New York Mets: Juan Francisco

Rapid Reaction: Mets 2, Brewers 1

July, 7, 2013
7/07/13
4:58
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MILWAUKEE -- All hail Josh Satin! And Jeremy Hefner, too!

Satin, after a two-day absence from the lineup, went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a run scored and RBI and Hefner took a scoreless effort into the seventh as the Mets beat the Milwaukee Brewers, 2-1, in Sunday’s rubber game at Miller Park.

Satin extended his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games and lifted his season average to .382 and on-base percentage to .485. With the Mets facing left-hander Tom Gorzelanny, Satin was starting for the first time since Ike Davis returned from Triple-A Las Vegas.


Benny Sieu/USA TODAY SportsJeremy Hefner took a scoreless effort into the seventh inning Sunday.


Hefner was bidding for a shutout until surrendering a leadoff homer in the seventh to Jonathan Lucroy. It was only the Brewers’ second hit of the game and cut the Mets’ lead to 2-1. Hefner’s eight strikeouts matched a career high.

His final line: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 1 HR. He threw 105 pitches (71 strikes).

Hefner (4-6) now has a 1.64 ERA over his past seven starts. He has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of those outings.

With the game scoreless, Satin produced a two-out double in the fourth -- narrowly.

Replays showed he actually was tagged out at second base trying to stretch the hit into a double, but umpire John Hirschbeck ruled in the Mets’ favor over protests from the Brewers.

Satin then scored an unearned run as Milwaukee’s weekend sloppiness continued. On Andrew Brown’s ensuing grounder to third base, which was ruled an infield single, Juan Francisco errantly threw to first base, allowing Satin to scamper home.

Satin plated Marlon Byrd in the sixth for a 2-0 Mets lead after Byrd reached on what also was ruled an infield single and E-5.

Extra help: Bobby Parnell converted a four-out save after inheriting a runner on first base from Josh Edgin in the eighth. It was Parnell’s second save of more than an inning this season. He also had a four-out save June 18 against the Atlanta Braves.

What’s next: The Mets visit San Francisco, which should be a noteworthy series for Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler.

Harvey (7-2, 2.27 ERA) opens the series Monday, facing Tim Lincecum (4-9, 4.66) at 10:15 p.m. ET. NL All-Star manager Bruce Bochy, who will be selecting the starting pitcher for the July 16 game at Citi Field, will be watching from the home dugout at AT&T Park.

Wheeler in Wednesday’s series finale faces the organization that traded him to the Mets two years ago.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 12, Brewers 5

July, 5, 2013
7/05/13
11:42
PM ET


MILWAUKEE -- It was ugggggly, but at least the Mets won.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis reached base six times and produced a career-high five RBIs, Zack Wheeler completed five innings for his second major league win and Ike Davis had three hits, a walk and two RBIs in his return from exile as the Mets beat the NL Central-doormat Milwaukee Brewers 12-5 Friday night at Miller Park.

Six unearned runs were scored between the teams. And Milwaukee’s three errors only began to tell the story.

The Brewers’ unsightly missteps included:

• Starter Johnny Hellweg walking Nieuwenhuis to force in a run.

• A high throw by shortstop Jean Segura to first base while trying to complete a double play later in the first inning, which allowed Juan Lagares to safely reach and a run to score.

Norichika Aoki getting thrown out at the plate on an ill-fated double-steal attempt.

• Third baseman Aramis Ramirez’s error in the fourth on John Buck’s two-out grounder allowing the Mets’ seventh run to score.

Carlos Gomez, after producing an RBI double in the seventh that pulled Milwaukee within 8-4, getting thrown out attempting to make it a triple.

On the positive side, Gomez did reach over the wall to rob pinch hitter Marlon Byrd of a would-be homer.

Welcome back: Davis’ rejiggered stance turned out to be more hype than radical adjustment, but the first baseman did go 3-for-5 with a walk, two RBIs and strikeout in his first major league game since June 9.

Davis walked on four pitches in the first inning, then contributed a fluky RBI single an inning later that staked the Mets to a 3-2 lead. He sent a soft, two-out tapper to shortstop with the bases loaded for a run-scoring infield single.

He had a hard-hit single to right field in the fourth before striking out looking in the sixth. After an intentional walk to David Wright in the seventh, Davis lined out to right field. He had an RBI single in the ninth.

Growing pains: Wheeler labored, but managed to complete five innings to earn his second major league victory.

Wheeler (2-1) surrendered a pair of runs in the first, although those ended up unearned because of second baseman Daniel Murphy’s fielding error. Wheeler also surrendered a mammoth solo homer to Juan Francisco in the fourth.

But Wheeler escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fifth to preserve a 7-3 lead and complete his outing. Wheeler retired Jonathan Lucroy on a shallow fly ball to center that prevented a tag up, then struck out Francisco looking.

Wheeler’s line: 5 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HR. He threw 98 pitches (56 strikes).

Career fare: Nieuwenhuis (4-for-4, two walks) became the first Met to reach base six times in a nine-inning game without an error contributing since Mike Piazza on May 27, 2000.

He staked the Mets to a 1-0 lead in the first when Hellweg walked him with the bases loaded. An inning later, the Mets grabbed a 5-2 lead on Nieuwenhuis’ two-run single through the right side of the infield. Nieuwenhuis also had an RBI single in the fourth. He added an RBI triple in the ninth.

What’s next: Ex-Brewer Shaun Marcum, who dealt with tingling in the fingers on his pitching hand during his last start, faces his former employer Saturday at 7:15 p.m. ET. Marcum (1-9, 5.03 ERA) opposes right-hander Yovani Gallardo (6-8, 4.78).

Series preview: Mets at Brewers

July, 4, 2013
7/04/13
11:53
PM ET

USA TODAY Spors/Associated Press/Getty ImagesThe Mets face (l to r) Johnny Hellweg, Yovani Gallardo and tentatively Wily Peralta this weekend.
METS (35-47, fourth place/NL East) vs. MILWAUKEE BREWERS (34-50, fifth place/NL Central)

Friday: RHP Zack Wheeler (1-1, 5.06) vs. RHP Johnny Hellweg (0-1, 20.25), 8:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Shaun Marcum (1-9, 5.03) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (6-8, 4.78), 7:15 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (3-6, 3.54) vs. RHP Wily Peralta (5-9, 5.27), 2:10 p.m. ET

Brewers short hops

Wily Peralta was forced to leave Tuesday’s start against the Washington Nationals in the sixth inning with a left hamstring strain. He is questionable to make Sunday’s start. Fellow starting pitcher Marco Estrada already has been on the DL for nearly a month with a left hamstring strain. If Peralta is not able to make the start, right-hander Tyler Thornburg, the Brewers’ top prospect, who currently is working out of the bullpen, is a candidate to fill in.

• Ex-Met Francisco Rodriguez has taken over the closer role from Jim Henderson. Manager Ron Roenicke told Milwaukee reporters the decision was performance-based and not intended to showcase K-Rod before the July 31 trade deadline, although Rodriguez clearly is a trade candidate. Rodriguez has a 0.92 ERA and has recorded seven saves. That included the 300th save of his career, which made him the 25th pitcher in major league history to reach that plateau. K-Rod joined the Brewers on May 16, four weeks after signing with the organization. His contract calls for a prorated portion of a $2 million base salary.


Jamie Sabau/Getty ImagesEx-Met Carlos Gomez leads the NL in WAR.


• Center fielder Carlos Gomez signed a three-year, $24 million extension in March. After earning $4.3 million this year, he will receive $7 million in 2014, $8 million in 2015 and $9 million in 2016. Gomez was traded by the Mets to the Minnesota Twins in the Johan Santana deal. He recently missed a week with a sprained left shoulder, which he suffered crashing into the outfield wall. Gomez’s 4.8 WAR leads the NL. David Wright ranks second at 4.7.

• Left fielder Ryan Braun, who is on the disabled list with an inflamed nerve between the thumb and index finger in his right hand, has started swinging a bat. He potentially could return before the All-Star break.

Jean Segura, acquired from the Los Angeles Angels along with Johnny Hellweg for Zack Greinke before last year’s trade deadline, leads the National League in hits. He ranks third in NL All-Star balloting at shortstop. The only major leaguers with 10-plus homers and 20-plus steals this season are Segura and Mike Trout.

Juan Francisco was acquired from the Atlanta Braves on June 3 for Double-A left-hander Thomas Keeling. A natural third baseman, the Brewers nearly exclusively have used Francisco at first base, although he did play third base Thursday and commit two errors. His only previous pro experience at first base was three games in 2010 in Triple-A with the Cincinnati Reds.

• Hellweg, a 6-foot-9 rookie, allowed seven runs (five earned) in 1 2/3 innings in his major league debut last Friday. He then appeared once in relief. Kyle Lohse jumped ahead in the rotation because Lohse’s June 30 start lasted only 1 2/3 innings before a rain delay ended his outing. Hellweg touched 102 mph in a Triple-A game earlier this season.

Yovani Gallardo was charged with a season-high eight runs against Nats in his last start. That is as many earned runs as Gallardo surrendered in five June outings. The three-inning outing was his shortest since April 27, 2012. Gallardo, although signed for next season, is a trade candidate.

Jonathan Lucroy’s 40 RBIs as a catcher rank second in the NL at that position, trailing only St. Louis’ Yadier Molina.

Corey Hart, who has not appeared this season, needs left knee surgery that will sideline him the entire year. He had undergone surgery in January on his right knee. Hart is eligible for free agency after the season. He is one of three Brewers first basemen who have season-ending injuries. The others: Mat Gamel (torn ACL suffered during spring training) and Taylor Green (hip surgery).

• Third baseman Aramis Ramirez has required sporadic days off for a left knee issue. He twice has sprained the knee this season.

• The Brewers have drawn the fewest walks in the majors.

• Second baseman Rickie Weeks hit .355 with five homers in June.

• Former closer John Axford has not surrendered a run in his last 23 appearances. Axford reportedly is drawing trade interest.

Series preview: Mets at Braves

June, 17, 2013
6/17/13
8:15
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USA TODAY SportsZack Wheeler draws Paul Maholm in the top prospect's major league debut.
METS (25-39, fourth place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (41-28, first place/NL East)

Monday: RHP Dillon Gee (5-6, 4.84) vs. RHP Tim Hudson (4-6, 4.41), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Matt Harvey (5-1, 2.04) vs. LHP Alex Wood (0-0, 3.52), 1:10 p.m. ET; RHP Zack Wheeler (4-2, 3.93 at Triple-A Las Vegas) vs. LHP Paul Maholm (7-5, 3.65), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Shaun Marcum (0-8, 5.43) vs. RHP Kris Medlen (3-7, 3.09), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: LHP Jonathon Niese (3-6, 4.15) vs. LHP Mike Minor (8-2, 2.68), 7:10 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

Brandon Beachy, who intended to return from the disabled list for a Tuesday start against the Mets, had a setback in his rehab from Tommy John surgery and will remain on the DL. Beachy had elbow soreness during a three-inning minor league start Thursday, although a subsequent MRI revealed no structural damage.

Rookie Alex Wood instead should make his first major league start, after six relief appearances. Wood, a second-round pick in 2012 out of the University of Georgia, last started with Double-A Mississippi five days before his May 30 major league promotion.

Justin Upton is averaging 427.9 feet per homer, the top distance in the majors. Mike Napoli ranks second at 422.1 feet.


Scott Cunningham/Getty ImagesB.J. Upton's production has improved in June.


B.J. Upton entered Sunday 4-for-43 with runners in scoring position this season, the lowest average in the NL, although he did then have an RBI double in the rubber-game win against the San Francisco Giants. He signed a five-year, $75.25 million contract as a free agent during the offseason.

After producing a .230 on-base percentage and .245 slugging percentage entering June, B.J. Upton is 11-for-44 with four homers, eight RBIs and nine walks in June. He has climbed from eighth to seventh to sixth in the batting order over the past week.

• Catcher Evan Gattis has claimed both NL Rookie of the Month Awards this season. He is 6-for-8 with four homers as a pinch hitter this season. Gattis is the first Braves player with four pinch-hit homers in a season since Tommy Gregg in 1990. The franchise record is five pinch-hit homers, by Butch Nieman in 1945.

• Shortstop Andrelton Simmons’ 2.3 dWAR rating makes him the most valuable fielder statistically in MLB. Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado ranks second at 2.0.

Simmons, 23, could become the youngest shortstop ever to win the NL Gold Glove, and the youngest shortstop overall since Alan Trammell in 1980. Like Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Didi Gregorius and ESPN.com No. 1-rated prospect Jurickson Profar of the Texas Rangers, Simmons is a shortstop from Curacao. Gregorius, incidentally, did not play shortstop until age 16 because for the previous decade he played second base in the same infield with Simmons.

• Second baseman Dan Uggla is on pace to become the first Braves player to lead the NL in strikeouts since Dale Murphy in 1985. Uggla is missing on a league-high 38 percent of his swings.

Kris Medlen’s 1.95 ERA since last year’s All-Star break leads the majors. Medlen homered while tossing 6 2/3 scoreless innings at Dodger Stadium on June 8. He joined Tim Hudson and Mike Minor in homering this season. The last time three Braves pitchers homered in the same season: 1999, with Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Kevin Millwood.

• The Braves are 23-8 at Turner Field this season. Their 2.32 home ERA is on track to be a franchise record since moving to Atlanta, topping a 2.48 home staff ERA in 1968. It also is on pace for the best home ERA for any team since the 1988 Mets had a 2.31 ERA at Shea Stadium.

• Atlanta leads the NL in homers, yet has been shut out nine times this season, tied with Miami for the major league lead.

Juan Francisco was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers on June 3 for minor league left-hander Thomas Keeling, affirming Chris Johnson as the primary third baseman, with occasional appearances by ex-Yankee Ramiro Pena.

Brian McCann produced his 1,000th career hit on June 3. He is the fourth catcher in Braves history to reach that plateau, joining Del Crandall (1,176), Javy Lopez (1,148) and Joe Torre (1,087).

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.

Series preview: Mets at Braves

May, 2, 2013
5/02/13
9:01
AM ET

USA TODAY Sports
The Mets are due to face (l to r) Mike Minor, Julio Teheran and Tim Hudson this weekend.
METS (11-15, fourth place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (17-10*, first place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Shaun Marcum (0-2, 7.94) vs. LHP Mike Minor (3-2, 3.13), 7:30 p.m. ET

Saturday: LHP Jonathon Niese (2-2, 3.31) vs. RHP Julio Teheran (1-0, 5.08), 7:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Matt Harvey (4-0, 1.56) vs. RHP Tim Hudson (3-1, 3.86), 1:35 p.m. ET

* Atlanta plays Washington on Thursday night

Braves short hops

Justin Upton’s 12 homers in April were two shy of matching the major league record for that month. Alex Rodriguez (2007) and Albert Pujols (2006) each homered 14 times. Luis Gonzalez (2001) and Ken Griffey Jr. (1997) had 13 homers apiece. Matt Kemp (2012) also had 12. The old Braves record for April was 10 and belonged to Andres Galarraga (2000 and 1998) and Ryan Klesko (1996). Eleven of Upton’s homers were solo shots -- the most by a major leaguer in any month since Jason Giambi in July 2005.


David J. Phillip/Associated Press
The Upton brothers already have homered three times in the same game this season.


The next time Justin and brother B.J. Upton go deep in the same game, they will match a sibling record. Jason and Jeremy Giambi had four games in which they both went deep. Vladimir Guerrero and Wilton Guerrero had four, too. The Uptons have three such games this season.

According to Elias, the Uptons may become the fourth brothers to play at least 100 games each in the outfield for the same team in the same season. The others: Paul and Lloyd Waner for the Pirates (10 times from 1927 to 1938), Jesus and Matty Alou for the Giants (1965), and Tony and Billy Conigliaro for the Red Sox (1970).

Tim Hudson earned his 200th win Tuesday, becoming the fifth pitcher to reach the milestone in a Braves uniform. Hudson joined Phil Niekro, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Watch out for Hudson’s bat, too. He became the first Braves pitcher since Carl Morton in 1973 to produce a double and a homer in a game. Only one other pitcher homered in the game he earned his 200th victory: Bob Lemon in 1956, Elias reported.

• Third baseman Chris Johnson, who arrived with Justin Upton from the Arizona Diamondbacks, leads the NL in batting average at .369, narrowly ahead of ex-Met Carlos Gomez (.367) with Milwaukee. The righty-hitting Johnson is sharing the hot corner with lefty-hitting Juan Francisco.

• Right fielder Jason Heyward underwent appendectomy surgery April 22 and will not return until the end of the month. Lefty-hitting Jordan Schafer and righty-hitting Reed Johnson are platooning in Heyward’s absence. Schafer, who had been traded by Atlanta to the Astros on July 31, 2011 in the Michael Bourn deal, was claimed by the Braves off waivers from Houston in November. Schafer, 26, hit .211 in 313 at-bats with Houston in 2012.

• Defensive whiz Andrelton Simmons ranked second among shortstops in defensive runs saved last season at +19 despite playing only 49 games. Seattle’s Brendan Ryan was a +27. Simmons is part of a group of promising MLB shortstops from Curacao. That list also includes the Diamondbacks’ Didi Gregorius as well as the Rangers’ Jurickson Profar (ESPN.com’s No. 1-ranked prospect), Red Sox’s Xander Bogaerts (ESPN.com No. 5) and Orioles’ Jonathan Schoop (ESPN.com No. 50).

• If Craig Kimbrel converts his next two save chances, he will match Joakim Soria for the third-quickest to 100 saves (112 chances), according to Elias. Eric Gagne has the record, reaching the milestone in 104 chances. John Smoltz ranks second, at 107 chances. Kimbrel’s 89.1 conversion percentage (98-for-110) ranks fth all time among pitchers with at least 100 chances. Kimbrel’s strikeout rate last season (16.7 per nine innings) established a major league record (min. 50 innings).

• Atlanta relievers have an MLB-best 1.99 ERA. The Mets rank 28th at 4.87, better than only Tampa Bay (5.20) and St. Louis (5.77).

• Catcher Brian McCann (right shoulder surgery) has started a rehab assignment but is not due to be activated from the DL until after the Mets series. Rookie Evan Gattis (six homers) and Gerald Laird have shared the duties. Gattis, who has battled severe depression and was completely out of baseball for years, was named NL Rookie of the Month for April on Thursday.

• The Braves struck out 246 times in April, which would have been a major league record for that month. What disrupted infamy? The Houston Astros topped that, striking out 267 times for the new MLB mark. The previous record had been held by the 2003 Cincinnati Reds, with 242 April strikeouts.

Overall in baseball, there were more strikeouts this April (5,992) than in any other season in MLB history. The 15.29 strikeouts per game in April were second most for a month in MLB history, just shy of the record set last September (15.42).

• Ernie Banks (228) is the only middle infielder with more homers in his first seven seasons than second baseman Dan Uggla (209).

Mets 5, Braves 2: Laffey may matter

March, 15, 2013
3/15/13
5:07
PM ET
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Andrew Brown delivered a tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth and Jamie Hoffmann and Jordany Valdespin drove in runs an inning later as the Mets beat the Atlanta Braves, 5-2, Friday at Disney.

Game tidbits:

HEFTY PERFORMANCE: Jeremy Hefner, who is expected to open the season in the rotation in place of Johan Santana, surrendered solo homers to Juan Francisco and Freddie Freeman but struck out the final six batters he faced.


Douglas Jones/USA TODAY Sports
Jordany Valdespin delivers an RBI single in the ninth.


Hefner allowed two earned runs on five hits and a walk while striking out seven in five innings.

Despite the respectable line, Hefner expressed disappointment with his performance, noting his pitches were up in the strike zone and that the Braves hit several other balls hard and in the air.

As for striking out the final six batters he faced, Hefner said: “I think I got mad more than anything. I was less than thrilled about my performance before then. The ball was up, as evidenced by all the fly balls and hard-hit balls. I’m the guy that has to pound the bottom of the strike zone and get groundballs to be successful.

“Giving up home runs is not fun, but they were solos,” Hefner continued. “So it kept us in the ballgame.”

LAFFEY MATTER: Jenrry Mejia is experiencing forearm tendinitis, although Terry Collins said there is “no damage” with the right-hander’s arm or concern about the need for another Tommy John surgery.

Still, with Hefner already penciled into the rotation and Zack Wheeler and Collin McHugh in minor league camp, the Mets need a viable fallback option should something else go awry.

That fallback option will be Aaron Laffey, according to Collins. Laffey finished off Friday’s game with 2 1/3 no-hit innings.

Collins said Laffey will start a game next week and get 55 to 65 pitches.

Laffey, 27, went 4-6 with a 4.56 ERA in 22 appearances (16 starts) for the Toronto Blue Jays last season.

“We’ve got to find ourselves some insurance someplace,” Collins said. “Aaron Laffey comes with the ability to start, so we’re going to give him a chance. … We’ve got to make sure we have some depth here with Santana out, with Mejia out. Zack Wheeler is sitting out there. We need some other guys in the mix.”

DUDE: Lucas Duda crushed a solo homer in the second inning against Tim Hudson to open the scoring. It was Duda’s second Grapefruit League homer. The other long ball came against Miami Marlins left-hander Mike Dunn on March 2.

Hudson allowed two runs in six innings. Brandon Hicks’ double in the second scored John Buck and staked the Mets to an early 2-0 lead.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 6, Braves 5

August, 12, 2012
8/12/12
10:54
PM ET
WHAT IT MEANS: The Mets salvaged the series finale … oh so barely.

Handed a five-run lead in the ninth, Josh Edgin and Frank Francisco combined to walk four, hit a batter and force in two runs. Martin Prado then doubled in two more runs to pull the Braves within a run and force Terry Collins to pull his closer.

With two runners in scoring position, Jon Rauch mercifully recorded the final out by striking out Jason Heyward as the Mets beat Atlanta, 6-5, Sunday night. Even the strikeout was a close call, with Rob Johnson narrowly completing a throw to first base to complete the out. Rauch earned his first save since May 8.

Jon Niese escaped a first-inning jam and ultimately limited Atlanta to one run and six hits in eight innings and David Wright doubled twice and scored on Ike Davis' singles each time in what became the narrowest of victories.

Wright, already the franchise RBI leader, notched No. 800 of his career.

Francisco had entered with a five-run lead, two out in the ninth and the bases loaded once Edgin issued two walks and hit a batter.

Things got dicey. Juan Francisco fouled off four straight full-count pitches from the closer before walking to force in a run. Michael Bourn also walked, forcing in a second run. Prado then had the two-run double.

Niese allowed a game-opening double to Bourn and walked the No. 2 hitter Prado, but rallied by striking out Heyward and coaxing a 6-4-3 double play from Chipper Jones after Bourn had stolen third base. The lone damage against Niese came on a leadoff homer in the second by Freddie Freeman.

Niese retired 12 straight at one point, before Brian McCann’s two-out single in the seventh. The eight-inning outing matched the second longest of his career. His lone nine-inning complete game came June 10, 2010, in a one-hit shutout against the Padres.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, four Mets pitchers have multiple starts of eight-plus innings and one run or fewer allowed against the Braves since 1991: Al Leiter (four), Rick Reed (three), Pedro Martinez (two) and Niese (two).

Ben Sheets, who had tossed six scoreless innings against the Mets on July 15 in his first major league appearance in two years, this time surrendered five runs (four earned) on eight hits and a walk in six innings.

The Mets grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first when Mike Baxter singled, Wright delivered an RBI double and Davis plated Wright with a single. Ruben Tejada had an RBI single in the second. Jordany Valdespin, after striking out in his first two at-bats, gave the Mets a 5-1 lead in the sixth with a solo homer against Sheets.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Mets will fly to Cincinnati after tonight’s game and spend an off-day there before opening a series against the Reds on Tuesday. Chris Young (3-6, 4.87 ERA) opposes right-hander Mat Latos (10-3, 3.81) in the opener. It’s a difficult six-game trip for the Mets, who follow the series against the NL Central leaders with a visit to D.C. to face the NL East-leading Nationals.

Mets morning briefing 8.11.12

August, 11, 2012
8/11/12
7:34
AM ET
Matt Harvey surrendered a two-run homer to Jason Heyward in the first inning, Josh Edgin surrendered a two-run homer to Dan Uggla in the eighth, and Paul Maholm tossed a three-hit shutout as the Braves beat the Mets, 4-0, Friday night at Citi Field.

Johan Santana (6-7, 3.98 ERA) returns from the disabled list for Saturday's 7:10 p.m. start opposite right-hander Kris Medlen (2-1, 2.37).

Saturday's news reports:

Dillon Gee told ESPNNewYork.com it was "unrealistic" to expect him to return this season. Gee nonetheless said he is recovering well from July 13 surgery to patch a damaged artery in his pitching shoulder.

• In his second-to-last series at Citi Field, Chipper Jones was scratched from Friday's start with back spasms, which he blamed on the bed in his Manhattan hotel room. Juan Francisco subbed at third base and made a pair of stellar defensive plays -- backhanding Andres Torres' leadoff grounder in the first despite cheating in for a bunt, then ranging to his left to retire Rob Johnson and end the eighth. Read more in Newsday and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Daily News.

Terry Collins expects Santana will be capped at 90 pitches tonight. The southpaw only threw 38 pitches in Sunday's rehab start with Brooklyn, but tossed additional pitches off a bullpen mound after departing the game at Coney Island to up his count to a number comparable to an ordinary start.

Brian Costa in the Journal notes Santana had not been the same pitcher since his June 1 no-hitter. Writes Costa:

Pitching coach Dan Warthen said the difference was evident in Santana's overall demeanor. "There were four or five starts where it just wasn't Johan," Warthen said. "He generally lights up a room. He has enough energy to light up this whole city on game day." After the no-hitter, Warthen said, "He was having the kind of energy that would light up a 20-watt bulb." The fatigue led to reduced arm speed, Warthen said, which led to lapses in control. Santana initially dismissed the ankle injury. But two more dreadful outings convinced the Mets he needed a breather. Now, they will find out if it was enough.

Santana's fastball hit 90 miles per hour during a rehab start in Brooklyn last weekend, a benchmark he hadn't reached in a while. "I think you will see pretty much what you saw early in the season the rest of the year," Warthen said. "I think we'll see 87 to 90 miles per hour. I think we'll see better control. But I think you're going to see a stronger, probably more consistent high-end velocity guy next year. I don't think you're going to see the whole Santana package until next year."

Read more in Newsday, the Star-Ledger and Record.


Adam Rubin
Matt Harvey lamented walking five in his Citi Field debut.


• Harvey retired the final nine batters he faced in a six-inning outing, but the 2010 first-round pick expressed disappointment with his early control, which led to five walks, matching the most he has surrendered at any level as a professional. He downplayed having extra energy in his Citi Field debut, since it came in his fourth major league start.

“You only have your debut once,” Harvey said. “Obviously I was really excited to be here in New York and pitch in front of the Mets fans, and my family especially. But there was no extra nerves or adrenaline. It was another game and I had to do my job and go out and try to win.”

Collins complimented how Harvey rallied from the early difficulties. "I was very he impressed, especially after the second inning. He’s at almost 60 pitches in the second inning and really pitched well after that," the manager said. "I hope he got a lot out of this game. He’s got all the talent he needs to compete up here. All he has to do is make pitches."

Collins expressed disappointment with the two-run homer Edgin surrendered to Uggla. The manager likened it to a homer Edgin surrendered to Jones on July 13 at Turner Field, in Edgin's major league debut. Collins' point: Edgin needs to be cautious with righty batters, especially when the stretch of batters he is being asked to face includes the lefty-hitting Heyward, lefty-hitting Freddie Freeman, Uggla and then the lefty-hitting Francisco.

“That’s exactly what it reminded me of,” Collins said about Jones' homer in Atlanta during the second-half-opening series. “And I reminded him of it. You’ve got three lefties you’ve got to get out. You can’t let the one guy who can beat you, beat you. And that’s the exact same situation that Chipper got.”

Said Edgin about Collins' message: "You've got a lefty on deck. Don't give Uggla anything to hit. I mean, I gave him one right down the middle."

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

• A pair of Mets farmhands flirted with no-hit bids that came up slightly short. Brooklyn's Hansel Robles carried a perfect game two outs into the eighth. His Cyclones teammates actually were no-hit into the ninth inning, but won 1-0 on Phillip Evans' walk-off RBI single. Meanwhile, Binghamton's Mark Cohoon took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning and ultimately posted his fifth career shutout in a 5-0 win against Harrisburg. Read Friday's full minor league recap here.


Jake Roth/US Presswire
Jeremy Hefner is giving Twitter another shot.


Jeremy Hefner, who quit Twitter after backlash to sharing his thoughts about the Chick-fil-A boycott, has started a new account. It's @jeremy_hefner53.

Mike Puma in the Post reports Lucas Duda may return to the majors before rosters expand Sept. 1, although Puma described Duda as "sulking" while with Buffalo after the demotion.

Ike Davis sat Friday against the lefty Maholm. Collins wanted to get righty-hitting Ronny Cedeño in at second base. And Daniel Murphy entered the game 5-for-6 in his career against Maholm, so the manager wanted to get him in the lineup at first base. Collins said Davis won't automatically sit against southpaws, but Davis is hitting only .173 against lefties this season, so the pattern could repeat itself. “Trust me, it’s going to get better,” Davis told Mark Hale in the Post, alluding to his 2012 production. “I don’t think you’re going to see a season where I’m at .216 at this point too many times."

• The Mets inked right-handed reliever Drew Carpenter, a former Blue Jay and Phillie, to a minor league deal and assigned him to Binghamton.

Tim Bontemps in the Post profiles B-Mets infielder Wilmer Flores, who has shuttled around the infield in Double-A after previously exclusively playing shortstop in the minors with the organization.

TRIVIA: Which player did Harvey retire for his first major league strikeout?

Friday's answer: Jones' first two career homers came against the Mets at Shea Stadium, against Josias Manzanillo on May 9, 1995, then against Pete Harnisch a day later.

Chipper scratched with back issue

August, 10, 2012
8/10/12
4:56
PM ET
Chipper Jones, originally due to bat cleanup for the Braves on Friday night, has been scratched with back tightness.

David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Jones' Manhattan hotel room bed prompted spasms. Juan Francisco will replace Jones at third base.

Jones had tweeted during Thursday's off-day in New York: "The movie channels dont work and the beds make my back spasm up! Am i complaining too much? Im sorry, gotta vent to someone. Love yall!!!"

Tweeted O'Brien pregame Friday: "Not the first time the beds in this NYC hotel have left #Braves Chipper Jones with sore back or spasms. Seems almost annual thing." "Chipper hopes to play tomorrow. By the way, he said he didn't let hotel employee in his room who came up after he tweeted yesterday." "Chipper said might be time for him to stay someplace else in NYC, saying he couldn't order room service here now anyway after tweets."

Meanwhile, O'Brien adds, catcher Brian McCann received a cortisone shot Tuesday for a sore shoulder. David Ross starts at catcher for the Braves on Friday night.

Rapid Reaction: Braves 7, Mets 5

July, 13, 2012
7/13/12
11:33
PM ET


WHAT IT MEANS: Chris Young had his shortest outing as a Met and Miguel Batista struggled too, which undoubtedly will intensify calls for Matt Harvey’s promotion. The Mets stumbled in the second-half opener and ultimately lost in Atlanta, 7-5.

The Friday the 13th game, played on the 35th anniversary of the New York City blackout, was delayed 16 minutes in the second inning because of a power outage.

More relevant, the Mets disappointed in the opener to a critical stretch. After this series, the Mets head to Washington before returning home to face the Dodgers and Nationals.

“The next month will determine a lot,” Terry Collins said. “We’ve got Washington three times, I think. We’ve got the Braves twice. We’ve got the Dodgers. We go on the West Coast swing. You know what that can mean. You’re talking about Arizona, who is playing better. The Giants, who are fighting. You’ve got to go play San Diego in their place. Even though they’re not playing the way they want to, certainly, they can always be tough out there, and that’s at the end of an 11-day road trip. That’s a tough trip.

“We’re going to know how we’re standing when we get to Aug. 1, if we’re still in the dogfight.”

FIRE, FIRE: Collins insisted pregame he would not hesitate to insert lefty Josh Edgin into a pressure situation. “It's the middle of July,” the manager said. “It's fire time.”

Pledge kept.

Edgin entered in his MLB debut after Batista walked the bases loaded with one out in the fifth. The rookie struck out Juan Francisco and Michael Bourn to hold the Mets’ deficit at 5-4.

Edgin returned the following inning and retired two Braves. However, he then served up a homer to Chipper Jones. When Freddie Freeman followed with a double, Collins pulled him.

Edgin was charged with two runs, and the Braves grabbed a 7-4 lead, when Ramon Ramirez surrendered a single to Dan Uggla on which Freeman scored.

CHIP SHOT: Jones’ homer was his 49th longball against the Mets, tying him with Mike Schmidt for second most. Willie Stargell has 60 homers. Jones passed Willie McCovey, who had 48 homers against the Mets.

Overall, Jones tied Schmidt for the second-most RBIs in major league history by a player who primarily played third base, at 1,595. George Brett has the record, at 1,596.

PAGING MATT HARVEY? After Thursday’s workout, Collins labeled Harvey’s candidacy for Dillon Gee’s spot next week “remote.” But then the presumptive favorite did little to merit the assignment.

Entering in the fourth after Young departed for a pinch hitter, Batista surrendered one hit and walked four in 1 1/3 innings. Batista needed Edgin’s bases-loaded bailout to ensure a scoreless appearance.

Because Young threw only 71 pitches, assuming he’s healthy, he should be fine to start on standard rest Wednesday in D.C. That would delay the need for Gee’s replacement until next Saturday at Citi Field against the Dodgers.

Harvey is due to pitch for Buffalo on Monday. No doubt there will be scrutiny of that start, assuming it proceeds. It would put Harvey on the proper rest to step in against L.A., which just returned Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier from the DL.

SHORT APPEARANCE: Young surrendered five runs in three innings. It marked his shortest outing and most runs allowed since June 14, 2009, with San Diego against the Angels, when he allowed five runs in 2 1/3 innings.

Young issued all three of his walks, the final one forcing in a run, in a 36-pitch first inning during which Atlanta grabbed a two-run lead. He served up a three-run homer to David Ross in the third as Atlanta went up 5-0.

Young was the third candidate assigned to the second-half opener. Johan Santana originally was scheduled, but his cranky right ankle required extra rest. Then Gee was named, but a blood clot in his right shoulder led to surgery in St. Louis on Friday.

(Read full post)

Mets morning briefing 5.8.12

May, 8, 2012
5/08/12
3:00
AM ET
Jordany Valdespin delivered a pinch-hit three-run homer in the ninth off Jonathan Papelbon and the Mets beat the Phillies, 5-2, in Monday's series opener at Citizens Bank Park. The Mets also had received a big contribution from Tim Byrdak, who struck out Erik Kratz to strand the go-ahead run at third base in the bottom of the eighth. Roy Halladay was working on a one-hit shutout entering the sixth, when David Wright delivered a two-run double to even the score at 2. Halladay departed after seven innings with his pitch count at 107.

Papelbon, who served up the infamous 2009 pinch-hit homer to Omir Santos at Fenway Park, had held opponents hitless in the past 20 at-bats against him before Mike Nickeas' two-out double in the ninth advanced Ike Davis, who had walked, to third base and set up Valdespin's heroics.

It was Valdespin's first major league hit. Nickeas had replaced Josh Thole behind the plate a half-inning earlier, after Thole received a jolt to the head from ex-Met Ty Wigginton on a play at the plate.

"He had that feel like he was going to finish this one out," Wright said about Halladay, whose streak of wins in eight straight starts against the Mets was snapped. "We weren't able to do much against him. ... He was really dominant tonight. We were fortunate to get those two and then get him out of the game. And then to get a few off Pap, you're going from one of the best starters in the game to one of the best closers in the game. Any time you can win a game like that, that's special."

Said Terry Collins about a jubilant clubhouse that cheered SportsCenter highlights of the game afterward: "They are fired up. These guys, they realize no one expects anything from us. To come back against Roy and tie the game up, and then to finish the game with two guys that weren't even in the game at the beginning with huge hits (Valdespin and Nickeas), it was a great win for us."

Tuesday's news reports:

• Wigginton, who has a reputation dating to his Mets days for taking out catchers on plate collisions, nailed Thole with his left shoulder in the bottom of the eighth. Thole held onto the ball for the second out to preserve a 2-all score, but was forced to leave the game complaining of dizziness. The Mets did not firmly announce postgame that Thole had a concussion, but that seemed the likelihood. Thole appears headed for a newly created seven-day DL available for concussed players. The Mets planned to bring Rob Johnson or Lucas May from Triple-A Buffalo to Philadelphia, according to assistant GM John Ricco. Vinny Rottino has catching experience, but he exclusively played left field with the Bisons this season before a promotion and is viewed more as an emergency third catcher than a potential starter behind the plate. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Post and Newsday.

• Before Monday's opener, shortstop Ruben Tejada landed on the disabled list with a right quadriceps strain. That paved the way for Valdespin to be activated for Monday's long ball. Justin Turner made his first major league start at shortstop Monday, but Valdespin will be assigned there Tuesday. Valdespin, a middle infielder, only appeared at shortstop in one game at Buffalo this season because he was getting a crash course in center field. Overall, though, he has played 146 minor league games at shortstop, trailing only second base (210 games) for most duty. Read more in the Post, Journal, Star-Ledger, Times and Newsday.

• Valdespin became the first player with a pinch-hit homer for his first major league hit since Cincinnati's Juan Francisco in the ninth inning on Sept. 18, 2009 against the Marlins. Writes columnist Jeff Bradley in the Star-Ledger:

All around the Mets clubhouse, his teammates’ eyes were on Valdespin. There were smiles everywhere. A comeback against Halladay. A two-out rally against Papelbon. And a game-winning bomb from a kid who’d never hit safely in a big league uniform. “You’ve got to battle,” said Collins. “You’ve got to scratch. I came into this organization two years ago, and we were being criticized for not having a very good minor league system. When we put out a lineup last week with all homegrown players we didn’t do it for publicity. We did it because we think they’re good enough to be up here. And Jordany Valdespin is another sign. He’s done his time. It’s time for him to play in the big leagues.” Who knows where it goes from here. But on a night like this, could you blame Collins for believing maybe his team had done something more than just win Game 29 of 162?

Jon Niese allowed two runs and was pulled with his pitch count at 101 after five innings. He walked four Phillies. "It was just one of those things where they worked the count real well and made me throw a lot of pitches," Niese said. "All of my pitches were moving a lot more than really normal. I don't know the reason for it. But I had a tougher time with my control today."

• Read game recaps in the Record, Newsday, Times, Journal, Daily News, Post and Philadelphia Inquirer.

• Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels was suspended five games by Major League Baseball for plunking Nats rookie Bryce Harper on Sunday night. The suspension won't affect the Phillies since Halladay can pitch on standard rest Saturday while Hamels waits until the following day. Philadelphia had an eventful 24-hour news cycle, with Nats GM Mike Rizzo taking aim and Hamels and the Phillies, calling the southpaw "gutless," "classless," and "fake tough" in The Washington Post. Said Rizzo to the newspaper: "I’ve never seen a more classless, gutless chicken [bleep] act in my 30 years in baseball. Cole Hamels says he’s old school? He’s the polar opposite of old school. He’s fake tough. He thinks he’s going to intimidate us after hitting our 19-year-old rookie who’s eight games into the big leagues? He doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.”

"Things that happen in the game happen in the game," Phillies GM Ruben Amaro told the Philadelphia Daily News on Monday. "That's part of the game. But as far as how the Phillies want to conduct themselves, we like to try to take the high road on things like this. By no means are we condoning trying to be injurious."

Hamels' admission of intentionally hitting Harper came shortly after Chipper Jones took verbal aim at Jamie Moyer and his former club, the Phillies, for allegedly stealing signs -- in response to Moyer accusing Jones and the Braves of that activity.

Said Collins on Monday: "No. 1, things aren't very secretive anymore. There's so many different manners of the way news is spread today that it's tough to keep a secret. I was surprised Cole said what he said. I was a little taken aback that Chipper said what he said publicly."

Collins acknowledged, though, that initiating rookies routinely happened back in the day.

"No doubt," Collins said. "For years, the young players, one of the things those veteran pitchers used to do is knock you on your butt to find out how you were going to respond. Veteran umpires used to ring you up on pitches off the plate to see how you were going to respond, what kind of reaction they're going to get out of you. Are you going to be a pro and walk away? Are you going to raise hell? Everybody wants to feel you out a little bit. And if that was Cole's thing, that is what they did years ago. But I haven't seen it in a while. It may have happened. I just haven't noticed it."

The Phillies-Nats rivalry is getting heated on multiple fronts. Nats outfielder/ex-Phil Jayson Werth, who broke a wrist in Sunday night's game, said Phillies fans taunted him as he left the field. Werth sent an email to The Washington Post that read: “After walking off the field feeling nauseous knowing my wrist was broke and hearing Philly fans yelling ‘You deserve it,’ and, ‘That’s what you get,’ I am motivated to get back quickly and see to it personally those people never walk down Broad Street in celebration again.”

• Right-hander Jacob deGrom, a ninth-round pick in 2010 out of Stetson University, retired 20 of 21 batters he faced in his debut with Class A Savannah as the Gnats beat Lakewood, 5-0. Read Monday's full minor league rehab here.

Guillermo Mota, who tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings against the Mets last month in two appearances with the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field, was suspended 100 games by MLB for another positive test for a performance-enhancing substance -- this time Clenbuterol, according to MLB. Mota had a 50-game suspension imposed for a positive test while with the Mets, yet the organization signed him to a two-year, $5 million deal at the time anyway that was backloaded to minimize the amount of dollars Mota had to forfeit while serving the ban. Read more in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Johan Santana offers a positive review of his season performance thus far to Wayne Coffey in the Daily News. “On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give myself a 7,” Santana told Coffey. “I still have some way to go, things to work on. That’s okay. For me the biggest thing is staying healthy, because I know if I’m healthy, I can compete, because that’s what I’ve done my whole career.”

TRIVIA: Miguel Batista, 41, starts Tuesday for the Mets. Who is the oldest player to ever throw a regular-season pitch for the organization?

Monday's answer: Brett Myers was the first Phillies pitcher to allow a homer to Wright in the third baseman's career. Actually, Myers served up the first two homers Wright hit against Philadelphia -- five days apart in September 2004. Myers is now the closer for the Houston Astros.

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.

Rapid Reaction: Braves 9, Mets 3

April, 17, 2012
4/17/12
8:34
PM ET


Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: Johan Santana's feel-good comeback hit a speed bump.

Santana, hampered by two errors behind him, had the shortest start of his career, recording only four outs.

The Braves scored six runs (four earned) against Santana, whose last pitch before his Sept. 14, 2010, surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder also came at Turner Field.

He departed with the Mets trailing 6-0 and their bid to win a fifth straight game against Atlanta to open the season -- which would match the franchise record for the season series, set in 1989 -- in jeopardy.

The Mets ultimately lost, 9-3.

Santana's previous shortest career start had been three innings, which happened three times: with the Mets at Yankee Stadium on June 14, 2009, and twice with the Minnesota Twins, in '04 and '07.

Santana entered Tuesday's start having allowed only one run and seven hits while striking out 13 and walking five in 10 innings spanning two starts.

He will be winless in his first three starts of a season for the first time since 2006.

Santana coaxed a fly ball to left field off the bat of Michael Bourn to open the bottom of the first. But Jason Bay, who robbed Jack Wilson of a homer Monday night, this time dropped the chance for a two-base error. Bourn eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Chipper Jones -- the 155th RBI of the retiring third baseman's career against the Mets, trailing only Willie Stargell's 182 and Mike Schmidt's 162.

An inning later, the wheels fell off. Dan Uggla opened the frame with a walk. Matt Diaz lined a single back through the box. Freddie Freeman and Tyler Pastornicky consecutively doubled. Randall Delgado then tried to sacrifice bunt. Ike Davis aggressively tried to make the play at third base and threw the ball errantly past David Wright. After Bourn grounded out and Jason Heyward produced an RBI single to make it 6-0, Santana was pulled.

Santana's line: 1.1 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 0 K. He threw 55 pitches (35 strikes). It also was the first start of Santana's career without a strikeout.

PENWORK: Manny Acosta was forced to work three innings in relief, matching his career high. He allowed a solo homer to Juan Francisco.

WRIGHT STUFF: Wright singled with two out in the ninth, his second hit of the game. He extended his franchise-record streak of reaching base at least twice by hit or walk to start a season to eight games.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Mets complete their six-game trip with R.A. Dickey (2-0, 2.08 ERA) opposing Braves right-hander Jair Jurrjens (0-1, 7.71) in Wednesday's 12:10 p.m. series finale.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 6, Braves 1

April, 16, 2012
4/16/12
9:35
PM ET



Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: Maybe Ike Davis’ season-opening funk is behind him.

After an intentional walk to David Wright put runners on the corners with the score tied and two out in the sixth, Tommy Hanson threw five straight curveballs to Davis. The final offering ended up in the right-field seats for only the Mets’ third hit of the night -- and a three-run lead.

The Mets ultimately beat Atlanta 6-1 at Turner Field on Monday night.

Davis had been only 4-for-32 this season, including a two-hit performance Sunday against Cole Hamels, highlighted by his first homer since before last May’s season-ending ankle injury.

The Mets are now 4-0 against the Braves this season, including two victories against Hanson. Atlanta’s five-game winning streak, which included a weekend sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers, was snapped.

Hanson, who lost to the Mets on Opening Day despite allowing only one run in five innings, surrendered only two hits before Davis’ long ball -- to Wright in the first inning, then a one-out double by Ruben Tejada in the sixth.

Wright (1-for-3, walk) became the first player in franchise history to reach base twice, via hit or walk, in each of his first seven games of a season. He is hitting .542.

GEE WHIZ: Dillon Gee limited Atlanta to one run and four hits while striking out five and walking one in a 97-pitch effort that spanned seven innings.

Gee had to work a little harder than expected in his final frame. After a leadoff single by Dan Uggla, Jason Heyward seemingly hit into a 1-6-3 double play. However, Josh Thole was called for catcher’s interference. Rather than two out, none on, it was two on, none out.

Gee responded by striking out Eric Hinske, then retiring Wilson at first base on a comebacker. With two out and two runners in scoring position, Gee struck out pinch hitter Juan Francisco to complete his outing.

Jon Rauch allowed his first hit in 6 2/3 innings as a Met, but nonetheless contributed a scoreless eighth.

WHAT’S NEXT: Johan Santana returns to the mound where he threw his final pitch before undergoing Sept. 14, 2010 surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. Santana (0-1, 0.90 ERA) opposes Braves right-hander Randall Delgado (1-0, 3.60). The Mets will be bidding to open a season series with the Braves with five straight wins for the first time since 1989.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Carlos Torres
WINS ERA SO IP
2 1.86 12 9
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Lagares .314
HRL. Duda 3
RBIL. Duda 8
RE. Young Jr. 12
OPSJ. Lagares .816
ERAJ. Mejia 2.81
SOJ. Mejia 18

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