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Atlanta Braves Drop Home Stand Opener to New York Mets

June 14th, 2011 at 11:46 PM
By Cody Fields

The New York Mets' Jon Niese confounded an injury ravaged Atlanta Braves squad Tuesday, holding off a weakened offense which featured only three Opening Day starters, 4-3.

The Braves managed only six hits in the first game of a nine-game home stand, including five off Niese in his 6 1/3 innings. He gave up only two runs and fanned four batters; he walked no one, taking away Atlanta's patience that has helped them all season.

Joe Mather drove in David Ross in the bottom of the second inning. That was all for the consequential offense until Ross drove in Alex Gonzalez with an RBI double in the seventh, which finally chased Niese from the game.

The only walk the Mets gave up was by Pedro Beato on the next batter to Mather, who was summarily replaced by Tim Byrdak, who finished the inning.

Jason Isringhausen made the only other Met bullpen mistake in the eighth in the form of a Dan Uggla solo home run. Francisco Rodriguez then locked up his 19th save with a perfect ninth, raising Niese's record to 6-5.

The Mets' half of the game, however, was a completely different story.

Braves starter Jair Jurrjens did not look like himself all game as he surrendered five walks, eight hits and four runs in 5 1/3 innings.

Jose Reyes was the biggest thorn in Jurrjens' side, as he went 3-for-5 with an RBI, two runs and two stolen bases.

Carlos Beltran also notched two hits and drove in a run. Angel Pagan and Lucas Duda drove in New York's remaining runs.

The Mets' offensive approach was one of disruption and chances by the boatload. Out of their nine hits, none of them went for extra bases, and Mets hitters only went 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position. It was on the basepaths, however, that New York capitalized with four stolen bases – Reyes with two and Willie Harris and Beltran with one apiece.

George Sherrill, Scott Proctor and Craig Kimbrel relieved Jurrjens with 3 2/3 innings of shutout ball.

Kimbrel, seeing his first action since Saturday in Houston, made things interesting in the top of the ninth in the Braves' effort to keep the deficit at a run when he walked two and beaned Josh Thole before freezing Ruben Tejada on strike three.

The loss dropped Jurrjens to a still impressive 8-3 and brought his ERA up to 2.13.

With Freddie Freeman scratched before the game with a mild oblique strain, Eric Hinske filled in on first base. Hinske, Chipper Jones and Jordan Schafer all went 0-for-4. Freeman is listed as day-to-day.

The loss, coupled with the Philadelphia Phillies' blowout of the Florida Marlins, dropped the Braves to 3.5 games back in the National League East race.

Wednesday's contest involves the NL's only undefeated starting pitcher in Dillon Gee (7-0, 3.05 ERA) and Atlanta's Tim Hudson (5-5, 4.06 ERA).

Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Craig Kimbrel, David Ross, Francisco Rodriguez, Freddie Freeman, Jair Jurrjens, Joe Mather, Jon Niese, Jose Reyes, New York Mets

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