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Mets vs. Braves Recap: The secret to beating the Braves is a former Brave

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Kelly Johnson provided all of the Mets’ offense with a solo home run in the eleventh.

New York Mets v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Mets defeated the Braves 1-0 in eleven innings on Saturday night at Turner Field to pull within two games of the Nationals for the division lead.

This was a rematch of last Sunday’s game at Citi Field, in which starter Julio Teheran helped complete the sweep of the Mets by pitching a one-hit shutout. Jacob deGrom was unhappy with his performance in that game and was looking to improve this time around.

Asdrubal Cabrera made sure the Mets at least matched their hit total against Teheran when he bunted for a base hit in the first. Neil Walker hit a ball that Nick Markakis was able to run down right in front of the wall to end the inning and keep Teheran’s scoreless streak in tact against the Mets.

deGrom’s first inning of work did not go smoothly, either. With one out, he walked Ender Inciarte, who moved up to second on a wild pitch. Terry Collins challenged the call on the field, but after review, the call was upheld. deGrom was able to get out of the inning when Markakis flied out to right.

The Mets were able to get a bit of a rally going in the second when they had first and third with two outs. deGrom had a chance to take matters into his own hands and drive in a run, but he grounded back to Teheran to end the inning and end the threat.

In the second, deGrom got the first of three inning-ending double plays. Erick Aybar grounded out for the first one. Then Jace Peterson hit one in the third, and Adonis Garcia followed with one in the fourth.

The Mets had their own rally stopped in the third when after Curtis Granderson was hit by a pitch and Yoenis Cespedes hit a ball that found a hole through the infield. The throw came into third, where Granderson was safe. Cespedes attempted to move to second on the throw but was thrown out because he has been hesitant to slide with his hip, wrist, leg, and ankle ailments and didn’t slide on the player and he didn’t hustle out of the box. Now Granderson was on third with two outs, and Walker flew out to end the inning.

That was pretty much it for any offense the Mets could put together against Teheran. He went into cruise control and did not allow another baserunner until the eighth when Granderson singled and stole second. Teheran then struck out Cabrera to finish the inning.

Fortunately for the Mets, deGrom was able to keep pace with Teheran this time. The biggest Braves threat came in the sixth when they loaded the bases on three singles by Teheran, Inciarte, and Markakis. With Teheran being the lead runner, the Braves did not want to take any chances on close plays at the plate, so they held him at third when Markakis singled. This decision proved to be huge since the next batter, Garcia, hit a shot to third Wilmer Flores was able to handle to get the final out of the inning and keep the game scoreless.

deGrom seemed to get stronger after that inning. He pitched a clean seventh and Terry Collins stuck with him in the eighth. This was the first time this year he went eight, and he finished the night strong with a strikeout of Inciarte. deGrom’s final line was eight solid innings and six strikeouts. He lowered his ERA to 2.67, and maybe someday the Mets will score a run—or possibly even two—for him.

Now with the two brilliant starters out of the game it was left to the bullpens to keep the game tied. The Mets turned to Jerry Blevins and Addison Reed for the ninth, even though Reed tends to struggle when he doesn’t start an inning. He had no such problems and was actually dominant in both the ninth and the tenth innings.

The Mets attempted to play small ball in the tenth but it backfired on them when Alejandro De Aza was mad at himself for popping up a bunt. Reliever Jim Johnson realized De Aza wasn’t running so he let the ball drop and turned a relatively easy double play.

So it was on to the eleventh when Kelly Johnson came up to bat to pinch hit for Reed. Former Met Dario Alvarez was on the mound and the former Brave laced a ball to right that just cleared the wall and finally broke the scoreless tie.

That was all Jeurys Familia was given to work with as he came out for his 26th consecutive save. Things didn’t start well for Familia, who gave up a leadoff single to Peterson. Inciarte sacrificed him over to second, and with first base open the Mets intentionally walked known Met-killer Freddie Freeman. Markakis, who had been seeing the ball well all night, was up next and hit a comebacker to Familia for the fourth inning-ending double play of the night.

It is never easy at Turner Field, but Kelly Johnson came up big against his former team.

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Box Scores

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Win Probability Added

Big winners: Jacob deGrom +52.7%, Kelly Johnson +34.8%, Addison Reed +25.6%, Jeurys Familia +18.5%
Big losers: Neil Walker -27.4%, Alejandro de Aza -23.9%, Asdrubal Cabrera -13.3%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Kelly Johnson home run in 11th
Teh sux0rest play: Freddie Freeman single in 9th
Total pitcher WPA: +97.0%
Total batter WPA: -47.0%
GWRBI!: Kelly Johnson