The Mets lost in Atlanta by a score of 5-3 tonight at Turner Field, evening the 5-game series at two games apiece heading into tomorrow’s rubber match. Shaun Marcum pitched for the Mets and battled through the first few innings before being burned by a 3-run home run off the bat of Chris Johnson.
Freshly acquired Eric Young led off the game with a single for New York, but the Mets were stymied from that point on by Kris Medlen until the 5th. After Johnson built upon the tradition of Mets-Killing Atlana third basemen with the initials “CJ” by parking Marcum’s 2-out breaking ball in the left field seats in the 4th, the Mets broke through against Medlen thanks to the Atlanta pitcher’s misguided attempt to triple up John Buck.
With two on and nobody out, Buck hit the baseball 60 feet back to elevated dirt slope from whence it came, where Medlen fielded it with ease. After thinking about taking the easy double play, Medlen decided to try to capitalize on Buck’s lack of speed and wheeled to third base to begin a 1-5-4-3 triple play. Medlen’s throw went right through the unexpecting Johnson at third, and two runs came in. After Kirk Nieuwenhuis‘ bloop single, the game was tied, and Marcum was off the hook.
However, Marcum could not regain his composure after his offense (and the opposing pitcher) bailed him out, and he promptly allowed a run to score on a wild pitch. After BJ Upton got his first 2-out hit with runners in scoring position of the season, Marcum was back in the dugout.
Given the lead once more, Medlen was able to deliver the ball to the solid Atlanta bullpen, and the Mets could not put together a second comeback. Craig Kimbrel shut the door in the ninth, sending Marcum to 0-9 and the Mets to 27-41.
Marcum has been frustrating to say the least. His team bailed him out after he gave up a 3-spot in the 4th, but he failed to deliver in the 5th. After a couple solid starts in a row, he has once again lost his groove, and is in serious jeopardy of losing his starting job when the rotation turns over next week.
On the bright side, a few new faces chipped in for the Mets. Eric Young had a leadoff hit and showed tremendous speed throughout the game. Carlos Torres was fantastic out of the pen, tossing 2.1 hitless innings in relief of Marcum. And Scott Rice went another day without losing his arm.
The Mets will attempt to take the rubber game of their 5-game series with the Braves tomorrow at 7:10 PM. Jon Niese (3-6, 4.15 ERA) faces Mike Minor (8-2, 2.68 ERA) at Turner Field on SNY.