Mets Vs. Braves: Atlanta Posts Balk-Off Victory To Avoid Sweep

The Mets took two out of three from the Braves, but the end of the third game made the whole series worth it.

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Mets Vs. Braves Final Score: Balk By D.J. Carrasco Gives Atlanta Extra Innings Win

It was only fitting that in a game that saw a little bit of everything be decided by a balk in extra innings. Mets reliever D.J. Carrasco balked home the winning run in the bottom of the tenth giving Atlanta a 9-8 extra innings victory. Atlanta wouldn't have even made it to the tenth inning without some Brooks Conrad heroics in the ninth. It was Conrad's two run pinch hit homer in the ninth off of Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez that tied the game and sent it into extra innings. 

The Braves jumped out to a 6-2 lead behind the bats of Jordan Schafer, Jason Heyward, and Chipper Jones. Shafer went 5 for 6 in the game raising his average to .256 on the season. Heyward went 2 for 5 and Jones was 3 for 4 with a homer and five RBI's. Chipper left the game late injuring himself when going first to third on a Brian McCann single in the seventh. 

Things began to unravel for Atlanta starter Mike Minor in the fifth inning. Leading 6-2, Minor walked Justin Turner and Carlos Beltran to start the inning. Minor then got Daniel Murphy to fly out, but Jason Bay followed with an RBI single to right that scored Turner making the score 6-3. Scott Proctor replaced Minor and quickly struck out Ronny Paulino. With two on and Scott Hairston at the plate, Proctor left a fastball up and out over the plate that Hairston hit into the left field stands tying the game at 6-6.

The score remained tied until the bottom of the seventh when the Mets loaded the bases against Atlanta reliever Jonny Venters. Scott Hairston struck out swinging but the ball got away from Brian McCann allowing Hairston to reach first base and Carlos Beltran to score from third giving New York a 7-6 lead. 

New York added an another insurance run in the eighth when Angel Pagan scored on a Dan Uggla throwing error as Atlanta was attempting a double play on a Carlos Beltran grounder. 

The Braves wouldn't strike again until the Conrad homer in the ninth tied things up. Scott Linebrink pitched a scoreless tenth for Atlanta setting up a peculiar bottom half for the Braves. Eric Hinske walked to lead off the inning and was replaced by pinch runner Joe Mather. Alex Gonzalez then failed to advance Mather to second by popping up two bunt attempts. With two strikes, Gonzalez swung away and grounded the ball back up the middle that the Mets turned into a 4-6-3 double play. It looked like another golden opportunity had vanished for the Braves offense. 

With two outs and the bases empty, Diory Hernandez lined a double down the right field line that would have scored Mather had Gonzalez been able to advance him. Jordan Schafer then followed with an infield single that first baseman Lucas Duda couldn't handle giving the Braves runners at the corners. Jason Heyward then stepped to the box with a chance to be the hero. However, Heyward didn't get the opportunity as Mets pitcher D.J. Carrasco hesitated as he started his move to the stretch resulting in a balk call that scored Hernandez and gave Atlanta a 9-8 win. 

Scott Linebrink gets his third win of the season with a scoreless tenth inning. Carrasco takes the loss and is now 0-2. 

Neither starting pitcher was around long in this game. New York's R.A. Dickey allowed six hits and six runs in just four innings of work. Mike Minor allowed seven hits and five runs in just 4.1 innings. 

With the win, Atlanta salvages one game in the series and now prepare to open their first interleague match up of the season with the Texas Rangers on Friday at Turner Field. 

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Mets Vs. Braves: Atlanta's Offense, Rain Ruin Perfectly Good Tuesday Night In 4-0 Loss To New York

It's going to be a long season in Atlanta if their offense isn't able to find somewhat of a balance in the next few weeks. This whole boom-or-bust thing just isn't going to work.

The offense was in their "bust" stage on Wednesday night and failed to score a run. As a matter of fact, all the lineup managed to do was record two hits (an Alex Gonzalez double and a pinch-hit single by Brooks Conrad) and draw two walks.

The Mets scored in the first inning on a Jose Reyes double, an error from Jason Heyward and groundout from Ruben Tejada brought in the first run of the game. Angel Pagan added a 2-run homer in the fourth inning and Jose Reyes brought in an insurance run on a RBI-groundout in the seventh.

Tim Hudson started the game for Atlanta and worked four innings after being interrupted by the second rain delay of the game. He was pulled and relievers Cristhian Martinez, Scott Linebrink and Eric O'Flaherty worked the final five innings and allowed just one run on two hits.

The Mets pitchers dominated the Atlanta lineup and only one batter reached scoring position all night. Dillon Gee tossed four innings and D.J. Carrasco, Bobby Parnell and Francisco Rodriguez finished out the game. They combined to allow two hits and two walks.

The Braves will try to avoid the sweep tomorrow night with Mike Minor on the mound. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey will start for the Mets.

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Mets Vs. Braves Final Score: Jair Jurrjens, Offense Struggle In 4-3 Loss

Jair Jurrjens pitched the worst game of his season tonight and the offense consisted of three players from the Braves' Opening Day lineup. I guess it's not that big of a surprise the club lost it's second straight game.

Jurrjens struggled from the first inning on and was probably lucky to allow just the four runs. He wasn't fooling any of the New York hitters and they hit him early and often. And in very odd fashion, Jair inexplicably walked five Mets batters while striking out just three. That's pretty uncommon for a guy who came into the game with the best ERA in the Majors.

Jonathon Niese started for New York and he pitched 6.1 strong innings. He allowed just five hits and no walks and limited Atlanta to just two runs. He struck out four on the night. He left the game with runners on first and second, but Tim Byrdak came in to strikeout Brian McCann and Diory Hernandez.

With the score 4-2 in the eighth, Dan Uggla lined a home run over the left field wall to cut the deficit to just one run. Chipper Jones followed by putting a big charge into a ball towards right field, but Carlos Beltran made a jumping catch at the wall to rob Chipper of at least a double. The Braves were unable to mount a rally against closer Francisco Rodriguez and fell 4-3.

It'll be Dillion Gee against Tim Hudson on Wednesday night. Jason Heyward could potentially make his return to Atlanta, so be on the lookout for that. We need him.  

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Mets Vs. Braves Series Preview: Atlanta Seeks Revenge On An Old Rival

If it feels like we just played the Mets, your feeling is correct. It has been just over a week since the last time the Braves and Mets played, but this time it'll be in the friendly confines of Turner Field. New York is practically the same team we saw a week ago that took the series against out club, so let's jump right in.

They're two games below .500 at 32-34 and have won six of their past ten ballgames. New York split their most recent series with the Pirates and are heading down to Atlanta on a 9-game road trip.

Offense:

The Mets are basically the same team we saw a week ago and their lineup consists of the same guys as last time. Jose Reyes (.342/.386/.524, 398 wOBA, 154 wRC+) is still leading baseball in batting average and is having a huge year. Carlos Beltran (.282/.365/.498, .365 wOBA, 139 wRC+) and Daniel Murphy (.305/.362/.424, .348 wOBA, 120 wRC+) are both having solid years for the club, while veterans Jason Bay (.207/.303/.273, .270 wOBA, 63 wRC+) and Angel Pagan (.243/.312/.338, .300 wOBA, 88 wRC+) have both struggled considerably in 2011. 

Rookie third baseman Justin Turner (.284/.333/.397, .327 wOBA, 106 wRC+) has been solid in place of David Wright and catcher Ronny Paulino (.324/.377/.380, .338 wOBA, 113 wRC+) has been a decent surprise thus far. Second baseman Ruben Tejada (.325/.389/.363, .341 wOBA, 116 wRC+) has impressed while taking over for Luis Castillo.

The Mets lineup will look something similar to this:

Reyes - SS
Turner - 3B
Beltran - RF
Pagan - CF
Bay - LF
Paulino - C
Murphy - 1B
Tejada - 2B

Pitching Matchups:

Tuesday, 7:10EDT (SportSouth) - Jonathon Niese Vs. Jair Jurrjens 

The left-handed pitcher is still having a fine season in New York and has probably been their best pitcher to date. Niese will throw a fastball that sits right around 90mph, an improving cutter in the high-80's, a big 12-6 curveball and an occasional changeup to a tough right-handed batter. Niese pitched well in his previous start against Atlanta, allowing just two runs to score over the course of 7.2 innings.

Wednesday, 7:10EDT (SportSouth) - Dillon Gee Vs. Tim Hudson

Gee, who still sits at an undefeated 7-0 record, has impressed a lot of folks in the New York organization this year. The 25-year old righty has been a bit lucky in 2011, but we're almost to a point in the season where it might just be solid pitching instead of bad luck for the opposing hitters. He'll throw a fastball in the high-80's, though he will occasionally touch 93 and 94, a solid changeup, and then a bevy of junk breaking balls. In two starts against Atlanta, he's 2-0 and has allowed just one run to score in 12.2 innings. Let's change that in this series, yeah?

Thursday, 7:10EDT (SportSouth) - R.A. Dickey Vs. Mike Minor

Dickey is coming to town.

Well, R.A. Dickey is at least. The knuckleballer will face the Braves for the second time in two weeks and will likely continue to baffle Atlanta with his nutty knuckleball. He will throw an occasional fastball, but don't expect too many. He held the Braves scoreless in his last start over six strong innings.

Bullpen:

The New York bullpen is pretty mediocre. Closer/clown Francisco Rodriguez has recorded 16 saves this year and has been pretty good in the ninth inning. Jason Isringhausen (which I'm being told will be in next year's Scripps Spelling Bee) has been solid in a set-up role with the club. Tim Byrdak, Pedro Beato and Bobby Parnell have all been decent this year, though both Ryota Igarashi and Taylor Buchholz have struggled to record outs this year.

Recap:

The Mets aren't a bad team and they've been playing better baseball since manager Terry Collins publicly called out the team a few weeks ago. They have their three best pitchers going for them and they can put a few runs on the scoreboard. I actually don't feel too great about this series, but I'll go ahead and say we take two games because the games are in Atlanta.

For more Braves join Talking Chop, and for more Mets join Amazin' Avenue.

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