves 1, Mets 0: Tim Hudson struck out 10 batters to guide Atlanta over New York, shoring up the Braves' lead in the wild-card race. Hudson (15-10) held the Mets scoreless over his eight innings. Closer Craig Kimbrel struck out all three batters in the ninth to notch his 45th save of the season. Chipper Jones' RBI single in the eighth inning was enough for the Braves, who increased their wild-card lead to 4 games. R.A. Dickey (8-13) walked a season-worst six batters in 7 2/3 innings for the Mets, who have lost seven of eight.

Mets 7, Braves 5: Ruben Tejada had four RBIs, Lucas Duda homered off Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning and New York slowed the Braves' wild-card bid with a walk-filled victory. Atlanta lost two of three to the Mets, who arrived with a six-game losing streak. New York went 6-4 at Atlanta this year, its first winning record at Turner Field since 2008. After pinch-hitter Ronny Paulino's bases-loaded walk in the eighth against Jonny Venters (6-2) tied it at 5, Tejada singled to put the Mets ahead for good. Duda's homer was just the second this year off Kimbrel, the NL saves leader. Tim Byrdak (2-0) won despite allowing a go-ahead single in the seventh to Freddie Freeman, who had been on an 0-for-15 slide.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 11, Braves 7

August, 6, 2011
8/06/11
11:26
PM ET
WHAT IT MEANS: After a 62-minute rain delay before the first pitch, the Mets slugged four homers -- two by Justin Turner -- to return to .500 and move back within eight games of the wild-card-leading Atlanta Braves. The Mets snapped a five-game losing streak. Turner’s second shot, a two-run homer in the fourth, staked the Mets to a 7-5 lead.

Jason Bay and Josh Thole also homered. The Mets had not produced four homers in a game since June 13, 2010 at Baltimore, when David Wright had a pair and Chris Carter and Bay also went deep.

Atlanta’s Tommy Hanson served up all four long balls. The last pitcher to allow four or more homers against the Mets: Livan Hernandez, on April 13, 2006 with Washington.

Turner had a multi-homer game for the first time as a major leaguer. He last had accomplished the feat on July 29, 2010 with Triple-A Buffalo at Columbus.

Turner’s last homer had come June 1, off Pittsburgh's Daniel McCutchen.

Thole’s solo homer had pulled the Mets even at 5 earlier in the fourth. It was his second long ball of the season, the other coming June 28 at Detroit against Rick Porcello. Thole finished 3-for-4 and reached base all four plate appearances.

WRIGHT STUFF: Wright produced an RBI double for a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Wright is hitting .390 (23-for-59) with 15 RBIs in 14 games since returning from the DL.

ON THE MONEY: Thole threw out Michael Bourn attempting to steal in the fourth, ahead of Martin Prado’s triple. Thole has thrown out four of eight would-be base stealers since July 24. (Bourn successfully swiped second base in the eighth.) Before the current surge of success, nine straight had been successful against Thole.

BRAVE FRONT: Jon Niese allowed five third-inning runs as the Mets fell behind 5-2. Niese departed after five innings, but nonetheless improved to 11-8.

A pair of hitting streaks were extended in the big inning against Niese.

Freddie Freeman’s broken-bat RBI single to center extended his hitting streak to 20 games and pulled the Braves within 2-1. Dan Uggla then extended his hitting streak to 27 games and loaded bases for Chipper Jones. Jones produced a game-tying RBI groundout. He now has 147 career RBIs against the Mets. That’s third all time against the Amazin’s, trailing only Willie Stargell (182 RBIs) and Mike Schmidt (162). David Ross’ two-run single was the big blow in the five-run frame.

WHAT’S NEXT: Dillon Gee (10-3, 3.69), whose turn was rained out Wednesday against Florida, pitches for the first time since July 29. He now opposes left-hander Mike Minor (1-2, 4.59). Minor was promoted from Triple-A Gwinnett to take the start in place of Jair Jurrjens, who landed on the disabled list before Saturday’s game with a right knee strain. Jones, who had last started July 25, is not scheduled to start at third base in the series finale as he eases back from knee and then quadriceps injuries.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Braves 3

June, 14, 2011
6/14/11
10:15
PM ET


Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: Jair Jurrjens, who owns the top ERA in the majors, has allowed three or more earned runs only twice this season. Both times have come against the Mets -- in the past 10 days no less -- as the Amazin's have handed Jurrjens his second and third losses of the season.

Pending the outcome of the Phillies-Marlins game, the Mets moved into a third-place tie in the NL East -- their first time in better than fourth place since April 10.

Tim Byrdak bailed out the Mets in the seventh, striking out pinch-hitters Brian McCann and Diory Hernandez to strand two runners and preserve a two-run lead. Jason Isringhausen then served up a solo homer to Dan Uggla in the eighth as the Braves pulled within a run. Chipper Jones nearly followed with a game-tying long ball, but Carlos Beltran corralled the shot off Isringhausen at the right-field wall.

Jonathon Niese limited Atlanta to two runs on five hits in 6 1/3 innings while striking out four to outpitch Jurrjens and continue a solid string of performances by Mets starters. Niese (6-5) has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his past six starts. He moved over .500 for the first time this season. Since May 26, Mets starters are 7-2 with a 1.72 ERA (15 earned runs in 78 2/3 innings) spanning 19 games.

Jurrjens, who was charged with four runs, lasted a season-low 5 1/3 innings and had his ERA rise from 1.82 to 2.13.

GOT HIS NUMBER: Terry Collins started Willie Harris over Jason Bay in left field because of Harris' past success against Jurrjens. That trend continued. After Jose Reyes led off the game with an infield single, Harris walked, placing Reyes in scoring position for Beltran's RBI single. In the third, Harris singled and scored on Lucas Duda's sacrifice fly as the Mets took a 3-1 lead. Harris went 1-for-2 with two walks against Jurrjens, upping his career mark to 8-for-16 with four walks.

MULTI-THREAT: Reyes went 3-for-5 with two runs scored, two steals and an RBI single, which came in the sixth inning and plated Ruben Tejada to give the Mets a 4-1 lead. Reyes now has a major league-best 34 multi-hit games.

About the only thing that slowed Reyes was the infield dirt. Reyes lost his footing retreating to first base on a pickoff throw in the first inning, requiring the grounds crew to attend to the area. Then, Reyes again tumbled making a hard turn around first after a third-inning single. It affected Reyes in the field, too. In the seventh, Alex Gonzalez reached on what was ruled an infield single, when Reyes lost his footing fielding the grounder and spiked the ensuing throw into the ground.

The slip at shortstop proved costly. After Josh Thole was charged with a passed ball, David Ross doubled over the head of left-field defensive replacement Jason Pridie to score Gonzalez and chase Niese with one out in the seventh as the Braves moved within 4-2.

RUNNING MAN: Beltran, after not having an official steal attempt through the Mets' first 63 games, now has swiped two bases since Saturday. Beltran stole second in the fifth inning.

OUCH: Josh Thole left the game prior to the bottom of the ninth after being struck in the left knee/ankle by a pitch from Craig Kimbrel.

K-ROD TRACKER: Francisco Rodriguez notched his 19th save and 26th game finished. He is on pace for 63 games finished, eight over the threshold for his contract to vest at $17.5 million for 2012.

WHAT'S NEXT: Dillon Gee bids to move to 8-0 when he opposes right-hander Tim Hudson (5-5, 4.06 ERA) on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. The Mets have won all nine of Gee's starts this season. He has the best start to a season by a rookie in the majors since Jered Weaver went 9-0 in 2006 with the Angels before suffering his first loss. The Mets for the third time on this road trip will attempt to reach .500 for the first time since they were 22-22 on May 20.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 5, Braves 0

June, 4, 2011
6/04/11
9:31
PM ET
WHAT IT MEANS: The Jair Jurrjens-Dillon Gee pitching duel materialized, as had been advertised.

Gee departed for pinch-hitter Jason Pridie after the Mets loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the seventh and the game scoreless. Pridie delivered a broken-bat single to right field that scored Josh Thole (2-for-3). Reliever Scott Proctor replaced Jurrjens. Jose Reyes greeted the ex-Yankee and extended his hitting streak to nine games with a three-run triple.

Reyes has a major league-leading 10 triples this season, all at Citi Field.

Jurrjens was charged with a season-high four runs (three earned) as the Mets won, 5-0.

Justin Turner added a sacrifice fly in the five-run frame.

Gee -- who was lifted at 85 pitches -- improved to 6-0, becoming the second rookie in franchise history to open a season with victories in his first six decisions. Jon Matlack opened 6-0 in 1972 en route to the NL Rookie of the Year Award. (One of Matlack’s victories during that span came as a reliever.)

Gee faced his most serious test in the fifth, after Dan Uggla opened the inning with a double to snap an 0-for-13 drought. With two runners in scoring position and two out, Gee retired Martin Prado on a groundout to shortstop to preserve a scoreless tie.

DEEP-SIXED: Jason Bay’s funk continued in his new No. 6 slot in the order. Bay went 0-for-4 and is hitless in his last 17 at-bats. Bay did reach on a fielding error by shortstop Alex Gonzalez in what became the five-run seventh. Had Bay successfully been retired on the routine grounder, Jurrjens would have had two out and none on with the game scoreless.

K-ROD TRACKER: Francisco Rodriguez did not appear. He remained at 22 games finished. K-Rod is on track for 61 games finished, six more than the threshold for his contract to vest at $17.5 million for 2012.

WHAT’S NEXT: Tim Hudson (4-4, 3.75 ERA) opposes R.A. Dickey (2-6, 4.39) in Sunday’s 8 p.m. rubber game, which will be televised by ESPN. Hudson is winless in his past four starts. According to ESPN Stats & Information, only three other times in Hudson’s career has he endured a longer winless streak -- five games in 2008, six in 2006 and eight in 2002.

Gee-Jurrjens a winning matchup

June, 4, 2011
6/04/11
3:15
PM ET

Andrew Mills/The Star-Ledger via US Presswire and AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
Dillon Gee and Jair Jurrjens have the National League's top two winning percentages.
Dillon Gee (5-0) and Jair Jurrjens, who face off Saturday night, have the top two winning percentages in the National League.

According to the Mets ...

Dillon Gee became the second rookie in franchise history to win his first five decisions in a season as a starter. Jon Matlack began his 1972 rookie season 6-0 (five wins as a starter and one in relief) en route to the Rookie of the Year Award. Among all pitchers who have made at least five starts, Gee is the only one whose team in undefeated when he takes the mound (7-0). The right-hander also has pitched five or more innings in all 12 of his career starts, the second-longest streak in team history behind Bill Pulsipher’s 17-game stretch from June 6-Sept. 11, 1995.

Postgame review: Braves 4-4, Mets 2-0

April, 16, 2011
4/16/11
11:36
PM ET

AP Photo/Gregory Smith
Mike Pelfrey lasted only five-plus innings against the Atlanta Braves in Game 2 on Saturday.
Daniel Murphy offered no excuses for getting thrown out at third base attempting to steal with none out and Mike Nickeas batting in the sixth inning of Game 2, with the Mets already trailing by three runs.

“It was an awful play,” Murphy said. “There was nothing that could have been going through my mind to justify that. Bad play. I put a good swing on a ball. I started an inning off the right way with a guy who is throwing the ‘rock’ pretty well [Jair Jurrjens]. And I killed it. I’ve got to be better than that. It was a bad play.”

After the Mets’ 4-0 loss to the Braves in the nightcap, the Mets’ seventh straight defeat, Terry Collins said about Murphy’s transgression: “We used to call that an error of enthusiasm.”

Murphy agreed, noting he needed to realize he can’t make something happen to overcome a deficit of that size by himself.

“I’m not going to score three runs by myself,” he said. “We had to string some stuff together. I killed it.”

Collins acknowledged addressing the baserunning with Murphy in the tunnel immediately afterward.

“He was just trying to create something that wasn’t there,” the manager said. “We’ve got to do better than that.”

• Collins held a team meeting after Wednesday’s defeat against the Rockies, and there was no repeat on Saturday night.

“I’ve talked to some of the guys individually,” he said. “They care. They’re unhappy.”


Dale Zanine/US Presswire
Willie Harris is tagged out by Braves first baseman Eric Hinske after a pickoff throw.


Mike Pelfrey was displeased with his performance. His ERA stands at 9.72 after he allowed four earned runs on 11 hits in five-plus innings.

“I’m not pitching as well as I would like. Not even close,” Pelfrey said. “It’s obviously very frustrating with all the hard work that you put in, and this is the results that I get. I keep thinking that the ball probably came out of my hand today better than it has all season so far. I still gave up 11 hits in five innings. So that does nothing for me. Another rough night. I’ll go back to work tomorrow and be better, because I definitely have to be better.”

• On a positive note, Carlos Beltran did play both games of the doubleheader in right field. He went 1-for-6 with a walk.

• Getting swept in consecutive doubleheaders may not have occurred in Mets history since 1982, but it is not all that atypical in the majors. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last team to do it was the Detroit Tigers at the end of last season -- against Cleveland and Baltimore (Sept. 29 and Oct. 1).

ESPN Stats & Info adds that the Mets have been two-hit by the Braves in a game in each of the past four seasons.

• Collins said Jurrjens, who came off the disabled list for the Game 2 start against the Mets, had the best stuff the Mets saw since Opening Day against Marlins ace Josh Johnson.

“That might be the best command of all three pitches I’ve seen a pitcher have in a long time,” Collins said. “He pitched to the corners all night long.”

D.J. Carrasco, who allowed three homers as a spot starter in Game 1, said he left too many pitches up in the zone.

"The first one, to Chipper [Jones], was kind of a pitch that was elevated," Carrasco said. "The second one, to [Alex] Gonzalez, was also an elevated cutter that really didn't have anything behind it -- no movement, no velocity. And the curveball, I think I missed my opportunity earlier in that at-bat to put him away, and I just hung that one."

• Collins was pleased Bobby Parnell tossed two scoreless innings in the first game.

"I was very proud of Bobby," Collins said. "I thought he came out tonight, went after everybody, showed that good arm that he's got. I wanted him to have a multiple-inning game where he had to go out and throw pitches. I think it's going to help him. I think the more we get him out there for two innings, the stronger his arm is going to get."

David Wright summed up the doubleheader this way: “You know that you’re going to go through bad stretches. And you just hope that either the hitting or the pitching kind of picks up the other half. That hasn’t been the case. You understand that you’re going to play some bad baseball for stretches. And there’s no question that we’re playing bad baseball. But then when you mix in the mental mistakes that we’re making, along with what I mentioned earlier about the pitching’s not picking up the hitters, the hitters are not picking up the pitchers, that adds up to what you see the last week or so.”

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
15 4.09 151 202
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .289
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187