It felt like another game in the house of horrors known as Turner Field, but the Mets pulled out their second win in three games at the home of the Braves on Thursday evening. After starting the season by getting swept by the Washington Nationals, the Mets have now taken two of three games in back-to-back series and find themselves 4-5 on the season.
Eric Young Jr. got the night off to a good start, as he singled on a line drive, stole second base, and advanced to third on a terrible throw by Braves catcher Ryan Doumit. Daniel Murphy followed up that sequence of events with a rather unexciting ground out, but Young scored the game’s first run on the play. That was it for the Mets in the first despite a couple of walks later in the inning, but it was a perfectly decent start.
Jenrry Mejia walked Jason Heyward on four pitches to begin the bottom of the first, but he got through the inning unscathed on a pair of fly outs and an inning-ending strikeout of Chris Johnson.
The Mets went down in order in the top of the second, and Mejia ran into trouble when Justin Upton ran into his cutter, driving it over the right field fence for a game-tying solo home run. Mejia then walked Dan Uggla and threw a wild pitch that advanced him to second, but he induced three straight ground outs to keep the game tied.
Eric Young Jr. led off the third inning with a bunt single, and he stole second base again while Daniel Murphy was at the plate. Murphy drew a walk, and David Wright singled to plate Young, giving the Mets the lead again. And after a Curtis Granderson strikeout, Ike Davis grounded out to the pitcher, but Murphy was able to score. After two-and-a-half innings, the Mets were up 3-1.
Facing Heyward for the second time, Mejia struck him out to begin the bottom of the third, but things went awry after that. B.J. Upton hit a fairly routine fly ball to right field, but Curtis Granderson lost it in the lights. The ball fell to the ground behind him, and Upton was credited with a triple. Freddie Freeman drove in Upton with a single, and he advanced to second on another Mejia wild pitch. Chris Johnson struck out again—he looked thoroughly baffled by Mejia in their matchups—but Justin Upton followed him with a monster home run that put the Braves ahead 4-3. Mejia struck out Dan Uggla to end the inning, but the game was not looking great.
Neither team scored in the fourth, but sticking with the theme of the night, Eric Young got things started again in the fifth. This time, he hit a triple over to deep center field, which B.J. Upton got a piece of but couldn’t quite catch. Daniel Murphy singled to tie the game, but the inning actually wound up feeling like a disappointment. After loading the bases with one out, the Mets were unable to score again as the Braves pulled starter David Hale in favor of relief pitcher Anthony Varvaro, who struck out Juan Lagares and got Travis d’Arnaud to ground out to end the inning.
Mejia worked through a scoreless bottom of the fifth, but that was the end of his night as he had thrown nearly 100 pitches. In total, Mejia allowed four runs in his five innings of work. He struck out seven but walked four and gave up the aforementioned home runs. So while it wasn't a great start for Mejia, there were at least a few bright spots.
The Mets went down in order in the top of the sixth, and Carlos Torres took the mound in the bottom half of the inning. After giving up a leadoff single to Ramiro Pena, Torres made a great play on a pop-up bunt by pinch hitter Jordan Schafer, allowing the ball to drop in front of him before throwing to first for the force out and allowing the Mets’ infield to retire Pena in a rundown. And he retired Jason Heyward to end the inning.
So the game went to the seventh inning still tied. Murphy singled, Wright struck out, and Murphy moved up to second on a wild pitch. As Curtis Granderson drew a walk, Murphy took a chance but succeeded in stealing third base. With runners on the corners and one out, Ike Davis popped up. Juan Lagares, who had been retired in each of his first three plate appearances, singled to the opposite field to plate Murphy and give the Mets a lead they would not relinquish.
Carlos Torres came back out for the seventh inning and struck out the side in order. His two innings of excellent work were probably the most important performance of and player on the Mets in the game.
The Mets tacked on a run in the eighth, to boot. After a pinch hit single by Lucas Duda to begin the inning, Eric Young grounded into a fielder’s choice that retired Duda. But he stole second base yet again and scored easily on a Daniel Murphy double. The Mets were up 6-4.
Kyle Farnsworth took over for Torres in the bottom of the eighth and got three straight ground outs. Though the Mets didn’t score in the ninth, it didn’t matter, as Jose Valverde came in for the save opportunity and also set the Braves down in order, sealing the series victory for the good guys.
The Mets begin a three-game series in "Los Angeles" tomorrow night in Anaheim against the Angels at 10:05 pm EDT. Dillon Gee gets the start for the Mets, while Tyler Skaggs starts for the Angels.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Daniel Murphy, +37.3% WPA, Eric Young Jr., +28.6% WPA, Carlos Torres, +16.9% WPA, David Wright, +13.7% WPA
Big losers: Jenrry Mejia, -27.2% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Juan Lagares’s go-ahead sigle in the seventh, +20.8% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Justin Upton’s go-ahead home run in the third, -25.1% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +4.5% WPA
Total batter WPA: +45.5% WPA
GWRBI!: Juan Lagares, on his go-ahead single in the seventh