For many years, Turner Field has been something of a house of horrors for the Mets. Even as the names and faces have changed, the Mets have always seemed to struggle to pull out victories at the Braves' home park. So you're excused if you weren't expecting all that much tonight, especially after Shaun Marcum and the bullpen gave an early lead back. Luckily the Mets did end up defeating the Braves in what turned into an exciting 7-5 see-saw victory that lasted 10 innings in Atlanta.
The run scoring started immediately for the Mets as (who else) slugging catcher John Buck launched a two-run home run, his 10th of the year, off of Braves' lefty Mike Minor in the first inning. Ahead 2-0, Lucas Duda stepped up to the plate an inning later and deposited his 6th home run of the year, a solo shot, into the left-center field bleachers to put the Mets up 3-0. At that point, the Braves' offense began to wake up and they plated a run in the third and two more in the fifth, chasing Marcum after just 4.1 innings. LaTroy Hawkins came on in relief with runners on base and despite allowing the tying run to score on a sacrifice fly, he did a nice job otherwise shutting the Braves down over 1.2 innings. The game wouldn't stay deadlocked for long, however, as Scott Atchison took the 7th inning and allowed the Braves to take a one run lead. It was at this point, the two teams began trading runs.
After Duda's home run in the second, the Braves' starter Minor settled in and retired 18 consecutive batters but Fredi Gonzalez decided to remove him from the game after just 90 pitches. Going to his trusted bullpen in the 8th, Gonzalez called on lefty Eric O'Flaherty who promptly served up a long opposite field, game-tying home run to Marlon Byrd on the second pitch he threw. The game wouldn't stay knotted for 4 for long, though, as in the bottom of the frame, Evan Gattis gave the Braves the lead again with a solo home run of his own to center against new Mets' reliever Brandon Lyon.
Down a run at 5-4 headed into the 9th, the Mets faced a daunting task. Not only were they down to their last three outs but it would be Craig Kimbrel on the mound to face them. Daniel Murphy was Kimbrel's first victim, helplessly striking out on three dominating pitches. That brought up the Captain, David Wright, who was in the midst of a hitless day. After working the count to 2 balls and 2 strikes, Wright got a fastball to drive and drive it he did, right over the center field fence for a game-tying home run! The Mets would get no more off of Kimbrel who struck out the side, but what they got from their Captain was plenty.
Headed into the bottom of the ninth, Terry Collins left Brandon Lyon in the game to pitch, a decision that seemed regrettable very quickly as Ramiro Pena doubled to lead it off. After Reed Johnson sacrificed Pena to third base for the first out, Collins wasted no time and brought in his stopper Bobby Parnell from the pen. A huge moment in the game came next when Jordan Schafer stepped to the plate and hit a medium depth fly ball to center field. Marlon Byrd lined up the ball, caught it, and loaded up for a strong throw to the plate but despite having a reasonable shot to score the winning run, the runner at third decided not to test his arm. After an Andrelton Simmons walk, Parnell got Justin Upton to ground out to David Wright, silencing the Braves' rally and pushing the game into extra innings.
With Jordan Walden on the hill for the Braves in the 10th, Lucas Duda and Marlon Byrd each flew out for two quick outs to start the inning, bringing up pinch-hitter Jordany Valdespin. Valdespin worked out a great at bat, resulting in a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Terry Collins sent Bobby Parnell to the plate in what initially seemed to be a move to save the pitcher. Of course, we soon realized that this was a strategic move as Valdespin stole second base on the first pitch. With the runner now in scoring position, Collins sent up Mike Baxter to pinch hit and Mike From Whitestone took a pitch off of his foot to get to first base. With a pair of runners on base, Ruben Tejada stepped up and lined a single into center, scoring Valdespin from second and Daniel Murphy followed with a single of his own to score Baxter, putting the Mets up for good at 7-5. Having already used Parnell, the Mets turned to Jeurys Familia for the 10th and the hard-throwing reliever tossed a perfect inning, featuring some beautiful breaking balls in the process for his first big league save.
SB Nation Coverage
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Ruben Tejada (35.9%), Bobby Parnell (32.3%)
Big losers: Brandon Lyon (48.2%), Scott Atchison (17.4%)
Teh aw3s0mest play: Ruben Tejada singles to center in the 10th inning
Teh sux0rest play: Evan Gattis' home run in the 8th inning
Total pitcher WPA: -25.2%
Total batter WPA: 75.2%
GWRBI!: Ruben Tejada