Terry Collins Defends Decision To Bunt Wilmer Flores In 9th Inning
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Zack Wheeler pitched seven innings of four-hit baseball. It wasn’t enough to secure the right-hander’s seventh consecutive victory.
New York fell to the Atlanta Braves 3-2 on Wednesday night, snapping the Mets two-game winning streak.
Wheeler (9-9) gave up three runs — two earned — four hits and three walks in seven innings, with seven strikeouts. He was matched pitch for pitch by Braves right-hander Julio Teheran (13-9), who gave up one run on three hits in 6 1-3 innings, striking out four and walking two . Wheeler had been 6-0 with a 2.12 ERA in 10 starts since losing to Oakland on June 25.
“I felt like I was in control with most of my pitches,” Wheeler said. “I thought I had pretty good stuff to keep the team in it.”
Atlanta got on the board quickly.
Braves outfielder Jason Heyward connected on Wheeler’s third pitch of the game for his 11th homer of the season and his second leadoff homer off Wheeler this year.
After Wilmer Flores’ second home run of the season tied the game in the second, the Braves went ahead for good in the third. Phil Gosselin reached on a bunt single, Freddie Freeman doubled, Justin Upton hit a broken-bat RBI groundout, and shortstop Ruben Tejada allowed Evan Gattis’ two-out bouncer to pop out of his glove for a run-scoring error.
“Justin’s at-bat was huge,” Heyward said. “It was a broken bat and scored the go-ahead run. When you put the ball in play, it puts pressure on the defense. And then when Gattis put the ball in play, they made an error and it led to another run.”
The Mets tried to rally in the ninth against Braves closer Craig Kimbrel, who allowed Eric Campbell’s leadoff single in the ninth and walked Matt den Dekker. After Flores sacrificed, Gosselin threw out Campbell at the plate on Tejada’s grounder to third and pinch-hitter Kirk Nieuwenhuis flied out to end the game. Kimbrel got his 39th save in 43 chances.
“We’ll play to tie another time,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “We’ve got to win this game. We’re short pitching, we’re short on the bench. We don’t have a lot of moves if we go extra innings. So I just said I’m going to try to win the game right now. That’s why when den Dekker walked, we’ve got a chance here, get a hit with runners in scoring position, we’ve got a chance to win the game now.”
Juan Lagares had an RBI single in the eighth off Jordan Walden before Lucas Duda grounded into a double play. Then, with the potential tying run on third base, Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons ranged onto the outfield grass to snag Travis d’Arnaud’s grounder, and made a leaping, one-hop throw to first baseman Freeman that preserved the lead.
“It looks like he has no chance, and then in the last second, he just reaches for it and throws it,” d’Arnaud said. “What a great play.
Braves: LHP Jonny Venters has been told to stop throwing following recurring soreness in his surgically repaired elbow. Venters has had two Tommy John reconstructive surgeries and was examined Wednesday by Dr. James Andrews. … RHP Gavin Floyd will not throw until October following a visit with Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek on Tuesday. The right-hander is recovering from June surgery to repair a fractured elbow. … 3B Chris Johnson was given the day off.
Mets: RHP Vic Black (neck) and LHP Josh Edgin (elbow) both remained unavailable. Collins said the team will be without Black for a couple of days and said Edgin is dealing with a bone spur-like issue. … 2B Daniel Murphy (calf) and 3B David Wright (neck) remained out of the lineup; Wright took a few swings in the indoor batting cages prior to the game. “Today’s the day where he needs to do some stuff and to see how he comes out of it,” Collins said.
Mike Minor (5-8, 4.90 ERA) pitches Thursday night for Atlanta against New York’s Jonathon Niese (7-9, 3.47 ERA) in a matchup of left-handers in the series finale. This will be the fourth career matchup between the two.
New York has homered in eight straight games for the first time since starting 2013 with 12 in a row.
WHEELING AND DEALING
Wheeler has not allowed multiple home runs in his last 37 starts.
Atlanta improved to 22-22 in one-run games this year, and the Mets dropped to 20-26.
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