Friday, June 24, 2016

Garcia's go-ahead blast vaults Braves past Mets

The Braves continued both their mastery of the Mets and their overall surge on Thursday, coming from behind to nab a 4-3 win over New York at Turner Field.
Adonis Garcia hit a go-ahead two-run homer off Addison Reed in the eighth inning, giving the Braves their first lead of the night. Atlanta nearly knotted the score an inning earlier, butMichael Conforto turned a potential game-tying sacrifice fly into an inning-ending double play, which resulted in Braves interim manager Brian Snitker's ejection after he lost a challenge.
"These guys -- I've said it ever since I've been here -- there's just no quit in them," Snitker said. "They just keep working, keep grinding, keep playing and picking each other up. It's nice when they're rewarded like that."
Braves starter Matt Wisler submitted a quality start, giving up three runs over 6 2/3 innings. Because his counterpart, Matt Harvey, allowed only two runs in six innings, Wisler was on the hook for a loss until Garcia bailed him out with his homer.
The win was Atlanta's fourth straight over the Mets, after sweeping them at Citi Field last weekend. And it was their seventh win in eight games overall, bedeviling a Mets team that took 11 of 19 from their division rivals last year.
"They're playing good right now," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "They're playing very, very good. I know they won six in a row. We're having a tough time getting them out."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
One for theatrics: With a runner on and his team trailing, 3-2, in the eighth, Garcia blasted an 0-2 pitch over the left-field wall to give the Braves a lead they wouldn't relinquish. The homer was his third in his past 36 at-bats. The 31-year-old has hit 14 home runs in his career, and nine of those have either tied the game or given the Braves a lead.
"I've had some good luck, and I feel like a majority of them have seemed to come here at Turner Field," Garcia said through a translator. "So that always feels good to be able to do that at home. I'm just grateful for the opportunities, and I'm grateful those times have worked out and those home runs were able to give the team the lead."
Doubling down at home: Three innings after Conforto banged his knee against the left-field wall, ripping a hole in the padding and limping off the field, he found himself back in nearly the same spot. With men on second and third, Ender Inciarte lifted what seemed destined to be a game-tying sacrifice fly down the line. But Conforto caught the ball in foul ground, gathered himself and fired home, where his throw gave Travis d'Arnaud just enough time to slap a tag on Emilio Bonifacio.
Snitker challenged the inning-ending double play, but a review confirmed not only that d'Arnaud's tag beat Bonifacio to the plate, but also that he left a proper lane for the Braves outfielder to slide. The final ruling brought Snitker flying out to the field, where he was promptly ejected.
"I just tried to make sure I caught it, and then apply a tag," d'Arnaud said. "I just didn't think there was enough evidence to overturn it if he was safe." More >
Still kicking: Entering Thursday, A.J. Pierzynski was batting .143 (6-for-42) in his past 16 games and hadn't recorded an extra-base hit since May 20. The 39-year-old served as the Braves' offensive catalyst early, driving in the team's first run in the fourth and cutting the deficit to one with an RBI double in the sixth. He now has 900 RBIs and 398 doubles in his career.
"He swung the bat really well tonight," said Snitker. "He got one of the big hits in the ninth inning yesterday to bring the tying run to the plate. He's been swinging the bat better, which is great. We're going to need him. He's been working at it, too, so it's good to see him swinging the bat like that."
Slump busters: The Mets' offensive attack came from a pair of players aching to make contributions. Filling in for injured center fielder Yoenis CespedesAlejandro De Aza put the Mets on the board with an RBI double in the second inning, snapping an 0-for-20 skid at the plate. Three innings later, Neil Walker cracked an 0-for-15 slide with a run-scoring single. Walker reached base safely three times, also plating a run with a sacrifice fly in the third.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Mets lost for just the second time all season when leading after seven innings. They fell to 34-2 in those games.
WHAT'S NEXT
Mets: Steven Matz, who, like Noah Syndergaard and Bartolo Colon, has been dealing with some nagging discomfort, will make his next start as scheduled Friday against the Braves. The left-hander will take the mound for a 7:35 p.m. ET start at Turner Field.
Braves: Aaron Blair will take the mound for Atlanta in the second game of this four-game series. The right-hander is still looking for his first career win in what will be his 11th start. He showed better command in his outing against the Mets on Saturday, issuing just one walk, but has given up 18 free passes at home this year.

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