The Mets were coming home after a successful road trip, hoping to draw first blood against the Braves during Chipper Jones‘ last trip to the Big Apple in his baseball career. Jonathon Niese and Paul Maholm hooked up for a pitcher’s duel, but it was Maholm and mix of five relievers that shut the Mets out, giving Atlanta their third consecutive shutout.
Mets Offensive Highlights:
The story for New York last night was not driving runners in when they had the chance. There were four different occasions when they had two men on base (twice to start off an inning), and they couldn’t come through with a big hit. As a team, the Amazins went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position, stranding 11 men on base. Ike Davis was hitless, but drew 2 walks last night, while Kelly Shoppach, David Wright, Daniel Murphy, and Ronny Cedenoall collected hits for the Mets.
Braves Offensive Highlights:
Niese held Atlanta scoreless until the top of the 4th inning, when Jason Heyward blasted his 25th homer of the year to give the Braves a 1-0 lead. They continued to add insurance runs in the late innings, as Dan Uggla doubled in the 7th and eventually scored on a David Ross sacrifice fly. In the 9th, it was Uggla again, who hit his 18th homer of the year, taking full advantage of a rare start for him since he was benched in favor of Martin Prado. Heyward and Uggla provided the majority of the offense, as they combined for four hits, 3 runs scored, and 2 RBI.
Jonathon Niese pitched very well, but couldn’t avoid his second straight loss. The young southpaw went 6 innings and gave up 1 run on 5 hits, 1 walk, and struck out 2. Bobby Parnell came in and gave up a run in the 7th, while Jenrry Mejia made his season debut by throwing 2 innings of relief, and giving up one run as well.
It took Paul Maholm 104 pitches to get through 5.1 innings, but he kept the Mets off the board, allowing 5 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 6. Chad Durbin and Luis Avilan both entered the game to help complete the 6th inning, and Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty each threw one inning before Craig Kimbrel came in to close the door with his 35th save of the season.
The loss is the third in four games for the Mets, and their record drops to 65-73, now two games behind the Phillies for third place in the NL East.
Probable Pitchers Saturday:
Jeremy Hefner (2-5, 4.52 ERA) has the task of taking the mound this afternoon and helping the Mets even up the series. He will be facing the red-hot Kris Medlen (7-1. 1.56 ERA). First pitch at Citi Field is set for 4:05pm.