Braves' loss takes shine off Stults' stellar start

Left-hander minimizes early damage, allows one run over six innings

Braves' loss takes shine off Stults' stellar start

NEW YORK -- Eric Stults provided the Braves exactly what they needed on Wednesday night at Citi Field. But after at least halting concerns about the back end of Atlanta's rotation, the veteran left-hander watched a suddenly leaky bullpen allow the red-hot Mets to claim a 3-2 victory at Citi Field.

"Unfortunately, we weren't able to pull it out tonight," Stults said. "But as a starter, you want to go out and give your team a chance to win. I was able to do that. It just didn't go our way tonight."

Though he surrendered an extra-base hit to begin both of his first two innings, Stults limited the Mets to one run over six innings. His impressive effort was soured by the performances of Cody Martin, who surrendered Wilmer Flores' game-tying home run in the seventh inning, and Jim Johnson, who retired just one of the six batters he faced in the decisive eighth inning.

Stults escapes the jam

"He really did a nice job of changing speeds," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He did a nice job doing all that he could to keep us in the ballgame."

Stults retired 12 of the final 13 batters he faced after Jace Peterson booted a Ruben Tejada double-play grounder that followed Flores' RBI single in the second inning.

Peterson's miscue, the third error charged to the Braves this season, set the stage for John Mayberry Jr. to come to the plate with two outs and runners at the corners in the second inning. Mayberry had tripled in the first inning to improve to 4-for-7 against Stults since the beginning of the 2014 season. But the Braves southpaw escaped this threat by getting the Mets outfielder to swing through a 1-2 fastball.

"It could have been the other way around," Stults said. "They could have scored three or four runs in the second and the game could have been out of hand. But I was able to make some pitches there and able to get out of it."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.