The Atlanta Braves won game two of their series against the New York Mets 4-1 on Wednesday afternoon to increase their MLB best record to 76-49. The result of the game though became a far less important story than the events of the 6th inning when Jason Heyward was hit by a Jonathon Niese fastball in the jaw and had to be taken to a local hospital. The severity of the injury is not known at this point but Heyward was spitting blood as he walked off the field and it is a very concerning situation.
Other than Heyward’s injury, the Braves had a very good game on Wednesday. Alex Wood continued his strong rookie campaign, pitching six innings of one run baseball. Wood’s one mistake was a long home run allowed to Josh Satin in the bottom of the 4th inning. Heyward’s injury appeared to act as a catalyst for the Braves comeback as Jordan Schafer scored the tying run after coming on to pinch run for Heyward. Back to back singles by Andrelton Simmons and Freddie Freeman plated Schafer, as Niese seemed to lose the command he had displayed for much of the day after plunking Heyward. The single run would be all the Braves would get before Niese managed to escape the jam.
The Braves and Mets traded scoreless frames until the tenth inning when the Braves finally broke the game open. With two outs, Simmons lined a single and Freeman followed it with an infield hit in which he barely beat the throw at first. The play at first was so close even replay made determining the call difficult, but Freeman did appear to be safe. Chris Johnson then crushed the first pitch he saw for a three run homer to make the game 4-1 and set things up for an easy Craig Kimbrel save. Mets manager Terry Collins and first baseman Daniel Murphy were both ejected for arguing the Freeman play at first though not until after Johnson’s home run.
The Braves pitching was strong all day with Wood being very effective and Jordan Walden pitching two dominant innings. Luis Avilan allowed the Mets to load the bases before escaping trouble in the 9th inning, illustrating the dangers of allowing a lefty specialist to face six right handed batters.
The Braves leave their strange two game series in New York to head to St Louis for another possible playoff preview against the Cardinals. Whether Heyward will make the trip remains to be seen.