Daniel Murphy's eighth-inning sacrifice fly halted the early-season dominance of Atlanta's bullpen and, more importantly, allowed the Mets to avoid a three-game sweep with Sunday afternoon's 4-3 win over the Braves at Turner Field.
"It's really important for us," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "It's nice to go home on a good note."
After Juan Jaime walked the first two batters he faced and then intentionally walked Ruben Tejada following Wilmer Flores' sacrifice bunt, left-handed reliever Andrew McKirahan entered to throw the first pitch of his career with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth. Murphy greeted McKirahan with the decisive sacrifice fly that scored Curtis Granderson in uncontested fashion.
The Braves had won each of their previous five games of this season with the help of a bullpen that entered Sunday having not allowed a run in 18 innings. Jaime's latest battle with command erased the momentum the hosts had gained when Jonny Gomes hit a game-tying homer off Bartolo Colon in the seventh inning.
"Six games in and we get our first loss on an 0-2 sac fly," Gomes said. "162-0, I don't think we were banking on that."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Two-out production: After Alberto Callaspo extended the second inning with a two-out single, Simmons turned on Colon's first-pitch fastball and sent it into the left-center-field gap for a two-run triple. The Braves' shortstop had gone hitless in his other six at-bats this year with two outs.
Who needs a helmet? Colon's seven innings of three-run ball may be what kept the Mets in the game, but his first RBI hit in nearly a decade was what drew the ravest reviews. The 41-year-old lost his helmet in a flailing attempt to hit an Alex Wood fastball in the fourth inning, somehow turning it into a go-ahead RBI single. More >
Wood's escape: Wood induced a double play after allowing hits, including Colon's RBI single, to two of the first three batters he faced in the fourth and then escaped unscathed after allowing consecutive singles to begin the fifth. Wood didn't have his best stuff as he allowed three runs over 6 2/3 innings. Most of his damage came courtesy of Michael Cuddyer's two-run homer, which was hit two pitches after plate umpire Marvin Hudson's ruling on a 1-2 fastball. More >
All in the Familia: With Jenrry Mejia serving the second game of his 80-game performance-enhancing drug suspension, Jeurys Familia retired the final two batters in the ninth for his first save of the season. Familia had been serving as the Mets' closer anyway, with Mejia on the disabled list, but had not seen a save opportunity. He was emotional upon learning about the suspension of Mejia, his countryman and best friend on the team. More >
QUOTABLES "They got those two [first-inning] runs with two outs. That's just bad baseball and bad pitching by me. When you get two outs early in the game, you can't get yourself into trouble like that. That was frustrating for me from that standpoint." -- Wood, on his outing
"Briefly. But then my brain kicked in and I decided that wouldn't be a very good idea." -- Collins, on whether he considered letting Colon hit instead of Murphy in a tie game in the eighth
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS The Braves had either led or been tied in each of the 45 innings they had completed this year before Cuddyer gave the Mets an early lead with his two-run homer in the first.
Mets reliever Jerry Blevins, who struck out Nick Markakis and Freddie Freeman in the eighth inning before recording the first out of the ninth, has retired all five left-handed hitters he has faced this season.
WHAT'S NEXT Mets: Following nearly two full months away from home, the Mets will return to Citi Field for their home opener Monday. Reigning Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom will square off against Phillies right-hander Aaron Harang in the 1:10 p.m. ET matinee, which kicks off a 10-game homestand for the Mets.
Braves: The Braves will be back at Turner Field on Monday at 7:10 p.m. ET to start a three-game series against the same Marlins club they swept last week in Miami. Shelby Miller will oppose Mat Latos, who recorded just two outs in his season debut against Atlanta on Tuesday.