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Mets come back to beat Braves, extend winning streak to six

The Mets turned a four-run deficit into a win.

MLB: New York Mets at Atlanta Braves Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

For most of Friday night, it felt like the Mets were on their way to a ho-hum loss at Turner Field that would end their winning streak at five. Robert Gsellman struggled a bit, particularly in the fifth inning, and Julio Teheran was cruising for the Braves. But that all changed quickly, and the Mets extended their winning streak to six games.

Gsellman gave up four runs on seven hits in five innings of work, the first of which scored when Matt Kemp—who is a Brave now, a transaction you may have understandably missed—hit a solo home run in second inning. He kept Atlanta off the board in the third and fourth, but a combination of four singles and a walk led to three Braves runs in the fifth. With the score 4-0 and runners on first and third, Gsellman struck out Tyler Flowers to stop the bleeding. It was his sixth strikeout of the night and the last out of his start. With that start in the books, Gsellman has a 3.92 ERA and 3.58 FIP through his first 20.2 innings in the big leagues.

As for the Mets’ comeback, it began with two outs and nobody on base in the sixth inning. Yoenis Cespedes smoked a single up the middle, and it hit Teheran’s right arm along the way. He stayed in the game, but he served up a two-run home run to the scorching-hot Curtis Granderson, who had already homered in three-straight games coming into the night. It’s been a down year for Granderson compared to his incredible 2015 campaign, but that was his 26th home run of the year, and he’s up to a .228/.322/.454 line with a 108 wRC+ now in 2016.

While there weren’t any reports of an injury to Teheran, he had thrown 97 pitches by the time the sixth inning was over and was pulled in favor of the bullpen in the seventh. And the Mets’ deficit remained at two heading into that inning thanks to a great outing by Josh Smoker, who inherited a first-and-third, nobody-out scenario from Jim Henderson and quickly got a strikeout and a ground ball double play to end the inning.

The Mets didn’t get to Ian Krol in the seventh, but the Braves didn’t get to Hansel Robles in the bottom of the inning, either, even though he walked two batters. But the Mets got to youngster Mauricio Cabrera, who had a 2.23 ERA in his first 32.1 innings in the big leagues coming into the game. Alejandro De Aza pinch hit for Robles to begin the inning and drew a walk. Jose Reyes hit a tailor-made double play ball to shortstop Dansby Swanson, but he booted it and didn’t record any outs. The Mets took full advantage.

Asdrubal Cabrera walked. Cespedes hit a sacrifice fly to right field, which wasn’t even particularly well hit but still traveled far enough that it seemed for a second like it might have a shot at being a grand slam anyway. Still, with the Mets down by one, Granderson came up next and lofted a single into left field to tie the game. With Cabrera, a right-handed pitcher, still on the mound, Terry Collins opted for Kelly Johnson as a pinch hitter for Wilmer Flores, and as has very often been the case since his return to the Mets, Johnson delivered, this time with a double to right field that gave the Mets a 5-4 lead and runners on second and third with just one out.

The Braves had Cabrera intentionally walk Jay Bruce to load the bases before pulling him from the game. Jose Ramirez took over, hit pinch hitter Michael Conforto with a pitch to score the Mets’ sixth run, and struck out Travis d’Arnaud and De Aza to put an end to the inning.

Luckily for the Mets, the fact that they didn’t blow the game open at that point didn’t matter in the end. Addison Reed allowed just a single in a scoreless eighth inning, and Jeurys Familia gave up a leadoff double but struck out Freddie Freeman—who’s having perhaps the best season of his career after a dreadful start to it—and retired Kemp on a ground ball, walked Nick Markakis, and struck out Flowers to end the game. Considering how great Freeman has been for the past several months, it was an impressive night for Mets pitchers who faced him. Gsellman struck him out twice before giving up a single to him in the aforementioned three-run fifth inning.

That feeling from earlier in the game—that it would just be a routine loss—seemed like a pretty silly idea in the end.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Curtis Granderson, +40.8% WPA, Kelly Johnson, +19.5% WPA, Asdrubal Cabrera, +16.1% WPA
Big losers: Wilmer Flores, -19.5% WPA, Robert Gsellman, -15.2% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Curtis Granderson hits a game-tying single in the eighth, +24.3% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Wilmer Flores grounds into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the first, -14.7% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +5.6% WPA
Total batter WPA: +44.4% WPA
GWRBI!: Kelly Johnson