NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Changes are coming for the New York Mets.
That’s what happens when a club with championship aspirations gets outscored 15-4 during three straight home losses to the worst team in the National League.
Julio Teheran tossed a one-hit masterpiece and did not allow any other baserunners, pitching the Atlanta Braves to a 6-0 victory Sunday that capped their surprising sweep of the scuffling Mets.
“You don’t want to panic early but, right now, with what’s going on, we are going to shake some things up,” manager Terry Collins said. “We’ve got to start playing better.”
New York has dropped six of eight to fall into third place in the NL East. Up next, another World Series rematch with Kansas City beginning Tuesday night at Citi Field.
“We are going to look at every angle we can,” Collins said.
With injuries sidelining Lucas Duda, David Wright and Juan Lagares, one ray of hope is the anticipated return of Travis d’Arnaud, who is expected to be activated Tuesday. The catcher has been on the disabled list since April 26 with a strained rotator cuff and is finishing up a rehab assignment at Triple-A Las Vegas.
“He hasn’t played in the big leagues in a long time. What’s he got, 30 minor league at-bats?” Collins said. “You only hope his bat adds something to us. We have nothing to go on.”
Freddie Freeman, who went 7 for 13 in the series, matched his career high with four hits and the Braves finally mustered some offense for Teheran (3-7), who yielded only Michael Conforto’s clean single leading off the third inning.
Conforto never advanced, and Teheran dominated New York the rest of the afternoon, ruining Jacob deGrom’s birthday as a Father’s Day crowd of 41,576 booed the home team repeatedly.
“We know we are a great team and we’ve just got to start producing,” the slumping Conforto said. “I don’t think there’s any panic.”
Atlanta (23-46) arrived at Citi Field this weekend with the worst record in the majors, but played with much more energy and focus than the defending NL champions. A pair of former Mets farmhands earned the wins in the initial two games of the series, and Teheran sent Atlanta to its first sweep at Citi Field since September 2012.
“These guys came in and they outplayed us for three straight days,” Mets second baseman Neil Walker said. “Across the board, we have to be better. Like I said, a good time for an off day.”
In a matchup of quality starters getting little help from their teammates lately, deGrom (3-4) remained winless since April 30. He lost his third consecutive outing and fell to 0-4 in nine starts since winning his first three of the season.
Pitching on his 28th birthday and as a dad on Father’s Day for the first time, deGrom gave up three runs and five hits in six innings. The 2014 NL Rookie of the Year struck out six and walked one.
“I wasn’t very good today,” deGrom said.
Nick Markakis homered and drove in two runs for Atlanta, which has won five straight for the first time since the first five games of last season.
Teheran struck out seven and retired his final 21 batters while posting Atlanta’s first complete game this season. The 25-year-old right-hander from Colombia threw a season-high 120 pitches, 82 for strikes, in his third major league shutout and fifth complete game.
“I think that’s the hardest we’ve seen him throw since three or four years ago,” Walker said.
SEEN IT BEFORE
It was Atlanta’s fourth shutout this season, including a combined one-hitter by Matt Wisler (eight innings) and Arodys Vizcaino on May 3 at Citi Field.
ROLL WITH IT
Fan favorite Wilmer Flores gave the crowd a rare reason to cheer when he tumbled onto the rolled-up tarp to make a tenuous catch of a foul popup. The third baseman wound up wedged between the tarp and a low retaining wall, but held onto the ball.
Braves: Speedy outfielder Mallex Smith broke his left thumb when it was hit by Antonio Bastardo’s pitch in the seventh. He said he had no idea how long he’ll be out. “I’m not disappointed. We just swept the Mets,” Smith said.
Mets: Before the game, Collins said reliever Jim Henderson (right shoulder) was undergoing an MRI. … Collins clarified that when he lifted Steven Matz after six effective innings and 99 pitches Saturday night, the left-hander mentioned his elbow felt a little tight anyway. But he was already coming out of the game. “He didn’t seem too concerned about it,” the manager said.
Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard (7-2, 1.91 ERA) has won five straight decisions going into Tuesday night’s start against Royals RHP Ian Kennedy (5-5, 4.17 ERA). Syndergaard won 2-0 in Kansas City when the teams split two games to open the season. Of course, he also earned New York’s only World Series victory last October and rankled the Royals by firing his first pitch above the head of leadoff hitter Alcides Escobar.
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