Unlike the past few seasons where the Mets have stumbled out of the starting blocks after the All Star Break, the team this year took two of three in its first series. Looking to build on its winning ways, the Mets began a four game series against the first place Atlanta Braves. Dillon Gee got the start against the Braves’ young Julio Teheran.
July 22, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Dillon Gee (35) reacts after getting the third out with the bases loaded in the 7th inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
Despite a 12 pitch at-bat from leadoff hitter Andrelton Simmons, Gee retired the next two hitters on one pitch apiece, and looked strong early on.
The Mets had a chance in the second to jump on the board with one out when Ike Davis doubled and John Buck was hit with a pitch. But Kirk Nieuwenhuis fanned and Omar Quintanilla grounded out to Dan Uggla to end the scoring threat.
The Mets nearly had two runs on the board in the third when David Wright cracked one deep to right center field, but Jason Hayward tracked it down right in front of the wall.
The Mets finally got on the board in the fourth when Marlon Byrd led off with single as Justin Upton dove and missed it, allowing Byrd to go to third. Ike Davis followed with a single to right, giving the Mets a 1-0 lead. John Buck then promptly hit into a double play and despite a Nieuwenhuis walk, Quintanilla lined out to right to end the inning.
In the top of the sixth after Jason Heyward walked on a 3-2 pitch, Justin Upton hit a deep ground ball into the hole at short, but Omar Quintanilla made a fantastic play and was able to gun down Upton at first to end the inning to preserve a possible no-hitter.
Despite Gee dominating through the first six, Freddie Freeman came through with the first hit of the game to lead off the seventh. Freeman is quickly becoming the new Chipper Jones to the Mets. Gee quickly fell into trouble as the Braves loaded the bases with one out via an Evan Gattis single and Dan Uggla getting hit by a pitch. Gee did evade trouble however, by getting a force out at the plate and a strikeout of pinch hitter Joey Terdoslavich.
LaTroy Hawkins came on for the eighth and got into trouble right a way with a leadoff single by Simmons. Hawkins did work around the trouble recording back-to-back fielder’s choices and a strikeout of Freeman to record a scoreless eighth.
The Mets had two on in the bottom half with one out, as Eric Young, Jr. reached on a failed sacrifice bunt attempt and Daniel Murphy walked. Despite the chance, Wright was caught looking at a fastball on the outside corner and Marlon Byrd flied out to right.
Bobby Parnell came on in the ninth and was in trouble right away with consecutive singles by Brian McCann and Gattis. Parnell got a fielder’s choice from Uggla as Wright stepped on third to force out McCann. The first pitch to Chris Johnson got away from John Buck and allowed the runners to move to second and third. The infield played back and Johnson grounded out to short, tying the game for the Braves. Reed Johnsonwas the next batter and lined a single to center giving Atlanta the lead.
Jun 28, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Bobby Parnell (39) looks on against the Washington Nationals in the ninth inning at Citi Field. The Nationals won the game 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Craig Kimbrel came on for thebottom of the ninth and tried to do what Bobby Parnell could not do in the top. The Mets had Kimbrel on the ropes and Justin Turner appeared to have tied or won the game but Jason Heyward made an amazing diving catch to win the game.
> Dillon Gee was fantastic again tonight. He brought a no-hitter into the sixth and looked strong, even with his back against the wall. He went seven innings allowing only two hits and struck out three. He did a fantastic job pitching to contact throughout. He deserved a win but has to settle for a no decision.
> Ike Davis swung the bat well, and collected two hits and hit the ball hard in his third time up. He had the only RBI in the game for the Mets.
> Bobby Parnell blew the save but it was not entirely his fault. John Buck’s miss of the pitch to Chris Johnson allowed runners to move up when the ground ball to Quintanilla would have ended the game.
> Only five hits for the Mets but they left 16 runners on base.
A game the Mets should have won, but ultimately didn’t. Gee was absolutely fantastic and deserved a much better outcome. He was brilliant through his seven innings of work.
Although Parnell technically got the blown save, it was not entirely his fault. John Buck’s passed ball was the real killer as the ground out to Omar Quintanilla would have probably been a double play.
The Mets did make a valiant effort in the ninth against one of the best closers in the game, and nearly won it. Justin Turner in his first game back nearly won it, but Heyward said otherwise. Based on the situation, it might be one of the plays of the year. The way the game played out, it was a true heartbreaking loss.
The Mets play their second game of a four game set tomorrow night as Carlos Torres toes the rubber against the Braves’ Kris Medlen. It will be Torres’s second start since replacing Shaun Marcum in the rotation.