NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York Mets have never had a suspended game.
Still, manager Terry Collins is certain about how he’s going handle his pitchers for the completion. He’s going to use a reliever when play resumes.
The Mets rallied in the rain to tie their game with the Braves 5-5 in the bottom of the eighth inning Friday night after Evan Gattis had a two-run, pinch-hit single in the top half to put Atlanta ahead, but the teams will have to wait a day to finish it because the game was suspended after a 75-minute delay.
“I’m going to start the game with a relief pitcher,” Collins said. “Otherwise, if the thing’s over in 10 minutes, the guy’s already warmed up, now he has to sit for an hour. That’s not what I want to happen.”
The teams will resume play with none out in the top of the ninth inning on Saturday at 6:10 p.m. The regularly scheduled game is set to start 7:15 p.m. with Mets right-hander Dillon Gee and Braves lefty Mike Minor getting their starts.
With rain starting to fall heavily, Gattis put Atlanta up 5-3 with a bases-loaded single off Greg Burke.
The Mets tied it in a wet and wild bottom half, taking advantage of center fielder B.J. Upton’s error on Daniel Murphy’s RBI single and scoring on a wild pitch by Anthony Varvaro.
Varvaro could be seen struggling to get a good grip on the ball throughout the inning, repeatedly rubbing his hand on his jersey and pants. Catcher Brian McCann even visited Varvaro to calm him down.
“It was tough to see. As tough as it was to see, I’m sure it was tough to get a grip on the ball and footing on the mound,” Murphy said. “So, equal playing field and we were really glad to tie the score up there, and we’ll come out tomorrow and see if we can win an inning.”
The tarp was brought out after Rick Ankiel struck out to end the eighth.
The Braves were trying for their seventh straight win — they swept two home series — but only a second win in seven road games. The Mets were swept by Cincinnati in a three-game series at Citi Field. They entered Friday’s game 0-9 in games following a start by young star Matt Harvey.
“I thought it would benefit us as we had the lead, Gonzalez said.
“One guy’s trying to throw a wet ball and the other guy is trying to hit it with all the rain in their face.”
New York led 3-2 behind the impressive pitching of Jeremy Hefner for six innings, but LaTroy Hawkins gave up a homer to Dan Uggla leading off the seventh to tie it. It was Uggla’s fourth hit in 38 at-bats.
Hefner gave up a two-run homer to Freddie Freeman in the first then was sharp the rest of his outing, giving up three hits and two walks. He struck out seven. But Uggla’s homer ensured he would remain winless in his nine starts.
“I was so excited that he pitched so well after he’s been so down about not winning a game, I said I’m not going to let this kid lose this game,” said Collins on pulling Hefner after the sixth.
“I’m not going to do that. He needs to move forward on it on a positive attitude that he pitched very, very well. Even though he did pitch well, if something happened the next inning, he goes home feeling bad about it and I didn’t want that to happen.”
Braves starter Kris Medlen allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings. He struck out nine, but yielded a homer leading off the fourth to John Buck that tied it 2-all.
“You have these huge stands in front of you and you still feel the wind,” Medlen said of the conditions. “It was a crazy, crazy night.”
Justin Upton was walked by Scott Rice with one out in the eighth and advanced to third on Freeman’s single. Rice struck out McCann for the second out and was replaced by Greg Burke. Uggla walked to load the bases for Gattis.
The rookie with a made-for-Hollywood story came to the plate having hit three homers — two as a pinch-hitter — in his past six at-bats, including a grand slam on Wednesday. As a heavy rain started to fall, he worked the count to 1-2 before lining a single up the middle.
Struggling in the downpour, Varvaro walked Buck then struck out Ike Davis — his fourth strikeout of the night — and pinch-hitter Jordany Valdespin before Ruben Tejada singled. Davis’ struggles have caused major debate among Mets fans who are torn on whether Davis should be demoted to Triple-A.
“I know it’s wearing on him,” Collins said of Davis. “When they stopped the game, he got into the (indoor) cage. So I know it’s wearing on him. These players got to the big leagues because they’re very talented guys and they haven’t had to deal with much failure in their whole lives. And when you deal with what he’s going through right now, it’s pretty hard to take because you’ve never been there before.”
Murphy hit a soft line drive to center field that hit off Upton’s glove as he came in on it and Buck scored.
Tejada was able to race to third base when B.J. Upton struggled picking up the ball. Varvaro bounced the first pitch to Ankiel and it scooted to the left of catcher Buck allowing Tejada to score and tie it 5-all.
New York last scored more than four runs at home on April 24, a 7-3 win in 10 innings over the Dodgers.
NOTES: Marlon Byrd had an RBI single in the fifth for the Mets. … Braves RHP Brandon Beachy (elbow surgery, June 2012) was scheduled to make a rehabilitation start for Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday night. … Mets RHP Jenrry Mejia (elbow inflammation, 60-day DL) is set to have a rehab outing Saturday for Class A St. Lucie.
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