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Game Recap (4/8/14) : Mets 4 – Braves 0

(Associated Press)

By Keith Harrison

The New York Mets and Atlanta Braves were in action Tuesday night, kicking off their 3 game series in Atlanta. The Mets sent Bartolo Colon to the mound, former Met Aaron Harang was starting for Atlanta.

Harang looked good for the Braves early. As the Mets broadcasting team duly noted, Harang is in great shape and the velocity on his fastball is improved from last season with the Mets.

Top of the 3rd, Ruben Tejada leads off the inning with a walk. Up next is Bartolo Colon who tries to lay down a sacrifice but fails miserably and strikes out bunting. Colon is really a horrendous bunter based on his first two attempts as a Met. Eric Young Jr. is up next, he draws another walk, Tejada to second. Daniel Murphy then hits a deep fly ball to right field, Tejada tags up from second to third. David Wright up next, Eric Young Jr. steals second base on the first pitch, his second steal of the game. Wright still at bat, Aaron Harang throws a wild pitch past Evan Gattis, Tejada comes in to score from third, Young Jr. advances to second. The Mets take a 1-0 lead. Wright pops up to shallow right center for the third out.

Moving forward to the top of the 7th, Gus Schlosser on in relief for Aaron Harang. Travis d’Arnaud leads off the inning with a fly ball to left center that drops in between the Upton brothers amidst confusion. d’Arnaud pulls in to second for a double. Up next is Ruben Tejada who slaps a base hit to right center field, d’Arnaud comes around to score from second. Mets lead 2-0. Up next is Bartolo Colon who miraculously lays down a sacrifice bunt to advance Tejada to second. Colon looked much better laying down the bunt this time around. Luis Avilan is on in relief for Schlosser. Eric Young Jr. slaps a base hit to right center, Tejada comes around to score from second, Young Jr. is thrown out at second base trying for two. Mets lead 3-0. Daniel Murphy smacks a broken bat single right up the middle. A piece of the bat barely misses pitcher Luis Avilan, who got hurt while falling down to avoid the bat shards and would leave the game. Anthony Varvaro on in relief for Avilan. David Wright grounds out to short stop, Daniel Murphy is out at second for the third out.

Bartolo Colon would toss 7 shutout innings in this game, he was fantastic and looked to be worth every dollar the Mets spent on him this offseason.

Top of the 8th, Ian Thomas on in relief for the Braves. Curtis Granderson kicks off the inning with a deep fly ball to the warning track in right field, Jason Heyward is there for the catch. Up next is Lucas Duda, he slaps a base hit to right center. Juan Lagares hits a grounder to the pitcher, Duda advances to second, Lagares is called out at first. Terry Collins comes out to challenge the call and the Umpires review it. Instant replay shows Lagares clearly beating the throw by a half a step. The call is overturned, Lagares is safe. Pedro Beato, the former Met, comes on in relief for Ian Thomas. Travis d’Arnaud pops up to shallow center field. Ruben Tejada keeps it going with a single to right, Lucas Duda scores from second, Lagares to third. Mets lead 4-0. Ike Davis pinch hits for Bartolo Colon and grounds out to short stop for the third out.

Moving on to the bottom of the 9th, Mets still lead 4-0. Jose Valverde is on to close for the Mets in a non-save situation. Justin Upton leads off the bottom half of the inning with a base hit to left field. Dan Uggla follows that up with a hard hit ball off of David Wright’s glove into left field, Upton to second. Jose Valverde never makes it easy. Evan Gattis hits a ground ball to short, Tejada makes the safe play and gets the lead runner at third. One out, Uggla on second, Gattis on first. Andrelton Simmons then hits a ground ball to Valverde, this should be a game ending double play ball, Valverde botches the throw to second and pulls Murphy off the bag. All runners are safe, the bases are loaded, still only one out. Jose Valverde is reminiscent of Armando Benitez right about now, I can’t believe he is on the verge of blowing this game. Gerald Laird pinch hits for Pedro Beato, Valverde gets him to pop up to second, HUGE 2nd out. Now all that stands between The Mets and a win is Jason Heyward at the plate. Valverde is going to dig deep and get this last out! or is he? Jason Heyward gets a hold of a meatball down the pipe from Valverde, he takes it to deep center field. It’s going, going, looks like it’s gone! It dies on the warning track and Juan Lagares  makes the catch to end the game. Mets win 4-0!

Watching Jose Valverde pitch in the 9th inning is like getting your teeth pulled, slow and painful torture. I am not looking forward to watching him close out games. He will give Mets fans conniptions for the rest of the season, mark my words.

Interestingly enough, this was the first game this season in which the Braves surrendered more than 2 runs. They had tied a modern Major League record by surrendering 2 or fewer runs in their first 6 games.

The Braves offense continued to struggle in this game as they have in both series to start the season despite their 4-2 record coming into the game. The Braves would fall to 4-3 and the Mets would improve to 3-4.

The Mets and Braves are back in action Wednesday night at 7:10 pm. Zack Wheeler will be on the mound for the Mets, rivaling Ervin Santana of the Braves.

Keith Harrison : PureSportsNY

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