Mets keep surging as they defeat Braves for ninth straight win
By Mark Bowman and Joe Trezza
NEW YORK -- Curtis Granderson drove in four runs and Jon Niese carried a shutout bid into the seventh inning as the Mets extended their winning streak to nine games with Tuesday night's 7-1 win over the Braves at Citi Field.
Cameron Maybin's two-out homer in the seventh inning accounted for the only run surrendered by Niese, who completed 6 2/3 innings with the assistance of the four-run fifth inning the Mets compiled against Braves starting pitcher Trevor Cahill.
Granderson's two-run single keyed the fifth-inning uprising that was aided by second baseman Phil Gosselin's inability to record an out on Niese's potential double-play grounder.
The error, just the second committed by the Braves all season, doomed Cahill, who had retired 12 of the previous 14 batters he faced before allowing six straight Mets to reach safely to begin the bottom of the fifth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Deflating fifth: Cahill's command during the bottom of the fifth faltered, which began with Eric Campbell drawing a six-pitch walk. Stamina might have been an issue for the right-hander, who had made just one start since completing Spring Training with five innings in a Minor League game. But if Gosselin had turned the double play, Cahill might have gotten into the sixth inning facing just a one-run deficit. More >
Plawecki performs well: Catcher Kevin Plawecki became the sixth Mets player to collect two hits and score two runs in his debut. Carlos Gomez last did it in 2007. Plawecki singled in the fifth and eighth, both times scoring on hits by Granderson. He also also threw out Andrelton Simmons attempting to advance to second base on a ball in the dirt in the sixth. More >
Curtis comes through: After entering the game hitting .146 and mired in a 1-for-16 slump, Granderson's sharp grounder to right in the fifth gave him his first two RBIs of the season. Mets manager Terry Collins has stuck with Granderson in the leadoff spot because of the veteran's ability to get on base and because he's hit into some tough early season luck. Granderson finished with four RBIs after adding a run-scoring single in the sixth and RBI double in the eighth. More >
Freeman's freeze:Freddie Freeman entered Tuesday having hit .359 with a .976 OPS over the past two seasons at Citi Field. But Atlanta's latest "Mets Killer" struck out three times in this series opener. The All-Star first baseman grounded out with runners at first and second to end the top of the fifth and stranded two more runners when he struck out against lefty specialist Alex Torres to end the top of the seventh.
"I felt comfortable after that first at-bat. I was just happy to make contact to be honest. After that I was pretty excited. I just got back to playing baseball." -- Plawecki, on his feelings after his first at-bat in the Majors
"It was big. If I make that play we maybe get out of there giving up only one run and Trevor stays in the game. It [stinks] when you let the team down." -- Gosselin, on his fifth-inning error.More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Niese has posted a 3.19 ERA while holding opponents to three earned runs or less in 33 of his past 36 starts, dating back to Sept. 19, 2013. Meanwhile Cahill, has allowed four runs or more in 10 of the 19 starts he has made since the start of the 2014 season.
Maybin's seventh-inning home run was ruled a double until a 1-minute, 17-second replay review showed that his long drive bounced off the orange outfield wall padding and made contact with the metal railing beyond the wall.
Braves: The Braves will attempt to get back on track when they resume this three-game set against the Mets on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Eric Stults will be looking to be slighltly better than he was during his April 10 season debut, during which he proved perfect through three innings and then allowed the Mets three runs in the fourth.
Mets:Dillon Gee starts for New York with some added pressure as the Mets continue to prepare Rafael Montero for a trial stint in the rotation. Gee will get at least one more start before Montero pitches April 28 at Miami. Gee has struggled so far to the tune of a 7.59 ERA through two starts.