ATLANTA -- Julio Teheran prevented Matt Harvey from receiving the offensive support he needed to back up his strong effort. Pedro Ciriaco then soured Harvey's performance by delivering a two-out, seventh-inning RBI single that accounted for the only run in the 1-0 win the Braves claimed over the Mets on Sunday afternoon at Turner Field.
After Braves catcher Ryan Lavarnway doubled off the top of the left-center-field wall with two outs in the seventh, Ciriaco pinch-hit for Teheran and delivered the go-ahead hit off Harvey to shallow center. Atlanta third-base coach Bo Porter aggressively waved Lavarnway toward the plate because he knew Mets center fielder Juan Lagares has been playing with a sore right elbow. Lagares' wide throw to the plate allowed Lavarnway to score in uncontested fashion.
"I think even with a healthy Lagares, you've got to send him there in the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "But yeah, we knew it was documented on social media and regular media that his elbow is hanging."
The Braves completed this three-game sweep with the assistance provided by Teheran, who surrendered just one hit as he threw only 78 pitches over seven scoreless innings. His performance proved to be enough to beat Harvey, who allowed the one run and six hits over 6 2/3 innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Halting his woes: When Teheran opened the game by issuing a six-pitch walk to Curtis Granderson, it looked like he might extend the struggles he'd experienced while posting a 5.92 ERA in his past eight starts. But the Atlanta right-hander quickly righted himself and retired the next 12 batters he faced before surrendering his only hit -- Wilmer Flores' fifth-inning leadoff single to left field. Teheran ended a seven-pitch fifth by getting Dilson Herrera to ground into a double play. More >
Overcoming the pitch count: Harvey threw 47 pitches through the first two innings, and he allowed a runner to reach second base in the first inning and third base in the second. It looked like the Braves had his number early, but the right-hander settled down and threw just 68 pitches over his next 4 2/3 innings (just over 14 pitches per inning) before being pulled after Ciriaco's pinch-hit RBI single in the seventh.
"It's tough," Harvey said of pitching after two long innings at the start. "I'm pretty happy with the fact that I was able to go into the seventh inning with close to 50 pitches in [the first two] innings." More >
Bullpen holds steady: The Braves' bullpen has drawn criticism over the past month. But with closer Jason Grilli unavailable because he had pitched the past two days, Nick Masset and Dana Eveland combined to complete a scoreless eighth inning that included Eric Campbell's two-out double. Jim Johnson then secured Teheran's win by completing a scoreless ninth inning that began with the Mets recording consecutive singles.
Not so clutch: The Mets had a chance to take the lead -- or at least score a run -- in the top of the ninth inning, after Granderson led off with a single and Lagares followed up with a bunt single. But Lucas Duda flied out to left field and Michael Cuddyer grounded into a game-ending 5-4-3 double play.
"I don't think there's anything wrong with the [team's approach at the plate]," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We're just not squaring any balls up. ... That's my issue more than anything, is we're not getting balls to drive."
"Everyone was like, 'The weight room is right over there.'" -- Lavarnway, on the reaction his teammates had to his seventh-inning double, which hit the top of the wall in left field and would have been his first home run since Sept. 4, 2013
"We've had everybody from Triple-A here. ... We've done everything we can, we've brought all these guys up that are swinging the bats good at the time in Las Vegas. This is not the [Pacific] Coast League. You can make all the changes you want -- when they come up here, they have to get the job done." -- Collins, on whether any internal moves could be made to improve the Mets' struggling offense
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This marked the third time Teheran has allowed just one hit while completing at least seven innings. He surrendered one hit over eight innings against the Cubs on May 9, 2014, and against the Pirates on June 5, 2013.
WHAT'S NEXT Mets: The Mets get a much-needed day off Monday before finishing an eight-game road trip in Milwaukee with a three-game series against the Brewers. Collins is hoping to have both reliever Jeurys Familia (groin) and catcher Travis d'Arnaud (left elbow) available when that series starts Tuesday at 8:10 p.m. ET, but he doesn't expect Daniel Murphy (left quad strain) to be back from the disabled list.
Braves: Atlanta will begin a three-game series against the first-place Nationals on Tuesday at Nationals Park at 7:05 p.m. ET. Alex Wood will be looking to build on the recent success he has encountered since gaining a better feel for his sinker and changeup. He has posted a 2.63 ERA in eight career starts against Washington.