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Mets vs. Braves Recap: After a long, long game, Mets are .500 again

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It took fourteen innings, but the Mets beat the Braves on Sunday afternoon to even their record at 9-9 for the season.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Today's matchup between the Braves and Mets featured its fair share of oddities, but it ended on a walk-off sacrifice fly by Curtis Granderson in the bottom of the fourteenth.

The Mets struck first in the bottom of the first inning. An error by Justin Upton allowed Eric Young Jr. to reach second to lead off the game. A fly ball by Curtis Granderson moved Young over to third, and a David Wright ground out plated him.

The Mets would score again in the second, again capitalizing on poor defense by the Braves. Lucas Duda started the inning with a one-out single. Anthony Recker followed with another single, putting runners on the corners. A walk by Ruben Tejada loaded the bases, bringing up Zack Wheeler, who hit a slow grounder to Dan Uggla. The second baseman bobbled the ball on the transfer, allowing a run to score and Wheeler to reach first base safely. With the bases still loaded, Eric Young Jr. popped out and Curtis Granderson grounded out, squandering an opportunity to open up a big early lead.

Things began to fall apart in the fifth inning. The inning started off with a lead-off walk to Gerald Laird. He was erased at second on a poor bunt by pitcher David Hale, but Jason Heyward then hit a ground ball right along the first base line. In an effort to outdo the Braves’ poor defense, Curtis Granderson scooped up the ball and promptly threw it somewhere between third base and home. The ball somehow went into the Braves’ dugout. That allowed Hale to score and advanced Heyward to third.

B.J. Upton drove in Heyward with a hard-hit double, and Freddie Freeman followed suit with a ground rule double, driving in Upton and giving the Braves their first lead of the game. Justin Upton struck out and Chris Johnson hit an easy fly ball to end the inning, but the damage had already been done.

Not to be outdone by Granderson, the Braves defense again allowed the Mets to score in the sixth. David Wright opened up the frame with a single. Daniel Murphy followed with a single of his own, advancing Wright to third. Chris Young struck out, setting up the fear of a double play with a ground ball pitcher on the mound. It looked like Lucas Duda would bring about just such a double play, hitting a weak, extremely routine grounder up the middle directly at Dan Uggla. Instead of turning the double play, the ball went between Uggla's legs for his second error of the day, allowing Wright to score and Murphy to advance to third. Anthony Recker struck out for out number two, and Omar Quintanilla then walked to load the bases. Josh Satin was brought in to pinch hit for Wheeler, in an attempt to break the game open. Unfortunately, he was unable to take advantage of the opportunity, popping out in foul territory to leave the bases loaded.

Wheeler finished the day with a final line of six innings pitched, six strikeouts, three walks, six hits, and three earned runs. In the top of the seventh, the Braves also pulled their starter, so the final line for Hale was six innings, five strikeouts, two walks, six hits, and two earned runs.

The Braves threatened to re-take the lead in the seventh. Gonzalez Germen entered the game in relief of Wheeler and gave up a pinch-hit single to Jordan Schaffer. Jason Heyward followed with a single to put runners on the corners. Germen induced a weak pop up from B.J. Upton to record the first out, at which point Terry Collins went to Scott Rice to face Freddie Freeman. The decision worked in the Mets’ favor, as Rice induced a double play ground ball from Freeman to end the inning.

Carlos Torres came in to pitch a clean eighth and ninth inning, giving the Mets an opportunity to win the game in walk-off fashion. Ruben Tejada, pinch hitting for Torres,collected a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth. The Mets were unable to capitalize on the baserunner, though, with Granderson grounding out weakly for the final out of the inning, taking the game to extra innings.

In the tenth, Kyle Farnsworth came on to hold the tie, and Justin Upton crushed a two-out triple on a poor read by Young in center field. Terry Collins used his challenge, asserting that the ball bounced above the orange line on the outfield wall and should have resulted in a ground rule double. Replays clearly showed that the challenge was futile, and Upton remained at third base. This marked the first time Collins had been unsuccessful in a challenge. But Farnsworth induced a shallow fly out to escape the jam.

In the bottom of the 10th, David Wright led off the inning by collecting his fourth hit of the day, a single up the middle. The rest of the Mets’ offense was unable to move him over, with Daniel Murphy flying out and Chris Young and Lucas Duda striking out to end the inning.

Pitching on back-to-back days for the first time in the big leagues, Daisuke Matsuzaka came in for the eleventh, and promptly walked Dan Uggla. He settled in nicely after that, striking out the side in order. He was similarly impressive in the twelfth, striking out two more in another scoreless frame. And believe it or not, he threw a scoreless thirteenth, too. In total, Matsuzaka struck out five, walked one, and didn’t allow any hits in three innings of work.

The Mets’ offense wasn’t able to do much to that point, and Jose Valverde, stripped of his status as the team’s closer after last night’s game, came in to toss a scoreless fourteenth. The Mets’ lineup finally took advantage.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis drew a leadoff walk with Gus Schlosser on the mound. Ruben Tejada sacrifice bunted him to second. And the Braves opted to intentionally walk Eric Young Jr. to pitch to Curtis Granderson. Both baserunners advanced on a wild pitch by Schlosser, and Granderson followed up with a fly ball to left field, hit deep enough to score Nieuwenhuis easily for the win.

The Mets are back at .500, and they begin a four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals at 7:10 pm EDT on Monday at Citi Field.

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Win Probability Added

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Big winners: Daisuke Matsuzaka, +35.0% WPA, Lucas Duda, +21.6% WPA, Scott Rice, +21.1% WPA, Carlos Torres, +21.0% WPA, David Wright, +18.8% WPA, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, +18.0% WPA, Kyle Farnsworth, +11.7% WPA, Jose Valverde, +11.7% WPA
Big losers: Chris Young, -23.9% WPA, Anthony Recker, -23.8% WPA, Zack Wheeler, -17.0% WPA, Gonzalez Germen, -13.2% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Scott Rice gets Freeman to ground into a double play in the seventh, +21.1% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jason Heyward’s go-ahead double in the fifth, -19.3% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +70.2% WPA
Total batter WPA: -20.2% WPA
GWRBI!: Curtis Granderson