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Mets beat Braves as Vargas and the bullpen shine

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The Mets got out of Atlanta with a much-needed win in the series finale.

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

If you thought the Mets were entering their series finale on Wednesday night in Atlanta with zero chance of beating the Braves, you weren’t alone. But you were wrong.

WIN, 4-1

After a four-game series that got off to a promising start in Milwaukee over the weekend, the Mets went to Atlanta to play four games in three days—weather barely permitting. Between the first of their three straight losses in Milwaukee and the last game in Atlanta, they had lost at least four games that they absolutely could have won. But they didn’t win those games and risked falling below .500 in the finale that featured Jason Vargas starting opposite longtime Mets nemesis Julio Teheran.

The results of the game were unexpected, to say the least. Teheran was good, as anyone would have predicted, but he was not quite flawless. Vargas was only given five innings, but he was spectacular in them, holding the Braves scoreless with a pair of strikeouts, one walk, and just two hits allowed.

Although they had just a 1-0 lead when Vargas was removed from the game after the fifth, the Mets turned to Tim Peterson, who made his major league debut, to pitch the sixth. He did so successfully and efficiently, and he wound up pitching the seventh, too. Fortunately, the Mets had gotten their second run of the night on a Brandon Nimmo single in the top of that inning, as Peterson gave up a solo home run to Johan Camargo.

The Mets tacked on a run in the eighth on an Adrian Gonzalez single, and way back in the fourth, it had been Gonzalez who plated the first run of the game with a ground rule double. And they scored their fourth and final run of the game on a Brandon Nimmo double, which was smoked to right field and plated Amed Rosario, the same runner who scored on his single in the seventh.

Mickey Callaway pulled the right strings with his bullpen moves late in the game too, including the one to put Peterson in a tight spot in his big league debut. After he threw his pair of innings, Jeurys Familia took over to face the Braves’ best hitters in the bottom of the eighth with the Mets up by just two—something that sounded like it would happen more often this season than it had coming into the game but was good to see nonetheless.

Familia wasn’t perfect. He got into a first-and-third jam with just one out and Nick Markakis, who’s been hitting way better than his career norms, up at the plate. But when Markakis hit a sharp ground ball up the middle, Amed Rosario got to it, corralled it, and got it to Asdrubal Cabrera, who made an incredibly smooth turn to get the out at first and end the Braves’ threat with a big time double play.

All of that set things up for Robert Gsellman to pitch the ninth in a traditional save situation, and he retired the side in order to secure the Mets’ very important win.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Jason Vargas, +29.7% WPA, Adrian Gonzalez, +12.7% WPA, Brandon Nimmo, +12.2% WPA
Big losers: none
Teh aw3s0mest play: Nick Markakis hits into an inning-ending double play in the eighth, +21.1% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Johan Camargo hits a solo home run in the seventh, -13.5% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +48.4% WPA
Total batter WPA: +1.6% WPA
GWRBI!: Brandon Nimmo