After a flawless, 6-0 homestand, the Atlanta Braves took to the road in search of a series victory in New York against the Mets. Let’s take a quick look at what transpired at Citi Field.
Friday, May 24th – Win (7-5, 10 innings)
Although it says “Friday” above, this game was played over two days due to torrential rain. It was a wild, back-and-forth game that featured controversy (i.e. the questionable weather conditions as the Mets tied the game in the 8th), and excitement. Dan Uggla was the offensive star of the night for Atlanta, as he stroked a 7th-inning home run that tied the game at 3-3, and later broke a 5-5 tie in the 10th inning with an RBI single that proved to be the difference. It’s been a long, winding road for Uggla this season, but he certainly emerged when it mattered on Friday/Saturday. On the mound, it was another steady outing for Kris Medlen, who got a no-decision, but struck out 9 over 6 innings and allowed a solid-enough 3 runs. The encouraging sign for Medlen was the fact that he only walked 1 through his outing, and, for the most part, he was solid. The aforementioned 8th inning explosion from the Mets was on the back of Anthony Varvaro, who allowed both runs, but in his defense, the rain was out of control by then, and he emerged on Saturday to throw a scoreless 9th. It wasn’t a conventional win, but this gave the Braves 7 straight victories, and got the series off to a positive start.
Saturday, May 25th – Win (6-0)
For the “second” game on Saturday, the Braves absolutely cruised to victory. Mike Minor was absolutely sparkling throughout his outing, and he tossed 7.1 innings of shutout ball with 10 strikeouts. I could go on for paragraphs upon paragraphs about Minor, but his numbers (2.47 ERA for the season) speak for themselves, and he is the no-doubt #1 starter right now. With the bats, it was a one-inning barrage that provided all that Atlanta needed. The game was scoreless through 4 innings, and Dillon Gee had the Braves’ number until Mike Minor used his bat to help himself with a 2-run home run in the 5th. That hilarious/epic blast was just the beginning, as the Braves added 3 more in the inning to stake themselves to a comfortable 5-0 lead that gave Minor and David Carpenter plenty to work with. Saturday was certainly “The Mike Minor Show”, but the bats did their part, and Atlanta grabbed their 8th straight victory.
Sunday, May 26th – Loss (4-2)
When Dan Uggla cracked a 423-foot home run in the 7th inning, it looked like the Braves were on their way to a sweep. However, the Mets’ bats (with some help from Cory Gearrin) had other plans, and the Mets scored 3 runs in the 8th inning to grab a 4-2 lead and the win. The two biggest blows against Gearrin came from left-handed batters, as Lucas Duda smacked a ground-rule double that gave the Mets two runners in scoring position, and Ike Davis dealt the final blow with a 2-run single that broke the tie. Gearrin has struggled mightily against lefties in his career, but in the early part of 2013 had gained the trust of Fredi Gonzalez against them, with the help of some positive luck. At any rate, Fredi gambled, leaving Gearrin in the game instead of going to Craig Kimbrel and on this night, it burned him. The late-inning rally ruined a quality outing from Julio Teheran, as the youngster threw 6.2 innings of 1-run ball with 5 strikeouts. His control wasn’t as solid as during his previous work (3 walks), but otherwise, he was very effective throughout the night. The only scoring from the Braves came on a 2-run home run by Dan Uggla, who seems to have broken out of a season-long slump was considerable power in recent days. It was a tough loss to endure, but the 8-game winning streak had to end eventually, and the Braves couldn’t steal another sweep.
In the grand scheme, a series win in New York is never a negative thing. The late-inning implosion on Sunday night may sting until the team takes the field on Monday, but overall, the weekend was certainly a net-positive. Stay tuned as the Braves square off with Toronto for 2 games in Canada, before returning home to face the same Blue Jays for 2 games at Turner Field.