Justin Upton rounds third after his three-run home run in the top of the ninth (©GettyImages)
Justin Upton rounds third after his three-run home run in the top of the ninth (©GettyImages).

New York Mets fall short in 7-5 Atlanta Braves loss

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The New York Mets lost 7-5 Saturday night in another heartbreaker to division rival Atlanta Braves. The Mets made two valiant comebacks against the Braves but came up short. Center fielder Chris Young and star third baseman David Wright were the catalysts for the Mets in both rallies, each going 3-5 with two RBI’s. Justin Upton was the star for the Braves hitting a three-run home run in the top of the ninth that put the Braves up for good.

Mets right-handed veteran Bartolo Colon held the Braves scoreless in the top of the first. In the bottom half of the inning left fielder Eric Young Jr., led off with a walk against Braves starter Ervin Santana. Young Jr. then stole second base, his 10th of the year. Second baseman Daniel Murphy advanced the speedy outfielder to third on a sacrifice fly. David Wright followed with a single to center, easily scoring Young Jr. making it 1-0 Mets. Curtis Granderson grounded out to first for the second out but Wright advanced to second on the play. Chris Young then popped up for the last out of the inning.

Colon again held the Braves in check as they went in order in the top of the second. First baseman Lucas Duda doubled to start the bottom of the second inning, advancing on a bad throw by Braves centerfielder B.J. Upton. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud hit a ground ball to shortstop Andrelton Simmons. Simmons then threw to home to catch Duda in a rundown between third base and home. Braves catcher Evan Gattis eventually tagged out Duda while d’Arnaud advanced to second. Ruben Tejada lined out to right for out number two and Bartolo Colon struck out to end the inning.

In the top of the third, Andrelton Simmons singled to right to start the inning for the Braves. Pitcher Ervin Santana bunted into a fielder’s choice, and Simmons was forced out at second. Right fielder Jason Heyward flied out to center for the second out of the inning. B.J. Upton walked putting runners at first and second. First baseman Freddie Freeman hit a ball back to Bartolo Colon. Colon threw it but it ricocheted off Freeman’s foot scoring both Santana and Upton giving the Braves a 2-1 lead. Justin Upton then singled moving Freeman over to second. But Colon got out of the inning by striking out Evan Gattis.

Neither team scored for the next inning and a half. In the top of the fifth Ervin Santana grounded out to lead off. Jason Heyward and B.J. Upton then singled up the middle. Freddie Freeman followed with a double to right scoring Heyward and moving B.J. Upton to third, extending Atlanta’s lead to 3-1. Justin Upton then struck out and Evan Gattis lined out to left to end the inning.

Both teams were retired in order for the next two innings. In the bottom of the seventh Lucas Duda crushed a ball to deep center but it died at the warning track for the first out of the inning. Travis d’Arnaud then blooped a single to center. Ruben Tejada followed with a single to right putting runners at first and second with one out. Kirk Nieuwenhuis came in to pinch-hit for Bartolo Colon and struck out swinging. d’Arnaud advanced to third on a wild pitch by Santana, but Eric Young Jr., grounded into a fielder’s choice and Tejada was forced out at second to end the inning.

Daisuke Matsuzaka came in to pitch the eighth inning replacing Colon. Matsuzaka was making his season debut after being called up on Wednesday for the underwhelming John Lannan. Dice-K struck out Freddie Freeman to start the inning. Justin Upton then singled to left and immediately stole second base. Evan Gattis grounded out to first while Upton advanced to third. Upton scored on a wild pitch from Dice-K making it 4-1 Braves. Second baseman Dan Uggla walked and Chris Johnson singled moving Uggla over to second. Andrelton Simmons grounded out to second to end the inning.

Reliever Dan Carpenter came in to replace Ervin Santana to start the bottom of the eighth. Daniel Murphy reached on an infield single to start the inning. David Wright then blooped a single to right advancing Murphy to third. Curtis Granderson popped out to third continuing his cold start for the Mets. Chris Young then singled to left scoring Murphy advancing Wright to third making it 4-2 Atlanta. Lucas Duda flied to right for out number two, but Travis d’Arnaud singled in the gap in right-center scoring Wright bringing the Mets within a run by a score of 4-3. Ruben Tejada grounded out to end the rally.

Outfielder Jordan Schafer was called to pinch-hit for Dan Carpenter to start the top of the ninth. Mets closer Jose Valverde induced a groundball by Schafer that went under his glove and through his legs for a single. Valverde struck out Jason Heyward but Schafer stole second base. B.J. Upton hit a pop up foul behind the plate for the second out of the inning. Freddie Freeman was intentionally walked to face Justin Upton. Justin demolished a pitch over the center field wall to extend the Braves lead to 7-3. Evan Gattis grounded out to end the inning.

Shortstop Omar Quintanilla came in to pinch-hit for Valverde. Quintanilla grounded out to second for the first out. Eric Young Jr. was hit by a pitch, and Daniel Murphy singled to right moving Young Jr. to second. David Wright then doubled in the gap to score Eric Young Jr. and Murphy advanced to third. Curtis Granderson struck out on a nasty slider by Braves closer Craig Kimbrel. Chris Young then singled bringing in Murphy moving Wright to third, making it 7-5 Atlanta. Chris Young stole second base and Lucas Duda walked to load the bases.

Kimbrel was pulled by Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez and in came reliever Jordan Walden to get the final out. Travis d’Arnaud hit a ground ball to the hole in shortstop. Andrelton Simmons gathered the ball and gunned down d’Arnaud for the final out of the game.

After the game Mets manager Terry Collins announced he would make a change at closer in light of Valverde’s dramatic drop in production and would move Granderson out of the cleanup hole. Corresponding moves have not been announced.

The Mets look to hold off the sweep on Sunday afternoon when Zack Wheeler squares off against David Hale.

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