Sunday, April 12, 2015

Braves improve to 5-0 after holding off Mets

 The Braves remained perfect with the assistance of a four-run fifth inning that doomed Dillon Gee and provided enough cushion to overcome the sudden seventh-inning struggles Julio Teheran encountered during Saturday night's 5-3 win over the Mets at Turner Field.
After Alberto CallaspoChristian Bethancourt and Andrelton Simmonsrecorded three consecutive doubles to begin the fifth against Gee, Eric Young Jr. delivered a triple that put him in position to score on Nick Markakis' RBI single. The resulting five-run advantage appeared to be more than enough for Teheran, who had surrendered just one hit before allowing each of the first five batters he faced in the seventh to reach safely.
"It's always nice to get a lead early," said Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, who began the bottom of the second with a homer of Gee. "It gives the pitcher a little more relaxation, knowing that he doesn't have to be perfect the whole time."
The Braves, who are 5-0 for the first time since winning seven straight to open the 1994 season, allowed the Mets to tally three seventh-inning runs with the help of a Callaspo error and Teheran's errant final pitch that hit Travis d'Arnaud with the bases loaded. Brandon Cunniff induced a key double play in the seventh and Jim Johnson notched his first save with a scoreless ninth.
"We'd love to be sitting where they're sitting right now," third baseman David Wright said of the Mets, who fell to 2-3. "That's a nice way to start the season, that's for sure."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Contact kills: After totaling three hits through the first four innings, the Braves recorded four extra-base hits within a span of five plate appearances in the fifth. Each of the five hits recorded during the inning went to right field, including consecutive opposite-field doubles recorded by Bethancourt and Simmons. After Bethancourt and Simmons slipped their doubles past the first base bag, Young Jr. did the same with a triple. More >
Gee struggles in debut: Named the fifth starter late in camp, Gee held the Braves to nothing more than a Freeman solo homer before caving to their fifth-inning hit parade. Though Gee managed to complete five innings, he gave up five runs on eight hits in total. More >
Teheran's sudden trouble: Teheran was not the same after he landed awkwardly while avoiding Lucas Duda's leadoff single in the seventh. The Braves right-hander, who appeared to tweak his right knee, walked the next two batters (Michael Cuddyer and Daniel Murphy) before watching helplessly as Callaspo did not record an out on Juan Lagares' grounder. Teheran did not walk with a limp after ending his odd night by plunking d'Arnaud with the bases loaded. More >
Mets make it interesting: Held to one hit over the first six innings, the Mets rallied after Duda singled to open the eighth. Two walks, a fielding error and a hit batsman brought home two runs, before Wilmer Flores hit into a 6-4-3 double play -- bringing a third man home, but spoiling the rally in the process.
"A lot of times, the best pitch you're going to get will be the first one," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "And he hit it hard. That's why I didn't say anything. He smoked it, and just hit it at somebody."
QUOTABLE
"I'm going to keep harping on the team chemistry. We enjoy coming to the stadium to play with each other. That inning we strung together some runs, showed it's everybody following suit. The guy in front of them got them excited and you come to the plate wanting to do something similar." -- Young
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Freeman's second-inning solo shot off Gee was the 14th home run he has hit through his first 74 games against the Mets. But he is a little off the pace of Atlanta's original "Mets killer," Chipper Jones, who totaled 20 homers through his first 74 games against the Mets.
TWO 'PEN TALES
With Jenrry Mejia serving an 80-game suspension for performance-enhancing drug use, the Mets plan to use Jeurys Familia as their closer for the immediate future. Bobby Parnell could factor into the mix for saves once he returns from the disabled list in early May.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez proved he is willing to use both of his former closers to close games. After Jason Grilli recorded his third save on Friday night, he was rested on Saturday as Johnson proved successful with his first save opportunity. More >
WHAT'S NEXT
Mets: John Mayberry Jr., who homered in Friday night's game, should be back in the lineup Saturday against another lefty. The Mets will start right-handerBartolo Colon in their 1:35 p.m. ET series finale against the Braves.
Braves: Alex Wood will attempt to begin this season with two straight wins when he starts Sunday's series finale against the Mets. Freeman has six hits, including three doubles, in 10 career at-bats against Colon.

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