The Mets are in the business of making opposing pitchers look like stars these days. In his first Braves start, Ervin Santana was Maddux-like in efficiency going through the Mets lineup in eight innings on only 88 pitches. Zack Wheeler returned to his debut city and wasn’t quite as sharp as he was last July. Jason Heyward his main nemesis, collecting three straight hits, including a lead-off home run.
The Braves did most of their damage in the fifth inning off Wheeler. A bases loaded single by Freddie Freeman doubled Atlanta’s lead from 2-0 to 4-0, and with the way the Mets have been hitting, feeling like the death blow. Once again, after a disastrous start to the season, the Mets bullpen was solid, holding the lead at four runs, which allowed the Mets a chance to rally in the 9th.
It looked like the ninth inning would be magical for the Mets. Eric Young led off with a walk, David Wright singled after Murphy struck out, and then Curtis Granderson walked to load the bases. Braves fans must have been thinking at this time why manager Fredi Gonzalez had pulled Santana after only 88 pitches. Craig Kimbrel struck out Lucas Duda. But both Juan Lagares and Travis d’Arnaud came through with huge two-out hits to cut the lead to 4-3. Ruben Tejada had a chance to drive in the tying run from third, but struck out swinging to end the rally and the game.
Ruben Tejada’s final at-bat, striking out with the tying run at third, deserves honorable mention. But Jason Heyward’s eleven pitch first at-bat home run set the tone for the game.
Wheeler wasn’t quite as bad as the earned run total tells you. He gave up four runs, but threw strikes, striking out six, and walking nobody. In the end, too many balls in play fell for hits, and Jason Heyward proved a thorn in his side from the first at-bat of the ballgame.
Santana was sharp in his first Braves start. Part of it could be the terrible Mets offense, but Santana still deserves credit for his work. He needed only 88 pitches to get through eight innings. He produced 12 ground balls (57.1%), only three hits, walked none, and struck out six.
- David Wright broke out of his recent funk, collecting two hits.
- Jeurys Familia tossed two perfect innings and Gonzalez German added another. Outside of a hit allowed by John Lannan, the Mets bullpen was effective once again.