Walk-Off Single by Ruben Tejada gives Mets 11- Inning Win over Braves

Howard Goldin

The New York Mets gained one game from the National League East leading Atlanta Braves on Monday night with a walk-off single in the 11th inning by shortstop Ruben Tejada that paved the way to a 4-3 win. Juan Lagares, who had doubled to begin the rally scored the winning tally. Tejada said he had “a good swing’ and made “good contact.”

The first seven innings were a fast moving and well-pitched duel between two hurlers, Mike Minor of Atlanta and Daisuke Matsuzaka of New York, each of whose last start was against one another on July 1. Despite the 91 degree heat, each one’s performance on Monday night was much improved than in the previous game.

Six days earlier, Minor gave up nine hits and four earned runs in 4.1 innings and Matsuzaka yielded seven hits and five earned runs in five frames. Each completely adapted to the opposing team’s batters on Monday.

The 26 year-old Minor was selected by the Braves in the first round of the 2009 draft and moved up to the majors in August of the following year. Left shoulder tendinitis slowed down his 2014 season as he did not make his first start until May 2. He won two of his five decisions in May, but has not registered a victory since May 19.

The right-hander gave up only two hits on Monday, but each was responsible for one run. Eric Campbell led-off the second with a walk and scored the first Met run on a double by Travis d’Arnaud. The second run was scored one inning later by a solo home run by David Wright.

Minor left the game after seven innings, having retired the last 13 batters he faced.

The 33 year-old Mets starter Matsuzaka pitched his best start since September 25, 2013, when he threw 7.2 innings of shutout ball against the Reds. The Japanese native allowed two batters to reach base in each of the first three innings, but none were able to cross the plate. The experienced hurler then settled down to retire 14 of the final 16 batters he faced. He permitted six hits and walked two batters, but kept the Braves from scoring. This game was only the second time in 2014 that Matsuzaka threw 100 pitches.

Once Minor and Matsuzaka left the game, runners crossed the plate and the game became lengthier in time. The Braves scored three off relievers Vic Black, Josh Edgen and Jenry Mejia in the eighth to take a 3-2 advantage. The score was again tied in the bottom of the inning as Curtis Granderson hit his 13th homer of the season with two out.

After the game concluded, Wright spoke of what he deemed the importance of the win, “It helps to beat teams in our division, especially at home. Beating teams ahead of us is always gratifying.”

Notes-The two Met home runs gave them 21 in the last 19 games and home runs in seven straight games at Citi Field. The Mets need one more win to reach 4,000. Mets reliever Edgen had retired the first 23 batters he faced this season until giving up a hit in the eighth inning.

All-Star Julio Tehran will start for Atlanta on Tuesday evening and Jacob deGrom will start for the Mets.