The Mets gained a split of their four-game series with the Braves, beating Atlanta in the finale in a Citi Field matinee on Thursday.
If Zack Wheeler is working on throwing fewer pitches so he can go deeper into games, it didn’t work in the first inning. He allowed a one-out double to Reed Johnson. After striking out Justin Upton, Wheeler walked Freddie Freeman. He then struck out Evan Gattis with a pitch in the dirt to seemingly end the inning. But John Buck tried to backhand the pitch instead of getting in front of it and it skipped by him. His throw to first hit Gattis. Johnson scored on the play to give the Braves a 1-0 lead. It was scored a wild pitch for Wheeler and a throwing error on Buck. Wheeler then struck out Dan Uggla. He ended up throwing more than 30 pitches in the inning, and that just won’t do.
The Mets took the lead in the third. Eric Young led off with an infield single. Daniel Murphy singled to put runners on first and second with no outs. David Wright flew out to center, deep enough to allow Young to advance to third. Marlon Byrd singled to score Young to tie the game at one. Gattis, in left field, bobbled the ball, and Murphy and Byrd advanced to second and third on the error. Josh Satin walked to load the bases. Justin Turner hit a slow roller to second. The only play was to first to score Murphy to make it 2-1. With runners on second and third with two outs, Buck singled to left to score two as the Mets extended their lead to 4-1.
Wheeler gave most of the lead back in the fourth. A single and an Uggla home run made it a 4-3 game.
Freeman tied the game at four in the sixth inning with a solo home run.
But the Mets took the lead back in the bottom of the inning. Andrew Brown doubled and moved to third on a wild pitch. Murphy got a single past the drawn-in infield to make it a 5-4 game. Wright hit a long drive to left center that bounced on the warning track. It hit the railing over the wall and bounced back onto the field. Reed Johnson called it a ground rule double and didn’t play the ball. However the umpires did not make the official call and Wright raced to third while Murphy scored to make it 6-4. Braves manager Fredie Gonzalez argued and got thrown out of the game even though he was right — replays cleared showed the umps blew the call. With one out Josh Satin was intentionally walked. Buck doubled with two outs to drive in Wright to give the Mets a 7-4 lead.
Zack Wheeler was done after six innings and 95 pitches. He allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits, with five strikeouts and two walks. He is now a somewhat deceptive 4-1 on the season with a 3.79 ERA.
Mets win 7-4. Now it’s onto Washington for a four-game set with the Nationals. I’ll be there for the game on Sunday, live tweeting photos from around the stadium.