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Mets vs. Braves Recap: Matsuzaka throws seven scoreless, Mets eventually walk Braves off

The Mets took the first game of a four-game series with the Braves at Citi Field.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

If the Mets are to attain relevance this season, they basically have to go on a run this week against the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins. On Monday night, they got off to a good start with an eleven-inning win against the Braves in the first game of a four-game series. With the win, they’re still nine games out of first place, but that clearly beats the alternative.

For a while, it seemed like the Mets’ victory would go fairly easily. While Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed a bunch of baserunners in his start, he kept the Braves off the board in seven innings of work. And the Mets had a two-run lead by the time he left the game, to boot.

With two outs in the second inning, first baseman Eric Campbell was on first base and ran on a pitch to Travis d’Arnaud, who doubled to easily bring Campbell home. It’s been very encouraging to see d’Arnaud hit the way he has since coming back from his stint with the Las Vegas 51s, which is not to say that he is the hitter that he has been since then, but that he’s clearly been better than he was before his demotion and recall. And with two outs in the third inning, David Wright took Mike Minor deep for a solo home run, which gave the Mets a 2-0 lead that held until the eighth.

In that inning, however, the Mets’ bullpen—which has really been quite good lately—turned the two-run lead into a one-run deficit. Vic Black came on to pitch the inning, but after recording an out, he gave up a double, which really could have been a single if not for Chris Young’s misplay in the left-center field gap, to Freddie Freeman. After a ground out that allowed Freeman to move to third, Terry Collins turned to Josh Edgin.

The 27-year-old lefty got off to a bad start, as he threw a pitch over the head of Jason Heyward and Freeman scored from third without a play at the plate. Once Heyward singled, Collins went back to the bullpen and summoned Jenrry Mejia, who gave up a game-tying double to Chris Johnson to begin his outing. Collins opted to intentionally walk Tommy La Stella, but the move did not work. Christian Bethancourt followed up the free pass with a go-ahead single, on which Eric Campbell cut off a throw from Curtis Granderson—very likely the right move—to throw out the runner at third. That allowed the run to score, but there was little chance that Granderson’s throw would have gotten to home plate in time to get the out there instead.

A couple of quick outs into the bottom of the eighth, Curtis Granderson hit a game-tying solo home run against Braves relief pitcher Luis Avilan. That was it for the scoring in the inning, but the Mets were still in the game and sent Mejia back out for a scoreless ninth.

In the bottom of the inning, things got a bit wacky. Campbell led off with a single, and Juan Lagares bunted too hard as he tried to move Campbell over. The Braves seemingly retired Campbell at second base on the botched bunt, but a replay review of the play deemed Campbell safe since Andrelton Simmons fielded the ball more like a first baseman—and came off the bag before catching it—than like a middle infielder trying to turn a double play. Although the review took a few minutes and got Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez ejected from the game, Major League Baseball stood by the ruling in its postgame comment.

From there, Lucas Duda and d’Arnaud each fielded into a fielder’s choice, both of which resulted in an out at third base. But after Ruben Tejada drew a walk, Eric Young Jr. came up and grounded out to end the inning.

Carlos Torres took over for the tenth and went on to retire six of the seven Braves hitters he faced in two innings of scoreless work. The Mets didn’t take advantage of his great work in the tenth, but they finally scored again in the eleventh.

After a Campbell ground out, Juan Lagares doubled, and the Braves intentionally walked Duda. Lagares tagged up and got to third on a long fly out by d’Arnaud, but he scored with ease on Ruben Tejada’s game-winning single.

SB Nation GameThreads

* Amazin' Avenue GameThread
* Talking Chop GameThread

Win Probability Added

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Big winners: Curtis Granderson, +38.8% WPA, Ruben Tejada, +36.3% WPA, Daisuke Matsuzaka, +36.1% WPA, Carlos Torres, +23.3% WPA, Juan Lagares, +16.9% WPA
Big losers: Jenrry Mejia, -45.2% WPA, Eric Young Jr., -18.8% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Ruben Tejada’s game-winning single, +37.6% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Chris Johnson’s game-tying double in the eighth, -31.1% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +8.3% WPA
Total batter WPA: +41.7% WPA
GWRBI!: Ruben Tejada