Sunday, September 30, 2012
Braves 6, Mets 2
ATLANTA -- Jenrry Mejia had mixed results in his opportunity to show he can be part of the New York Mets' rotation next season.
Mejia impressed the Mets with his fastball but threw a fat pitch that David Ross hit for a three-run homer in the Atlanta Braves' 6-2 win over New York on Sunday.
Mejia (1-2) gave up four runs on six hits in five innings.
"I thought he threw the ball good today," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He made a real bad throw to Ross, right down the middle. But his two-seamer was the best one I've seen him have."
Mejia earned his first win over the Pirates on Monday when he threw five shutout innings in a 6-2 win. Collins said the 22-year-old Mejia asked for the chance to start. He appeared in five games, including three starts, and has a 5.63 ERA.
"He was impressive enough that he could possibly be a starter," Collins said. "We have to wait until next spring to see where we are, what we need, what kind of depth we have in the rotation."
Mejia gave up the homer to Ross in the second inning.
"Some days you throw for strikes and they hit them back," Mejia said.
The Braves won for a major league record 23rd straight time in games started by Kris Medlen. Even so, the day belonged to Chipper Jones, who was playing his final regular-season home game.
Jones' teammates stayed behind in the dugout as he ran onto the field to a standing ovation to start the game. The Braves joined the ovation, and even some New York players applauded the retiring 40-year-old slugger. Mets third base coach Tim Teufel walked over and shook Jones' hand, and finally the Braves joined Jones on the field.
"It's a well-deserved tribute," Collins said. "We all salute him in his career. He's a great, great player."
Jones had a single and two walks and wouldn't agree to come out of the game early.
"I tried to pinch-hit for him, get a big ovation for him," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "He said `I want to finish this.' That's just the way he is."
Jones' parents were in Atlanta for the series.
"To be honest with you, I saw us winning this game early and I wanted to go give my mom and dad a hug after the game," Jones said. "If I had taken myself out of the game, I'd be in (the clubhouse) watching fantasy football."
Medlen (10-1) gave up one unearned run and three hits in six innings, adding to his momentum heading into the postseason. The Braves have already clinched an NL wild-card spot and are on track to host the one-game playoff, which Medlen would start.
"I think the best part about it is my name is in the history books but it's a team thing," Medlen said. "It's a really cool feeling. Like I said, we're not done. I hope we keep going."
According to STATS LLC research going back to 1921, only two other teams won 22 straight starts by a pitcher: the New York Giants with Carl Hubbell (1936-37) and the Yankees with Whitey Ford (1950-53). Ford's streak was interrupted by military service.
With Washington's 10-4 loss to St. Louis, the Braves gained a game in the NL East and trail the first-place Nationals by three games. The Nationals have a magic number of one for clinching the division. The Braves close the regular season with three games at Pittsburgh.
The Mets (73-86) topped 2011's loss total and ensured their most losses since a 70-92 record in 2009.
Atlanta is 12-0 in Medlen's starts this season after he moved to the rotation on July 31. The team's streak of 23 straight wins in Medlen's starts began in 2010.
Medlen lined a foul ball into the Mets' dugout in the fourth, hitting catcher Josh Thole. Thole's right ear was red and swollen but he said he passed a concussion test.
"I just saw the doctor and there's no issue, other than this big ear I have," Thole said.
"It got me more on the cartilage of my ear, I think. That's what saved me. It definitely could have been worse."
The Mets' only run off Medlen was set up by first baseman Freddie Freeman's throwing error on Justin Turner's grounder in the third. The wild throw to Medlen, who was covering first base, allowed Ruben Tejada, who singled, to score from second.
The Mets scored one run off Cory Gearrin in the ninth on a double by Ike Davis, a walk to Lucas Duda and a single by Andres Torres.
Closer Craig Kimbrel recorded the final out on a grounder by Fred Lewis for his 42nd save.
NOTES: The sellout crowd of 50,635 raised the Braves' attendance for the season at 2,420,171, a slight increase from their 2011 total. ... Following the lead of Collins, the Mets had a theme dress day, with all the players and coaches wearing football jerseys -- NFL or college -- to the park. The team had a similar hockey jersey day earlier in the season. ... Mets rookie RHP Jeurys Familia will make his first career start Monday against Florida's Josh Johnson. Familia has an 8.64 ERA in seven games in relief. R.A. Dickey is scheduled to start on Tuesday.