The New York Mets started their first road trip of the season in Atlanta, taking on the rival Braves.
Bartolo Colon seeking his first win of the season, pitched extremely well, going seven shutout innings striking out six batters while walking none, leading New York to a 4-0 victory. Things got a little dicey for the Mets in the ninth inning as closer Jose Valverde loaded the bases with one out.
But the closer got out of the jam by getting outfielder Jason Heyward to fly out to center.
Before the game the Braves honored Hank Aaron on the 40th anniversary of him breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record. The ceremony itself was a little controversial as Aaron was introduced as “the true home run king”, a knock on Barry Bonds. Even Major League Baseball’s commissioner Bud Selig came out in support of Aaron.
In the actual game Mets outfielder, Eric Young Jr. led off the game on a first pitch single to center. Daniel Murphy then struck out against Braves starter Aaron Harrang. Young, the National League stolen base leader last season, stole second. Unfortunately neither third baseman David Wright nor right fielder Curtis Granderson was able to bring in Young.
Colon struck out the first two Braves batters he faced leading off the bottom of the first inning. First baseman Freddie Freeman then lined a two out double in the right field gap, giving the Braves their first base runner and first scoring opportunity. Colon then got third baseman Chris Johnson to fly out to right.
Both teams went quietly in the second inning. In the top of the third, the Mets got a rally going. Shortstop Ruben Tejada walked to lead off the inning, Colon then struck out after failing to get a bunt down. Young walked giving the Mets their first scoring opportunity. Daniel Murphy flew out to right field, which advanced Tejada to third. Young then stole his second base of the game, putting both runners in scoring position. With David Wright at the plate, on a two ball two strike count, Aaron Harrang bounced a pitch that went to the backstop, Tejada scored from third giving the Mets a 1-0 lead. Wright then flied out to center, ending the inning.
Both teams scattered hits for the next three and a half innings, but failed to do anything else offensively. In the top of the seventh Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud hit a ball off of Braves reliever Gus Schlosser that fell between Braves outfielders BJ and Justin Upton. d’Arnaud hustling all the way, beat the throw at second base for a double. Tejada blooped a single into the right field gap, which brought in d’Arnaud, extending the Mets lead to 2-0. Colon sacrificed Tejada over second for the first out of the inning.
Braves manager then brought in lefty reliever Luis Avilan to replace Schlosser. Eric Young Jr. then singled to right, bringing in Tejada making it 3-0 Mets. Young was thrown out trying to advance to second on the play by right fielder Jason Heyward. After a broken bat single by second baseman Daniel Murphy, David Wright grounded into a fielder’s choice and Murphy was thrown out at second for the final out of the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh Colon got the first two outs of the inning before allowing a single to shortstop Andrelton Simmons. Backup catcher Ryan Doumit came on to pinch-hit for the pitcher and hit a ball right at Ruben Tejada. Tejada tried to backhand the ball but came up empty, making his first error of the season. With runners at first and second with two outs, Colon got Jason Heyward to groundout to end the threat.
In the top of the eighth inning, Granderson flew out to right leading off the inning and first baseman Lucas Duda singled up the middle. Juan Lagares was the next batter for the Mets. Lagares hit a dribbler between the pitching mound and first base. Hustling down the line Lagares did not beat the throw and was called out. Mets manager challenged the call, and upon further review, Lagares was called safe. Travis d’Arnaud popped up to short for the second out, but Ruben Tejada blooped a single to right bringing in Duda furthering the Mets lead to 4-0. Backup first baseman Ike Davis was called to pinch-hit for Colon and grounded out to short for the final out of the inning.
The Braves and Mets were retired in order in their next turns at bat. In the bottom of the ninth inning, closer Jose Valverde was brought in to finish the game for the Mets. Valverde allowed a single by Justin Upton and second baseman Dan Uggla to lead off the inning. Valverde got catcher Evan Gattis to hit into a fielder’s choice. Tejada made a heads-up play by throwing to third to get the lead runner out. Andrelton Simmons then hit a ball back to Valverde that looked like a surefire double play. Unfortunately Valverde threw the ball away from second base that was fortunately caught by Daniel Murphy but everyone was safe. With the bases loaded and one out Valverde was in an incredibly tough jam. The veteran reliever got the other backup catcher Gerald Laird to pop up to Murphy for the second out. On a full count of three balls and two strikes Jason Heyward smacked the ball deep to center field. The ball died at the warning track and Lagares caught it for the final out of the game.
Wednesday’s matchup between the bitter rivals features Mets young gun Zack Wheeler going up against the newly acquired veteran, Ervin Santana.
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