New York Mets: Justin Upton

Rapid Reaction: Braves 3, Mets 1

July, 2, 2014
Jul 2
ATLANTA -- Hurry back, David Wright.

The Atlanta Braves completed a three-game sweep of the Mets at Turner Field with a 3-1 win Wednesday night.

The Mets (37-48) fell 11 games under .500 and now trail first-place Atlanta by 10 games in the division, both season worsts. The Amazin's lost six of seven games on their trip to Pittsburgh and Atlanta, with Wright missing all but the first game because of a bruised left rotator cuff.

deFeated: Jacob deGrom loaded the bases with none out in the first on a leadoff single by B.J. Upton and two walks. The rookie right-hander then nearly escaped. DeGrom struck out Justin Upton and coaxed a flyout from Jason Heyward that was too shallow for B.J. Upton to tag. However, with two outs, Chris Johnson smoked a three-run double past third baseman Eric Campbell’s backhand.

DeGrom required 37 pitches to navigate the first inning. He subsequently contributed four scoreless frames and departed with the Mets trailing 3-1 and his pitch count at 110.

DeGrom’s line: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 8 K. His ERA now stands at 3.77.

Campbell had a chance for redemption in the sixth when he batted with two runners on base and two outs. However, Braves starter Julio Teheran struck him out and Atlanta’s two-run lead remained intact.

What’s next: The Mets, who now have completed a stretch of 25 of 33 on the road, take a day off Thursday. The Texas Rangers then visit Citi Field this weekend. Jonathon Niese (5-4, 2.88 ERA) opposes right-hander Nick Tepesch (3-3, 3.65) in the Fourth of July series opener.

Series preview: Mets at Braves

June, 29, 2014
Jun 29

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

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

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

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

Braves short hops

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Series preview: Mets vs. Braves

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17

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

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

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

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

Braves short hops

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morning Briefing: Beware any 3 AM calls

April, 11, 2014
Apr 11

FIRST PITCH: The Mets may be a little groggy for Friday night’s game in Anaheim.

After winning a rubber game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field, the Mets flew across the country and were not due to land at LAX until about 5 a.m. ET. They then faced another hour drive to their hotel in Orange County.

Dillon Gee (0-0, 4.50 ERA) starts the series opener against the Los Angeles Angels at 10:05 p.m. ET. Gee opposes left-hander Tyler Skaggs (1-0, 0.00).

The Mets will get the use of the DH this weekend. Josh Satin is due to start one game at first base -- probably the series opener against the southpaw Skaggs, although the Mets also see left-hander C.J. Wilson on Sunday.

The Mets last visited Anaheim six years ago. It was after a June 16, 2008 victory in that series opener that the Mets fired Willie Randolph and pitching Rick Peterson at 3 a.m. ET.

Randolph had implored the Mets to fire him before getting on the plane for California if the intent was to imminently dismiss him anyway, but Mets PR people advised to wait until the team headed west rather than terminate Randolph in New York on Father’s Day.

Friday’s news reports:

Juan Lagares delivered a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh and Carlos Torres, Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde combined to retire the final 11 Braves batters as the Mets won, 6-4, Thursday. Eric Young Jr. proved a sparkplug, going 3-for-5 with three steals and four runs scored. Jenrry Mejia allowed four runs in five innings, including a pair of homers to Justin Upton.

Writes columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post:

They have bungled the first base situation, one of their big free agent signings -- Chris Young -- has yet to play a game and their $60 million man -- Curtis Granderson -- is struggling with a .125 average and owns 11 strikeouts in 32 at-bats. Yes, this is the tiniest of samples, but so far the sample reads: Jason Bay.

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

• Terry Collins insisted Lucas Duda will continue to get the bulk of the playing time at first base. When the Mets face right-hander Jered Weaver on Saturday, both Duda and Ike Davis may play, with one serving as DH. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Record, Daily News, Newsday and at

Chris Young, on the disabled list with a right quadriceps strain, played five innings in an extended spring training game Thursday in Florida. He should begin a rehab assignment soon with Triple-A Las Vegas. Young is eligible to be activated from the DL next Friday.

• Mr. Met once was threatened by the Secret Service, when President Bill Clinton visited Shea Stadium, according to a book excerpt cited in the Daily News.

• Jacob deGrom allowed one run in five innings for Las Vegas. Darin Gorski struck out 10 batters in Binghamton’s 9-1 win against New Hampshire. Jairo Perez went 5-for-6 and Bronx native T.J. Rivera had five RBIs in St. Lucie’s 13-3 win against Jupiter. Stefan Sabol, Jeff McNeil and Jared King had three RBIs apiece as Savannah beat Rome, 12-5. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Former Mets manager Jerry Manuel will help lead an initiative to increase diversity in baseball.

From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear can't get enough Lagares.

BIRTHDAYS: Ex-Mets pitchers Bret Saberhagen and Wally Whitehurst turn 50. ... Bobby M. Jones is 42.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Can the Mets depend on Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde at the back end of the bullpen?

Rapid Reaction: Mets 6, Braves 4

April, 10, 2014
Apr 10
ATLANTA -- Although they are now only 4-5 on the season, the New York Mets have won consecutive series against the Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves.

Juan Lagares delivered a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh and Daniel Murphy contributed a run-scoring double an inning later as the Mets beat the Braves, 6-4, in Thursday’s rubber game at Turner Field.

Carlos Torres contributed two scoreless relief innings to earn the win. Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde each added a scoreless frame.

Eric Young Jr. went 3-for-5 with four runs scored and three steals. Murphy had three hits, a walk and three RBIs.

Oh, Jenrry: Jenrry Mejia surrendered two homers to Justin Upton and ultimately was charged with four runs on six hits and four walks in five innings. He stranded two runners in scoring position in his final frame and departed with the score tied at 4.

Mejia did not receive help from Curtis Granderson in right field.

Granderson misread B.J. Upton’s fly ball to right field into a triple in the third. Freddie Freeman followed with an RBI single and Justin Upton hit his second homer, a two-run shot, with two outs in that frame.

First-base watch: Ike Davis went 0-for-3 with two walks and an RBI. Lucas Duda pinch hit in the No. 9 hole and singled.

What’s next: The Mets have a long night ahead of them. They fly across the country and are expected to land in Los Angeles about 5 a.m. Eastern/2 a.m. Pacific on Friday. Then there’s still a one-hour bus ride to their Orange County hotel.

Dillon Gee (0-0, 4.50 ERA), who is traveling with the team and did not fly ahead, opposes Los Angeles Angels left-hander Tyler Skaggs (1-0, 0.00) in the 10:05 p.m. ET series opener.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Braves 0

April, 8, 2014
Apr 8
ATLANTA -- Bartolo Colon had little wiggle room for most of his outing given a lack of support from his team’s batters. So Colon did what he had to do, blanking the Atlanta Braves for seven innings.

On a night the Braves honored Hank Aaron to mark the 40th anniversary of the home run that passed Babe Ruth, the Mets ultimately spoiled the party with a 4-0 win against the Braves on Tuesday before a sellout crowd of 47,144 at Turner Field.

Colon’s final line: 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K. He threw 101 pitches (70 strikes).

Daniel Shirey/USA TODAY SportsRuben Tejada slides into home on a wild pitch for the first run of Tuesday's game.

Colon completed his outing by retiring Jason Heyward on a groundout to second base to strand two baserunners. The inning had been prolonged by Ruben Tejada’s fielding error.

Tejada nonetheless finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs, a walk and two runs scored.

Ex-Met Aaron Harang had limited the Amazin’s to two hits and four walks in six innings while striking out nine. The lone run against him came when Tejada walked to lead off the third and eventually scored on a wild pitch.

The Mets tacked on two runs in the seventh, when they produced four hits in that frame alone against Braves relievers.

Tejada had an RBI single against reliever Gus Schlosser. After Colon’s sac bunt, Luis Avilan entered and surrendered an RBI single to Eric Young Jr. (Young was thrown out attempting to stretch the hit into a double.)

Avilan subsequently departed after injuring himself diving out of the way of a shard on Daniel Murphy’s broken-bat single. The Braves announced Avilan had a left hamstring cramp.

Tejada also had an RBI single in the eighth against ex-Met Pedro Beato.

Snapped: Travis d’Arnaud snapped an 0-for-16 skid to begin the season with a fourth-inning single. The longest drought by a position player to begin a season as a Met remains Phil Linz, who went 0-for-25 to open the 1968 season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

D’Arnaud finished 2-for-4. He doubled in the seventh on a ball that hung up a while in the air, but which dropped in left-center, between Justin Upon and B.J. Upton. He then scored on Tejada’s ensuing single as the Mets took a 2-0 lead.

Duda day: Lucas Duda, his audition having resumed after Ike Davis started Sunday, went 1-for-4. Davis grounded out as a pinch hitter in the eighth.

Slumping: David Wright, batting illness, went 0-for-5 and is hitless in his past 12 at-bats.

Unbeaten: The Mets are now 2-for-2 in challenges this season. Juan Lagares, initially ruled out at first base on a groundball in the eighth, had the call overturned after Terry Collins requested a video review. The review process took three minutes.

Penultimate: Kyle Farnsworth tossed a perfect eighth. Jose Valverde completed the shutout despite allowing the first two batters to reach in the ninth and committing an error that loaded the bases with one out.

What’s next: Native Georgian Zack Wheeler, who spent the past two nights in his own home, opposes right-hander Ervin Santana at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday. Santana, who signed on March 12 for $14.1 million after Atlanta lost Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen to elbow injuries, will make his Braves debut.

Series preview: Mets at Braves

April, 7, 2014
Apr 7

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

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

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

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

Braves short hops

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• The Braves lead the majors with a 1.56 ERA.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Simmons earned his first Gold Glove last season.

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

• The probable Braves batting order:

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

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

Morning Briefing: For opener, it's Gee

March, 21, 2014
Mar 21

Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY SportsDillon Gee, who faces the Twins on Friday, also is scheduled to pitch on Opening Day.

FIRST PITCH: The Mets take a three-hour drive to Fort Myers on Friday to face the Minnesota Twins, with the buses scheduled to roll out of the Port St. Lucie complex at 7:15 a.m.

Dillon Gee opposes Ricky Nolasco in the 1:05 p.m. game (no Mets TV or radio).

Lucas Duda is scheduled to start at first base in his first Grapefruit League action since injuring his left hamstring March 3. Ike Davis -- who returned to action Thursday, going 0-for-3 and logging six innings at first base -- is due to DH against the Twins.

Friday’s news reports:

• Gee is slated to become the 23rd different Opening Day starter in Mets history. He is due to oppose Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg on March 31 at Citi Field.

After reported the Mets’ intent to give Gee the honor, Terry Collins all but confirmed it Thursday afternoon. The manager cited Gee’s success against the Nats (4-2, 2.72 ERA in 2013) and Gee’s 31 overall wins spanning the past three seasons, which rank second only to Jonathon Niese (32) with the club during that span.

The Mets plan to place Niese on the disabled list to open the season, has learned. Niese, who received a cortisone shot in his left elbow Monday to address inflammation, should come off the DL on the seventh day of the season, to face the Cincinnati Reds in the April 6 homestand finale.

The expectation is Bartolo Colon will start Game 2 and Zack Wheeler will start Game 3 against Washington. Daisuke Matsuzaka should handle the opener against Cincinnati on April 4. Gee then would get the second game against the Reds before Niese’s first start arrives.

Read more in the Post, Newsday, Star-Ledger and

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesA calf injury has slowed Daniel Murphy.

Daniel Murphy jammed his right calf stepping on second base while doubling Sunday and has been out for four straight days. Collins believes Murphy, who missed time earlier in camp with a right-shin issue, should be back in the Grapefruit League lineup Saturday. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Sandy Alderson offered mostly predictable responses while speaking with media members late Thursday.

The GM expects both Davis and Duda to be on the Opening Day roster. Still, has reported that Alderson is checking in with GMs with whom he had trade discussions regarding Davis during the winter.

“I think you have to be a little more cautious and maybe not do something that has forever implications," Alderson told reporters, downplaying expectations of a trade.

Alderson added that he has not spoken with Scott Boras recently about Stephen Drew. He also noted that Juan Lagares and Eric Young Jr. both should get playing time in the outfield, as previously has reported.

“We haven’t had a problem with too many good players over the last couple of years, so if we have that problem over the next week or so, it’s a good thing -- somewhat unique for us,” Alderson told reporters.

Read more in the Record.

• The likelihood seems to be that Davis and Josh Satin platoon to start the season. In that scenario, Duda would be on the roster as a lefty threat for the bench, with strategic starts at first base and possibly the outfield, although his hamstring injury has prevented the Mets from giving Duda reps out there. The Mets also will need a DH the second week of the season for an interleague series in Anaheim. Officially, Collins says the first-base winner may be the one who is most healthy.

Read more on Davis and Duda in the Post, Daily News, Times, Journal, Newsday and Star-Ledger.

• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post advocates signing Drew. Writes Kernan:

Life could be made a lot easier if the Mets went out and signed free agent Stephen Drew, but there appears to be no play in that direction in their frugal neighborhood. Five of the six shortstops who played on division-winning teams last season had a WAR of 3.0 or better. Drew was one of those players, with a 3.4 WAR.

The Mets have stated 90 wins as their goal this season, which should make a World Series championship shortstop even that much more enticing.

• On the likelihood of the Arizona Diamondbacks trading Didi Gregorius and the Seattle Mariners trading Nick Franklin, columnist Joel Sherman writes in the Post:

The price tags still are high for Franklin and Gregorius -- the Royals, for example, tried to land Franklin in the offseason, thought the cost in prospects was too high and instead gave a four-year, $32 million pact to Omar Infante. Both Franklin, who is expected to lose a Seattle shortstop battle to Brad Miller, and Gregorius, who is expected to lose to Chris Owings, can be optioned to the minors.

And executives from both teams have told me they can wait to see what needs arise during the regular season and use their bullets then. However, an official from an interested club said once players lose a positional battle and are sent to the minors, it is harder to sell them having extravagant value. So there could be some pressure on those clubs -- beyond their win-now status -- to make moves sooner than later.

Anthony Recker belted a walk-off three-run homer against Atlanta Braves left-hander Eric Pfisterer as the Mets won, 7-6, Thursday at Tradition Field. Wheeler allowed a pair of first-inning runs, but eventually tossed 75 pitches over 5 1/3 quality innings and departed with a 4-2 lead. Lagares had a stellar catch at the wall to deprive Justin Upton of an extra-base hit. Lagares later was drilled in the left shoulder with a pitch while squaring to bunt and departed the game. Read more at

• Collins batted the pitcher eighth Thursday, which he may also do in-season if the Nos. 1 and 2 hitters are not successfully getting on base enough ahead of David Wright.

Matt Harvey, who has been throwing on flat ground at 60 feet since getting cleared to pick up a baseball, plans to increase the distance to 75 feet Friday.

• Wheeler wants to be the Opening Day starter in 2015, Kristie Ackert writes in the Daily News.

• Richard Justice at speaks with Wright.

• Las Vegas 51s owners are having trouble getting public financing for a proposed new stadium in the area, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. The Mets’ player-development agreement with the 51s expires after this season, but the sides may have to remain in a shotgun marriage for at least two more seasons after that because no other Triple-A cities may become available for the Mets.

• The low-A Savannah Sand Gnats received their 2013 South Atlantic League championship rings during a morning ceremony Thursday at Tradition Field.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing gives more thought to Harvey and the media. … Rising Apple contributors pick their most likely Mets to disappoint in 2014.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets shortstop Shawon Dunston, a first-round pick by the Chicago Cubs out of Brooklyn in 1982, turns 51.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Is Dillon Gee the best choice for Opening Day starter?

Mets 7, Braves 6: Recker walks off

March, 20, 2014
Mar 20
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Zack Wheeler went to his offspeed pitches and found his groove after a shaky start, and the Mets ultimately beat the Atlanta Braves, 7-6, Thursday at Tradition Field on Anthony Recker's walk-off three run homer.

Wheeler was pummeled in the first inning of what became a solid 75-pitch appearance over 5 1/3 innings.

He allowed a game-opening triple to Jason Heyward, then a clean single to B.J. Upton. No. 3 hitter Justin Upton followed by smoking a shot to left-center, which Juan Lagares corralled at the wall with a highlight-reel leaping catch. Ernesto Mejia then homered beyond left fielder Chris Young’s leaping attempt to cap the two-run opening frame.

“You know just as well as I do he’s awesome to have behind you,” Wheeler said about Lagares. “He’s not scared to go get a ball in the gap, dive, go against the fence, anything. And he has a cannon. And C.Y. almost got the other one. We’ve got a good outfield, that’s for sure.”

Joel Auerbach/Getty ImagesZack Wheeler rallied after a slow start Thursday.

Wheeler’s final line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K.

In the sixth, Wheeler turned two baserunners over to Kyle Farnsworth. He loaded the bases with a walk, but kept Atlanta off the scoreboard to preserve a 4-2 lead.

Farnsworth, who is not currently projected to make the Opening Day roster, then was charged with a pair of seventh-inning runs. The latter scored on Justin Upton’s two-run double against Scott Rice, which gave the Braves a three-run frame and a 5-4 lead.

“They were ‘ambushing’ like crazy,” Wheeler said, referring to Atlanta’s propensity to swing early in counts against him. “I’m sure everybody saw that. I had to mix it up a little bit. I threw a lot of changeups today, and it was working well for me. I tried to go without the slider today, just to do it, so I had to throw my other stuff more. I’ll probably use that [slider] a lot against them during the season. I didn’t want to give them a good look at it.”

Ouch: Lagares was drilled in the left shoulder with a pitch from John Cornely after squaring to bunt in the seventh. Lagares immediately departed the game. He had a welt there afterward, but felt fortunate because it hit the muscle. He indicated he needs to wait to see for sure, but believes he should be OK.

"I thought it was going to hit me in the face," Lagares said.

Welcome back: Ike Davis, slowed by calf injuries during camp, started his first Grapefruit League game since March 2. He finished 0-for-3, but indicated he could have hustled out of the box for a double had he produced a shot to the gap. Davis also logged six innings at first base, after only DHing in minor-league games leading into Thursday’s return.

Davis is expected to DH on Friday against the Minnesota Twins.

“The results obviously are big, but they’re not really that big,” Davis said. “I just want to get back out there and play. But actually it felt pretty good in the box today. I hit a couple of balls hard. ... Obviously I haven’t played any defense in a game in a month. The biggest thing is probably getting out there and getting used to the flow of the game on defense.”

As for his calves, Davis said: “They feel pretty good. I’m definitely tired. I haven’t done that in a while. So they’re probably going to be a little tighter than normal, but there’s no pain. So that’s a good sign.”

Meanwhile, Lucas Duda (hamstring) went 0-for-6 with a strikeout and did not run the bases after making contact.

Went to the videotape: Ruben Tejada went 3-for-3, doubling his Grapefruit League hit total. He had been 3-for-25 entering the game.

“Nio, nice game!” David Wright shouted to Tejada in the clubhouse after both departed.

Tejada said he has been watching video of 2012, when he hit .289 the season after Jose Reyes departed and bequeathed him the shortstop job.

“I watched a lot of videos from two years ago and came here and tried to do the same in the morning, early,” Tejada said. “I think it helped me a lot.”

Tejada reportedly also got a call from Reyes to offer support.

Tejada’s Thursday showing leaves Travis d’Arnaud as the regular with the quietest bat in camp. D’Arnaud, whom scouts say is not getting his hands into proper position at the start of his swing, lined out to left field and walked Thursday while finishing 0-for-2. He is batting .125 (4-for-32) in Grapefruit League play.

Eighth wonder: Terry Collins batted the pitcher eighth, with interesting early results.

It did not pan out the first turn, when the No. 8 hitter Wheeler ended up leading off the third.

The next time, it contributed to the Mets breaking a 2-all tie. The No. 7 hitter d’Arnaud walked, Wheeler bunted him to second and Lagares then drove in d’Arnaud from third base with an opposite-field single. Tejada’s third hit, an RBI single, made it 4-2 later in the frame.

Debutant: Ervin Santana logged two innings in his Atlanta Braves debut, after signing a one-year, $14.1 million deal with the club. He surrendered a first-inning sacrifice fly to Wright, but that was the first of five straight batters Santana retired to complete his initial appearance.

Black Thursday: Vic Black had a much-needed 1-2-3 eighth after struggling with control for much of camp.

What’s next: Dillon Gee and the Mets make the three-hour drive across the state to Fort Myers to face the Twins. Gee, now the expected Opening Day starter, opposes Ricky Nolasco.

Morning Briefing: Happy Wheeler Day!

March, 4, 2014
Mar 4

Adam RubinA day after Noah Syndergaard took the mound, Zack Wheeler pitches for the Mets on Tuesday.

FIRST PITCH: Happy Wheeler Day!

Zack Wheeler makes his 2014 Grapefruit League debut opposite left-hander Rudy Owens as the Mets host the Houston Astros on Tuesday at 1:10 p.m. (SNY).

Also listed to pitch: Kyle Farnsworth, John Church, Vic Black, Adam Kolarek, Scott Rice and Cory Mazzoni.

Bill Parcells is expected to attend the game.

Wheeler is lined up to pitch the season’s fourth game, the opener of the second series against the Cincinnati Reds on April 4 at Citi Field.

Terry Collins, incidentally, says David Wright and Daniel Murphy should see their first Grapefruit League action at the end of this week. Both have been held out of the first several Grapefruit League games to minimize the risk of suffering side-muscle issues that arose in previous spring trainings.

Tuesday’s news reports:

• Noah Syndergaard dialed his fastball up to 98 mph to strike out leadoff hitter Jason Heyward and limited the Atlanta Braves to one single in two scoreless innings in his Grapefruit League debut as the accolades continued to pile up for the top prospect.

"Harvey’s Harvey," Braves outfielder Justin Upton told reporters. “But [Syndergaard] and Wheeler are definitely a very close second.”

Read new stories on Syndergaard in the Times, Post, Daily News, Journal, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and Read columnists’ positive reviews from Joel Sherman in the Post, David Lennon in Newsday, Bob Klapsich in the Record and Phil Rogers at

Courtesy of New York MetsCory Vaughn produced a tiebreaking two-run double in a fifth-run ninth Monday.

• Cory Vaughn had a tiebreaking two-run double in a five-run ninth as the Mets got off the schneid with the 6-2 win against Atlanta at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

Ike Davis was scratched from Monday’s trip with tightness in his calves, but Terry Collins has Davis as well as Ruben Tejada (hamstring) and Eric Young Jr. (side muscle) penciled into Tuesday’s lineup against the Astros. Lucas Duda departed Monday’s game with tight legs, according to Collins. Read more in the Post and Star-Ledger.

Mike Piazza is serving as a guest instructor in Port St. Lucie this week, marking his first time working for the Mets since his playing days. Travis d’Arnaud, who grew up idolizing Piazza with the Los Angeles Dodgers, is particularly thrilled. Read more in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and

Johan Santana reportedly is poised to sign a minor-league deal with the Baltimore Orioles. He likely will not be ready to pitch in the majors until June after a second shoulder surgery. Read more in the Baltimore Sun.

• SNY’s Kevin Burkhardt has been named the Los Angeles-based pregame host for Fox’s Saturday baseball telecasts. Steve Gelbs primarily will fill in when Burkhardt has conflicts with weekend Fox duties. Burkhardt also calls NFL games for the network. He is in the final year of his contract with SNY as a field reporter. Read more in the Times and Newsday.

Dillon Gee has been named to an advisory board for the Taylor Hooton Foundation. The group aims to dissuade young people from using performance-enhancing drugs. Read more in the Daily News.

Matt Harvey will attempt to toss a baseball on consecutive days this week, marking his first time throwing back-to-back since Tommy John surgery, he told the Daily News’ Kristie Ackert.

• Instant replay will be tested at four Mets spring-training games at Tradition Field: this Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals as well as March 15, 18 and 23. Jayson Stark at reports on the first replay challenge in MLB, which came Monday.

• The Mets agreed to contract terms with all 26 of their players who are on the 40-man roster and lacking the service time to be eligible for arbitration. Translation: That’s a formality, since the Mets can set those players’ salaries at any level the club desires, as long as it is at least the $500,000 MLB minimum.

Once every several years, as a protest, a young player will refuse to sign the contract and instead will be “renewed” by the Mets. That’s what occurred with Wright during spring training in 2006, when the Mets set his salary at $374,000 -- only $47,000 over that season’s major-league minimum. Wright had hit .306 with 27 homers and 102 RBIs the previous season, in his first full year in the majors.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear is intrigued by what Piazza offers as an instructor, if not as excited by what he produced as an author. … John Delcos at Mets Report wonders if Fred Wilpon will provide the necessary funds this summer if the Mets need to add a piece. … NY Mets Life ponders whether the Mets have really improved this offseason.

BIRTHDAYS: Tom Grieve, who played one season for the Mets, was born on this date in 1948.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Will Noah Syndergaard win NL Rookie of the Year?

Rapid Reaction: Braves 2, Mets 1

July, 22, 2013
NEW YORK -- Again!

For the second time in five weeks, fueled by a gem from Dillon Gee, the Mets took a scoreless effort into the ninth inning against the Atlanta Braves. And again they lost 2-1 in gut-wrenching fashion.

Center fielder Jason Heyward made an amazing game-ending diving catch in left-center against pinch hitter Justin Turner for the final out with two Mets on base. Heyward was playing center field only because B.J. Upton is on the disabled list. Heyward had missed the previous six games over 11 days with a right hamstring injury.

Elsa/Getty ImagesDillon Gee took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning, only to receive a no-decision.

Bobby Parnell, asked to protect a one-run lead in the ninth Monday night at Citi Field, surrendered a pair of runs. After consecutive singles to open the inning and a one-out passed ball by John Buck advanced both runners a base, Chris Johnson had an RBI groundout and Reed Johnson contributed a go-ahead run-scoring single.

Parnell had not allowed an earned run in his previous nine innings and had converted 15 of his past 16 save opportunities.

If that sounded like dj vu, it is for good reason: Gee had taken a scoreless effort into the ninth inning in Atlanta on June 17, only to allow a walk-off two-run homer to Freddie Freeman as the Braves won 2-1.

The Mets, who had been poised to move within nine games of the first-place Braves for the first time since May 31, instead dropped 11 games back with Monday’s loss.

Gee took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning before surrendering a leadoff single to Freeman. He ultimately stranded the bases loaded that inning, allowing the Mets to maintain a 1-0 lead.

It marked the fourth time this season a Mets pitcher had taken a no-hit bid into the seventh. The other three outings were produced by Matt Harvey.

Gee, poised to move above .500 for the first time this season, instead received a hard-luck no-decision for his 96-pitch effort.

His line: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP.

The Mets’ lone run came in the fourth inning. Right fielder Justin Upton misplayed Marlon Byrd’s sinking liner into a leadoff triple. Ike Davis followed with a run-scoring single.

What's next: Carlos Torres (0-1, 0.79 ERA) makes his second Mets start. He opposes right-hander Kris Medlen (6-9, 3.64) at 7:10 p.m. ET Tuesday.

Series preview: Mets vs. Braves

July, 21, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

Braves short hops

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who should Wright pick for HR Derby?

July, 8, 2013
Who should David Wright select to participate in the 2013 Home Run Derby when selections are announced at 6 p.m. ET on Sportscenter tonight? Members of ESPN’s Home Run Tracker team weighed in.

Justin Upton, Atlanta Braves

Upton has only one home run since May 17, but his shortest home run is 404 feet. Remarkably, his 427.9 average home run distance is highest among all players with more than one home run. Upton has two 460-foot home runs and six others of at least 425 feet. Of his 15 home runs, 13 would have been out of Citi Field.

Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds

Bruce has eight home runs that have gone at least 425 feet, tied with Upton for the most in the NL.

June solidified Bruce’s nomination, as he hit his five longest home runs of the season- all at least 430 feet. His headline home run was a 472-foot blast off Patrick Corbin, the third-longest home run this season.

Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh Pirates

Alvarez edges out Paul Goldschmidt by the narrowest of margins, getting the nod because he has hit two home runs over 450 feet this season and has three others over 430 feet.

Fourteen of his 22 home runs have been at least 400 feet, and all but four of his home runs would have been out of Citi Field.

Alvarez has nine home runs classified by as “No Doubt” home runs, the most in the majors. (No Doubt home run means the ball cleared the fence by at least 20 vertical feet and landed at least 50 feet past the fence).

Other NL options:

Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks: Goldschmidt falls just short of nomination despite having hit three home runs over 440 feet this season and another 437 feet.

Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies: Gonzalez leads the NL with 24 home runs, aided by his league-leading 11 home runs classified by as “Just Enoughs,” meaning home runs that cleared the fence by less than 10 feet.

Gonzalez does have five home runs that went at least 430 feet, but his average home run distance is only 406.5 feet.

Domonic Brown, Philadelphia Phillies: Brown is second in the NL with 22 home runs, but only four of those went over 400 feet. Brown has not hit a single home run to left or left center field.

Brown’s average home run distance is 381.7 feet, the lowest in baseball among players with over 10 home runs.

Carlos Beltran, St. Louis Cardinals: Beltran has 19 home runs, but not one has gone over 425 feet.

Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals: Holliday is third in the majors with an average home run distance of 419.2 feet (min. 10 home runs), and he has seven home runs of at least 425 feet. However, with only 11 home runs on the season, Holliday does not make the cut.

Rapid Reaction: Braves 5, Mets 3

June, 19, 2013

ATLANTA -- Shaun Marcum may make the decision regarding which pitcher to drop from the six-man rotation easy.

Marcum was knocked out in the fifth inning and remained winless this season as the Atlanta Braves beat the Mets, 5-3, Wednesday night at Turner Field.

A day after the intoxicating Matt Harvey-Zack Wheeler double-feature, Marcum fell to 0-9 -- the third-worst start to a season in franchise history. Only Anthony Young (0-13 in 1993) and Bob Miller (0-12 in 1962) started a season with more futility.

Daniel Shirey/USA TODAY SportsShaun Marcum was knocked out in the fifth inning.

Marcum’s ERA swelled to 5.76 after getting charged with five runs on six hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings. It could have been worse. He departed with two runners in scoring position. Carlos Torres entered and struck out Dan Uggla.

Terry Collins has not precisely revealed how many more turns the Mets will stick with a six-man rotation, but he vowed it will not persist beyond the All-Star break, and offered indications it may end sooner.

A half-inning after the Mets tied the score with a three-run fifth courtesy of Kris Medlen’s sloppiness after fielding a comebacker, Marcum could not prevent the Braves from regaining the lead.

Marcum surrendered a leadoff double to Jordan Schafer. He ultimately scored the tiebreaking run on a two-out wild pitch to Brian McCann with the count 2-2.

McCann eventually walked. Justin Upton followed with an RBI double that staked division-leading Atlanta to a 5-3 lead.

The big blow against Marcum had come on Chris Johnson’s three-run homer in the fourth.

Marcum entered this start off an outing against the Chicago Cubs in which he allowed six runs in 5 2/3 innings.

Debutant: Eric Young Jr., batting leadoff and playing center field, opened the game and his Mets career with a leadoff single. He finished 1-for-4, including grounding into an eighth-inning double play.

That’s a relief: Torres tossed 2 1/3 no-hit innings after taking over for Marcum. The ex-Rockie has now contributed 4 1/3 scoreless innings over two appearances since a promotion from Triple-A Las Vegas.

How they scored: Trailing 3-0, the Mets had good fortune in the top of the fifth.

Medlen retired 11 straight after Young’s game-opening single, until Marlon Byrd opened the fifth with a single. Lucas Duda was hit by a pitch. John Buck then sent a screaming comebacker to Medlen.

Medlen fielded the ball and attempted to get the lead-runner Byrd. He instead threw the ball past the third baseman Johnson, who had not yet arrived at the bag. Rather than Medlen initiating a crippling double play, two runs scored. Kirk Nieuwenhuis followed with a game-tying RBI single. Two of the three runs were unearned.

What’s next: Jonathon Niese (3-6, 4.15 ERA) opposes left-hander Mike Minor (8-2, 2.68) in the rubber game of the five-game series.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 6, Braves 1

June, 18, 2013

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

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

Yes, this was a big deal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Bartolo Colon
11 3.85 125 161
BAD. Murphy .299
HRL. Duda 23
RBIL. Duda 69
RD. Murphy 70
OPSL. Duda .841
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.48
SOZ. Wheeler 148