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Mets vs. Braves Recap: Wheeler shines, home runs power offense

Zack Wheeler's near-seven innings and homers by Marlon Byrd and Ike Davis put the Mets past the Braves on Tuesday night.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets returned home and defeated the Braves in the first game of a short series, 5-3. Zack Wheeler pitched effectively, and home runs from Marlon Byrd and Ike Davis formed the backbone of his offensive support.

The game started well - Wheeler gave up a single in the first, but was otherwise superb, forcing three easy flyouts. The Mets offense answered in the bottom of the inning, by taking advantage of questionable fielding. Shockingly the error that allowed Eric Young, Jr. to reach base to lead off the inning came from Andrelton Simmons. Young stole second and advanced to third on a groundout, and an Ike Davis single drive him home.

From there, Wheeler and Braves starter Brandon Beachy traded empty frames. The Braves managed a hit here and there but Wheeler adapted, forcing timely outs and one double play. The Mets were even lighter on the offense, going three innings without a baserunner and failing to threaten in any real fashion until the sixth. But when the time came, they were ready.

Young led off with a bunt single and Daniel Murphy followed with a single of his own. As they've done lately, the baserunners forced the issue with a double steal. Brian McCann made what was perhaps an ill-advised throw to second to try to get Murphy but missed badly, and the ball went into center field. Young raced home as Murphy stood on second. Marlon Byrd followed with a home run to left field - his 21st, a career high, and a 4-0 lead for the Mets.

Wheeler tried valiantly to get through a last inning but the top of the seventh didn't quite go as planned. After two typical outs, Paul Janish hit a double down the left field line, and Wheeler walked pinch-hitter Joey Terdoslavich and then Jason Heyward to load the bases. He hit 95 MPH with his 113rd pitch, but after his 114th he was walking off the field to be replaced by Carlos Torres. Simmons made up for his earlier error by slashing a double that cleared the bases, and after some Mets played a bit of catch he was on third base. Scott Rice cleaned up the mess and preserved the lead, but it was a more tenuous one than before.

But in the eighth inning, Ike Davis added to that lead. Leading off, he absolutely destroyed a Luis Ayala (remember him? I hope not) offering and hit it deep into the seats in right. With a two run lead, LaTroy Hawkins had no trouble ending the game simply and effectively.

Also of note was the performance of Travis d'Arnaud. He went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts, but the one was a double, and his first major league hit. The mini-slump he's had to start his career isn't really a thing - it's only been a few games, and he's walked five times - but it was very nice to see him get that first hit.

All in all, a fun start to the homestand.

SB Nation Coverage

* Amazin' Avenue Gamethread
* Talking Chop Gamethread

Win Probability Added

(What's this?)

Big winners: Zack Wheeler +32.6% (as pitcher), Ike Davis +14.9%
Big losers: Carlos Torres -19.6%, Marlon Byrd -5.7%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Ike Davis RBI single in the first inning, +9.7%
Teh sux0rest play: Andrelton Simmons three-run double in the seventh inning, -19.6%
Total pitcher WPA: +37.9%
Total batter WPA: +12.1%
GWRBI!: Marlon Byrd two-run home run in the sixth inning