ATLANTA (AP) — Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez didn’t even see the balk that gave Atlanta its latest extra-innings win.
Everyone else did.
With a runner on third and two outs in the 10th inning, Mets reliever D.J. Carrasco stopped and then restarted his motion with Jason Heyward at the plate, bringing home the winning run to give the Atlanta Braves a 9-8 win Thursday night.
“The next thing I know Heyward’s hands are in the air without a bat,” Gonzalez said. “I said ‘What’s going on?”‘
Heyward said he recognized the balk immediately.
“(Carrasco) went to set and then he tried to go back and get another sign … without stepping off,” Heyward said.
Even Carrasco couldn’t argue the call by plate umpire James Hoye that scored Diory Hernandez from third.
“Yeah, as soon as he said it, it made sense,” Carrasco said. “It’s kind of like surreal.”
Hernandez doubled with two outs in the 10th and took third after first baseman Lucas Duda mishandled Jordan Schafer’s grounder. Hernandez scored the winning run on the balk as Gonzalez watched from the dugout.
It was all made possible by Brooks Conrad’s homer off Francisco Rodriguez in the bottom of the ninth. That came after the Mets took a two-run lead after coming back from a 6-2 deficit.
K-Rod hadn’t blown a save since his first appearance for the Mets, who were trying to sweep a three-game series and go above .500 for the first time since April 6. Instead, the Braves got their 13th final at-bat victory of the season.
“For us to at least scratch one out of the series, it was a hard-fought win for us,” Conrad said.
Chipper Jones had three hits, including a three-run homer, and matched his career high with five RBIs before leaving the game in the ninth with a strained adductor muscle in his right leg.
Gonzalez said Jones’ status is day to day.
The Mets trailed 6-2 before Scott Hairston’s tying, three-run homer off Scott Proctor in the fifth. New York took the lead off Jonny Venters in the seventh.
Venters gave up singles to Beltran and Jason Bay before walking Ronny Paulino to load the bases. Venters struck out Hairston on a wild pitch that skipped past catcher Brian McCann, allowing Beltran to score the go-ahead run.
Two Atlanta errors helped the Mets add to the lead off Venters in the eighth.
Pinch-hitter Angel Pagan reached on Jones’ throwing error and scored from second on second baseman Dan Uggla’s throwing error to first. Jones fielded Beltran’s grounder and threw to Uggla at second to start a potential double play. Justin Turner’s hard slide led to Uggla’s wild throw to first, allowing Pagan to score.
Mets starter R.A. Dickey gave up six runs in four innings.
Jones hit a three-run homer off Dickey in the third. Heyward and Jones had run-scoring singles in the fourth to give Atlanta a 6-2 lead.
Braves rookie left-hander Mike Minor’s control problems helped him blow the lead in the Mets’ four-run fifth. Minor walked Turner and Beltran to open the inning before giving up Jason Bay’s run-scoring single with one out before Proctor came on.
Minor gave up five runs on seven hits and three walks in 4 1-3 innings.
Jose Reyes had three hits, giving him 101 for the season.
NOTES: It was the first win on a balk since May 31, 2010, when Esmerling Vasquez of Arizona was called for one that gave the Los Angeles Dodgers a 5-4 win. … Scott Linebrink (3-1) pitched the 10th inning for Atlanta. … Conrad’s homer was his sixth as a pinch-hitter in his career, including his second of the season. … Braves RHP Tommy Hanson was scratched from Friday’s scheduled start against Texas due to tendinitis in his right shoulder. RHP Randall Delgado will be recalled from Double-A Mississippi to make his major league debut. … Atlanta RHP Brandon Beachy gave up one run on four hits in five innings for Triple-A Gwinnett in his first of two scheduled rehab starts as he recovers from a strained left oblique.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)