After a disappointing three-game sweep at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies, it would be easy for the Atlanta Braves to coast through a one-day trip to New York on Thursday. Instead of having a scheduled day off, the Braves had to play a doubleheader against the New York Mets thanks to Hurricane Irene. However, the Braves came out swinging as the offense finally showed some life in a 6-5 victory over the Mets in game one of the doubleheader.
Sporting a new-look lineup, the Braves were able to put three runs on the board in the first inning. Chipper Jones, batting second for the first time since 1996, got the offense going with a double. After a walk to Brian McCann, Freddie Freeman hit a two-run opposite field double off the wall. Martin Prado, who has been struggling mightily as of late, capped the inning with an RBI single after being moved to the sixth spot in the order.
Unfortunately, the three-run lead given to Mike Minor did not last long. After recording two quick outs in the bottom of the first inning, Minor loaded the bases on a single, double and a walk before giving up a grand slam to Jason Bay. However, Minor settled down as that grand slam would be the only damage against him. Minor managed to pick up the win by going five innings and giving up four runs to go along with two strikeouts.
The Braves would later tie the game on a monster solo home run from Jones, the perpetual Met killer. After two-out singles from Freeman and Prado, Jason Heyward joined the action with an RBI single of his own. The Braves would lead for the rest of the game, scoring an additional run when Michael Bourn was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the eighth inning.
The bullpen rebounded from an uncharacteristic blown lead the night before to shut down the Mets over the final four innings. The only blemish came against Jonny Venters on a sacrifice fly by Nick Evans. Craig Kimbrel shut the door in the ninth inning to record his 43rd save, adding to his rookie save record.
As for the lineup change, manager Fredi Gonzalez wanted to put the high on-base players at the top of the batting order in an effort to ignite the offense. With Jones swinging a hot bat and Prado scuffling, it was a logical swap to move Jones up to the second spot and Prado down in the order.
"The first half of the season, Martin Prado and Brian McCann carried us and then they cooled off and it was Freddie Freeman and Dan Uggla who carried us," Jones said. "When your top two of three hitters are struggling in any lineup, I am going to show you a lineup struggling to score runs. That's why Fredi is trying a bunch of different things at the top."
The Braves will look to sweep the doubleheader as they will send Julio Teheran (0-1, 5.19 ERA) to the mound in game two to face Dillon Gee (12-5, 4.48 ERA) at 7:40 EDT.
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