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Mets vs. Braves Recap: Heyward hit in jaw, Mets lose in extras

Jon Niese hit Jason Heyward in the face with a pitch, kick starting a Braves rally that tied the game. Atlanta later won in the 10th on a Chris Johnson home run.

Mike McGinnis

I guess we'll talk about the big story first. Jason Heyward was hit in the jaw with a Jon Niese fastball with two outs in the sixth inning. Heyward was on the ground for a little while, but he was able to leave the field under his own power. He appeared to be bleeding from the mouth as he walked off the field, so Heyward's injury is probably one regarding the face/jaw and not the head/brain. We'll probably hear more about his condition after he is evaluated at a hospital later today.

The Mets were leading 1-0 at the time of Heyward injury on the strength of a Josh Satin solo home run in the fourth inning. However, the score would not hold for long. After Jordan Schafer stepped in to run for Heyward, Andrelton Simmons and Freddie Freeman hit singles off of Niese to tie the game. Niese recovered to strike out Chris Johnson and end the threat, but the Mets would never strike back.

New York would come oh so close to victory in the ninth inning, though. With one out and Luis Avilan on the mound, Justin Turner lofted a fly ball to right-center field that looked like easy pickings for left fielder Joey Terdoslavich, but the rookie took a strange route to the ball and it fell in for a double. The mistake was even more jarring because Terdoslavich made a great, albeit awkward, over-the-shoulder catch to rob Daniel Murphy of an RBI double back in the fifth.

Now with a runner in scoring position, Wilmer Flores could only manage to ground out to second and move Turner over to third. The next batter John Buck was curiously chosen to be intentionally walked by Braves skipper Fredi Gonzalez. Sure, conventional wisdom says that the Braves should force the rookie Travis d'Arnaud (up next as a pinch-hitter) to beat them, but conventional wisdom also says that Buck is batting below .220 for the season (and only .175 against lefties like Avilan). But just like no good deed goes unpunished, this silly move went unpunished.

d'Arnaud walked to load the bases for Juan Lagares, who could only ground into a fielder's choice. We were off to extra innings for the 17th time this season.

Fortunately for the sanity of Mets fans, this one did not last too long. Scott Atchison got the first two batters out in the 10th, but after Simmons singled, Terry Collins decided to bring in Scott Rice to pitch to Freeman. This turned out to be a good decision, as Freeman hit a ground ball back to the mound, but the story doesn't end there. Freeman's grounder was hit hard enough that Rice could not field it cleanly. The pitcher deflected the ball behind the mound and chased after it before making a barehanded pickup and throw to first.

The play at the bag was as close as they come, and umpire Jerry Layne said Freeman was safe at first. Replay showed that Freeman was actually out by an extremely slim margin, but that wouldn't have mattered if not for what happened next. Greg Burke was brought in to pitch to to Johnson and he promptly let up a three-run home run to left field. Now further incensed by the previous play, Murphy appeared to say something to Layne after the home run, and he was ejected from the game.

After Murphy was run off, Collins came back to argue the call for a second time, apparently on a mission to hit the showers a little early. He accomplished that mission, getting tossed after throwing his hat at Layne's feet.

Craig Kimbrel finished off the Mets in the ninth in a game that was set up nicely by fine pitching performances by Niese and Alex Wood. Niese struck out nine batters while walking three in seven innings and some would have you know that he would have allowed zero runs if not for being "shook up" by the Heyward beaning. Wood continued his marvelous rookie season with four strikeouts and two walks in six innings.

Also fun about this game was a great play made by Juan Lagares in the fourth inning to throw out Simmons at second base on a single to left-center field. Lagares cut off the ball in the gap and made a brilliant throw to the keystone without hesitation. Simmons would later get revenge with a slick over-the-shoulder catch to rob Turner of a bloop hit in the sixth.

The Mets get a day off (what's that?) on Thursday before taking on the Tigers over the weekend. Carlos Torres and Doug Fister will be your starters on Friday night.

SB Nation Coverage

* Amazin' Avenue Gamethread
* Talking Chop Gamethread

Win Probability Added

(What's this?)

Big winners: Jon Niese +24.7%, Josh Satin +12.9%, LaTroy Hawkins +12.5%
Big losers: Greg Burke -48.4%, Juan Lagares -15.8%, Andrew Brown -13.8%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Josh Satin's solo home run in the fourth +13.9%
Teh sux0rest play: Chris Johnson's three-run homer in the 10th, -48.5%
Total pitcher WPA: +0.5%
Total batter WPA: -50.5%
GWRBI!: Chris Johnson's three-run homer in the 10th