New York Mets: Luis Avilan

Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Braves 3 (11)

July, 7, 2014
NEW YORK -- Ya Gotta Believe?

The New York Mets, who aim to use this series against the Atlanta Braves to catapult themselves back into relevance, squandered a late lead but ultimately rallied for a 4-3 walk-off win in 11 innings on Monday at Citi Field.

Curtis Granderson produced a game-tying, two-out, solo home run in the eighth inning, and the Mets scored the winning run three innings later on Ruben Tejada's two-out RBI single off Anthony Varvaro.

Tejada also had the Mets' last walk-off hit, on May 11 against Philadelphia (also in the 11th inning).

The Mets (40-49) pulled to within nine games of the first-place Braves (49-40) in the NL East.

Wacky ninth: Eric Young Jr. ended up grounding into a fielder’s choice against Shae Simmons to strand the bases loaded and end the ninth inning, but how the Mets got there left Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez ejected and Mets manager Terry Collins perhaps worthy of admittance to the bar.

With the score tied at 3, Eric Campbell singled to open the frame. Juan Lagares then bunted, and umpire Sean Barber ruled Campbell out at second base, though a throw to first base for a double-play bid was too late.

However, Collins complained that Andrelton Simmons pulled his foot off second base before accepting the throw (which television replays supported).

"Neighborhood plays” are excluded from replay review, but Collins convinced the umps to confer and then go to video anyway. The ruling from the home office came back safe, which placed runners at first and second with no outs.

Gonzalez again argued and was ejected. He clearly believed the play was not reviewable.

In order for it to be considered a “neighborhood play,” the fielder must have acted to avoid a collision, which arguably wasn't the case, with Simmons pulling his foot off the bag to accept the throw at second. Perhaps that was Collins' winning argument.

Crazy eighth: Vic Black, Josh Edgin and Jenrry Mejia combined to allow three eighth-inning runs, as the Mets failed to hold a 2-0 lead after receiving seven scoreless innings from starter Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Black turned the two-run lead over to Edgin with Freddie Freeman on third base and two outs. Things quickly unraveled.

Edgin fired a wild pitch that sailed above Jason Heyward’s head and allowed Freeman to scamper home, which pulled the Braves within a run.

Given the series’ importance, Collins then turned to Mejia for a four-out save. Instead, the closer surrendered a game-tying RBI double to Chris Johnson off the top of the center-field wall. After an intentional walk to New Jersey native Tommy La Stella, rookie Christian Bethancourt served a go-ahead RBI single into right field.

Mejia suffered his second blown save in 10 chances. The other was June 7 at San Francisco.

Edgin had retired the first batter he faced in each of his previous 23 appearances -- a franchise record to begin a season.

Made the most: The Mets mustered only four hits through eight innings but made them count. Travis d'Arnaud had a second-inning double that plated Eric Campbell, who had reached via walk. David Wright homered the following inning against left-hander Mike Minor. Then, trailing 3-2 with two outs in the eighth, Granderson homered against Luis Avilan to even the score. Daniel Murphy followed Granderson’s homer with a single that chased Avilan.

The Braves had retired 15 straight batters between Wright’s and Granderson’s long balls, with Minor retiring 13 straight to close his seven-inning outing.

d'Arnaud has reached base in all 11 games since returning from Triple-A. Wright is hitting .395 (32-for-81) against southpaws this season.

No Dice: Matsuzaka tossed seven scoreless innings in his longest start of the season but was deprived of his first win since June 10.

Matsuzaka allowed two baserunners in each of the first three innings but repeatedly escaped unscathed. His final line: 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K. He threw 100 pitches and departed with a 2-0 lead.

With Dillon Gee ready to return from the disabled list, Matsuzaka might have been reassigned to the bullpen this week had Jonathon Niese not landed on the disabled list. Matsuzaka had surrendered five runs in each of his previous two starts. His previous season high had been six innings, which he had accomplished in three starts.

Struck: Carlos Torres was struck on the bare hand with a liner in the 11th but remained in the game after a visit from the trainer.

What’s next: Jacob deGrom (1-5, 3.77 ERA) opposes right-hander Julio Teheran (8-5, 2.29 ERA) at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Braves 0

April, 8, 2014
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.

Braves 2, Mets 1: Opener looms for Niese

March, 17, 2013
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Jordany Valdespin homered and reached base in all three of his plate appearances and Jonathon Niese allowed only a solo homer to Chris Johnson in five innings, but the Mets were three-hit by Julio Teheran and three relievers in a 2-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Sunday at Tradition Field.

Game tidbits:

NIESELY DONE: Terry Collins is not ready to formally name Niese the Opening Day starter out of respect for Johan Santana. But Santana now has not been on a mound in 11 days. And it’s clear he is opening the season on the DL, with Niese facing the San Diego Padres on April 1.

Adam Rubin
Regis Philbin is escorted off the field after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.

“There’s a strong possibility that’s going to happen,” Collins allowed.

Said Niese: “I guess it’s leaning toward I am getting Opening Day. I haven’t been told officially yet.”

On Sunday, Niese did require 82 pitches (59 strikes) to navigate five innings, but he allowed only three baserunners -- two hits by Johnson and a second-inning walk to Ramiro Pena.

“They made me throw a lot of pitches. They fouled a lot off,” Niese said. “I’ve just got to work on put-away pitches. Overall, it felt good.”

Johnson is 2-for-6 with a double and RBI lifetime against Niese in the regular season.

“[Catcher] Landon [Powell] and I said we wouldn’t have done that during the regular season,” Niese said about Johnson’s two-out homer in the fourth. “I got two quick outs. I should have been pounding the zone there. I was kind of nibbling with my changeup, trying to work on it. And then I fell behind obviously. He has a history of hitting me well. He’s a guy that I can’t fall behind or else he’ll make me pay for a mistake.”

O NO: Other than Valdespin’s homer and single, the Mets mustered only one other hit against Teheran -- on a first-inning double by Ike Davis. Relievers Luis Avilan, Dusty Hughes and Anthony Varvaro combined to toss three no-hit innings. Varvaro, who made 12 relief appearances for the Braves last season, hails from Staten Island and is a St. John’s product.

CLOSE CALL: After Robert Carson allowed consecutive one-out singles in the ninth, in his second inning of work, Bobby Parnell entered. Parnell immediately got Evan Gattis to ground into an inning-ending double play.

LEFT OUT? The Braves took the decisive 2-1 lead in the sixth against left-hander Scott Rice. Jordan Schafer had a leadoff bunt single and stole second. He scored when lefty-hitting Freddie Freeman singled to right field.

The Mets will weigh carrying Carson or Rice as a second left-hander alongside Josh Edgin if Pedro Feliciano does not make the club. But a team insider suggested it may be more likely the Mets just carry Edgin if Feliciano doesn’t make it and use righty pitchers to get lefties out. That way, Jeurys Familia and submariner Greg Burke -- both 40-man roster members -- would fit in the bullpen, too.

Feliciano entered in the seventh inning and surrendered a single to lefty-hitting Juan Francisco on an 82 mph fastball before retiring the lefty-hitting Schafer on a groundout on a pitch that registered 84 mph.

REGIS AND TERRY: Entertainer Regis Philbin, 81, threw out the ceremonial first pitch and sat in the dugout alongside Collins.

“He’s funny. I know that,” Collins said. “The first inning, when we got all those hits, he says [it was] because Regis is here. I said, ‘That’s probably it. I’ll have a uniform ready on Opening Day.’”

Rapid Reaction: Braves 3, Mets 0

September, 7, 2012
WHAT IT MEANS: Jason Heyward’s solo homer in the fourth was the only damage surrendered by Jon Niese in six innings, but the Mets offered no support at the plate and the Atlanta Braves ultimately won, 3-0, at Citi Field on Friday night.

The Mets placed a pair of runners on base in four of the first six innings and failed to score each time. They were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position during the game.

OUCH: Andres Torres got his leg caught underneath him after ranging into right-center to catch Martin Prado’s second-inning line drive. Torres left the game. The team labeled it a left knee bruise. He was replaced by Jordany Valdespin in center field.

LAR-RRRYY: Greeted with a mixture of polite applause and boos, Chipper Jones went 0-for-4 in the opener of his final series at Citi Field. He struck out with the bases loaded for the second out of the top of the third.

Jones also committed a potentially costly error in the sixth inning, with Atlanta nursing a 1-0 lead. Braves starter Paul Maholm seemingly coaxed Jason Bay into an inning-ending double-play grounder to Jones, but the third baseman threw wide to second and the Mets had two on with one out.

The faux pas didn’t cost the Braves. Chad Durbin entered and struck out pinch hitter Justin Turner looking. Luis Avilan then entered and, after a passed ball advanced both runners into scoring position, Avilan coaxed Lucas Duda into an inning-ending groundout to first base. Duda was pinch hitting for Niese.

WELCOME BACK: Jenrry Mejia handled the final two innings, in his first major league action since Sept. 15, 2010, before Tommy John surgery. He surrendered a two-out solo homer in the ninth to Dan Uggla. Mejia is expected to enter the rotation later this month, with Matt Harvey due to be shut down after two more starts. Mejia had a 2.75 ERA as a starter and a 5.48 ERA as a reliever with Triple-A Buffalo this season.

WHAT’S NEXT: Jeremy Hefner (2-5, 4.52 ERA) opposes right-hander Kris Medlen at 4:05 p.m. Saturday. The Braves have won Medlen’s past 18 starts, the longest streak in the majors since the Yankees won 20 straight starts by Roger Clemens in 2000.

Series preview: Mets at Braves

July, 13, 2012

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

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

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

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

Braves short hops

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last series results

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

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

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

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



Daniel Murphy
.289 9 57 79
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187