Zack Wheeler picked up his sixth win of the season and the Mets blasted two home runs as they opened up their homestand with a 5-3 win over the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field.
Wheeler was a different pitcher than we saw in his last start and just focused on pitching his game rather than trying to strike everyone out. The result was a solid effort as he held the Braves potent offense scoreless for six innings before running into trouble in the seventh.
After loading the bases with two outs, Terry Collins had seen enough, pulled Wheeler, and called for Carlos Torres who was promptly greeted by bases-clearing double by shortstop Andrelton Simmons. All three runs were charged to Wheeler. The bullpen would contain the Braves the rest of the way including a perfect ninth by LaTroy Hawkins who earned his fifth save of the season.
The final line for Wheeler was three earned runs in 6.2 innings pitched on six hits, three walks and five strikeouts. He threw 72 of his 114 pitches for strikes. His velocity was great during the first few innings, but as Terry Collins pointed out he seemed to lose a few mph late in the game. I felt he pitched a gutty performance would have loved to see him face one more batter to get out of the jam, but I can’t blame Collins for removing him after tossing all those pitches. Wheeler knows how to compete.
The Mets struck early on offense after an Ike Davis single drove home Eric Young who gotten on after an error and stole second in the bottom of the first inning. They would tack on three more runs in the sixth after a Brian McCann error allowed Eric Young to score from third, and then Marlon Byrd would put the Mets up 4-0 when he blasted a two-run homer to deep left. He now has 21 home runs this season with 70 RBIs. Wow, what a pickup for the Mets…
In the bottom of the eighth, Ike Davis crushed a bomb to deep right field to give the Mets an insurance run and put them up 5-3. It was Davis’ first home run at Citi Field since April 25th and there was no mistake about this one when he hit it. Two batters later would bring up Travis d’Arnaud who ripped a double for his first major league in his 11th at-bat as a Met. The rookie backstop finished the night 1-for-4 with two strikeouts on the night. Congratulations to the kid and lets hope it’s the beginning of a hot stretch for him.
The game featured some aggressive baserunning including a double steal that led to their first two runs. Young has a pair of steals to give him 28 for the season, and Daniel Murphy swiped his 15th base of the year – a career high. Games like this are what I love and it reminds me of those those aggressive Bobby Valentine years where they forced the opposition to make the play and be perfect. Hopefully we see more of this moving forward.
The Mets wrap up this short two-game series tomorrow at 1:10 PM as they look for the sweep with LHP Jonathon Niese (5-6, 4.25) opposing LHP Alex Wood (2-2, 2.61). Be there or be square…. Lets Go Mets!