The New York Mets made a dramatic three-run ninth inning comeback against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night but came up short, losing by a final score of 4-3.
Zack Wheeler, an Atlanta native who is in first full year with New York, hoped to continue the streak stellar pitching performances for New York. Wheeler was cruising through the first four innings, but simply could not get past the fifth inning. In his three previous starts against Atlanta, Wheeler averaged at least six innings with five strikeouts, two runs allowed and three walks.
After the Mets went in order in the top half of the first inning, Braves lead off hitter, right fielder Jason Heyward crushed a pitch to right center for a homerun, giving Atlanta an immediate 1-0 lead. Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons beat out a hit for an infield single. Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman then smoked a shot to deep center, but Mets center fielder Juan Lagares made a spectacular catch for the first out of the inning. Braves third baseman Chris Johnson grounded into a fielder’s choice and Simmons was thrown out at second. Wheeler then struck out left fielder Justin Upton out to end the inning.
Both the Braves and Mets scattered hits for the next three and a half innings but could not get a run across the plate. In the bottom of the fifth, things came apart for Wheeler. Braves catcher Evan Gattis doubled to lead off the inning. Wheeler struck out center fielder Jordan Schafer for the first out, but Ervin Santana, the opposing pitcher lined a single to right, advancing Gattis to third. Jayson Heyward collected his third hit and second RBI of the night extending the Braves lead to 2-0 as Gattis scored. Simmons singled to left loading the bases for Freddie Freeman. Freeman singled to left bringing home Santana and Heyward. Atlanta’s lead was 4-0, with only one out. Wheeler then bounced a slider to Chris Johnson advancing Freeman and Simmons to second and third, negating a potential double play. Johnson grounded to the shortstop Ruben Tejada who threw out Simmons at the plate for the second out. Justin Upton grounded out weakly to third for the final out of the inning. Wheeler’s final line was five innings pitched, four runs allowed on eight hits, walking none while striking out six batters.
Both Atlanta’s and New York’s bats were quiet again until the Mets final turn at bat in the top of the ninth inning. Left fielder Eric Young Jr. walked to leadoff the inning, giving the Mets their first base runner since second baseman Daniel Murphy doubled in the sixth inning. Murphy struck out swinging for the first out of the ninth inning, but star third baseman David Wright singled, advancing Young to third.
The Braves brought in their star closer Craig Kimbrel to try to shut down the Mets rally. Kimbrel then walked right fielder Curtis Granderson to load the bases with one out. Juan Lagares singled to center bringing in both Young and Wright, cutting the Braves lead in half 4-2. Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud singled to the gap in right center scoring Granderson, and bringing the Mets within a run, down 4-3. Kimbrel then got Tejada to strike out swinging to end the game.
The Mets, tied with the Phillies for last place in the NL East with a 3-5 record, look to rebound and take the series tomorrow night against Atlanta with Jenrry Mejia on the mound against David Hale.
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