Pitching, Defense and a Home Run Give Mets Win over Braves

Howard Goldin

The Mets began a six game homestand with a 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves. The New Yorkers put together a combination of excellent pitching, starting and relief, outstanding defense and enough hitting concentrated in two innings to produce three runs.

Dillon Gee, who lost his last five decisions, registered his first win since July 9. He told reporters his plans in the game, “I tried to be aggressive and throw strikes.” He explained that he tried to put the batters off-balance by beginning the at bats with fast ball strikes, but also said, “The change-up was good for me today.”

Gee gave up two hits in each of three innings, which led to the two runs scored by Atlanta. After beginning the game with 3.2 innings of no-hit ball, the 28 year-old gave up back-to-back doubles to Freddie Freeman and Justin Upton, which brought in the first Atlanta run.

In the seventh, Tommy La Stella, the last batter faced by Gee, singled in the final run for the Braves. JeurysFamilia came in and retired the next batter to end the threat.

Mets skipper Terry Collins praised both young pitchers, “That’s as crisp as I’ve seen his [Gee] stuff all year.” Familia is carrying a 1.93 ERA this season. Collins gave him much credit for his accomplishments and ability, “He has definitely bailed us out in the middle of this season. He’s going to be a pretty dynamic guy in the future.”

Gee expressed his gratitude to the two relievers who followed him in the game, “When you have guys like JeurysFamilia and Jenrry Mejia, you have confidence.”

The starter, now in his fifth season with the Mets, also recognized the contribution of the excellent defense. Four double plays prevented the Braves from scoring additional runs. Center fielder Juan Lagares, with his range in the outfield again made spectacular catches.

The native of the Dominican Republic is measured the best in the majors defensively with a 3.5 WAR defensively in 2014. Collins recognized his value defensively and also offensively, “He made some plays today. If you [the pitcher] make a mistake and they hit it in the air, they have confidence he’ll get it.”

The 25 year-old defensive specialist and rookie catcher Travis d’Arnaud made the difference at the plate on Tuesday against Atlanta. Each singled to begin the second. A two-out single by Ruben Tejada drove in the first Mets run.

The rookie catcher doubled to lead-off the fourth. Lagares followed with a two-run homer to left on a change-up, which accounted for the winning tally. After the contest, the sophomore major leaguer spoke of his effort to improve as the year progresses, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. It’s important to finish strong.”

The Mets have now homered in the last seven games, a mark they have reached since September 2012.

Julio Teheran, a 12 game winner, of the Braves and Zach Wheeler of the mets are schrduled to start the second game of the set on Wednesday night.