By Mark Bowman and Connor Smolensky
MLB.com |@mlbbowman |
ATLANTA -- Curtis Granderson highlighted a multihomer game in grand fashion and Matt Harvey notched his first win of the season as the Mets opened a three-game series at Turner Field with Friday night's 6-3 win over the Braves.
"Just trying to go ahead and get pitches that you can put a good swing on, and I was able to do that in a few at-bats there," Granderson said.
Granderson's second-inning grand slam off Bud Norris provided all of the necessary support for Harvey, who allowed two runs and seven hits over five innings. The Mets right-hander surrendered hits to four of the first five batters he faced in Atlanta's two-run second inning. But he minimized damage more effectively than he had while pitching from the stretch in his previous three starts.
While the Mets have won six of their past eight games, the Braves have dropped three straight since snapping their 0-9 start with four consecutive wins.
"I liked our offense," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said after his team tallied its second consecutive double-digit hit total (10). "I think with Bud, it was just that one inning. If you could erase that one inning, he might have pitched six or seven innings."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Have a Grand day: Granderson came into Friday's contest with three RBIs. He doubled that and then some while homering twice off Norris. The veteran hammered two balls into the right-field stands for his 19th multihomer game of his career. Granderson's two homers accounted for all five runs against Norris.
Harvey picks up first victory: Harvey's first win ended a three-game skid to start the season. The right-hander lasted five innings, allowing seven hits and two runs while striking out five. Harvey ran into some trouble in the second inning when he gave up two runs, but faced little trouble the rest of the way. He ended the night throwing 101 pitches, 68 for strikes. More >
"Part of the game obviously felt better and felt like I was releasing the ball the way I should be," Harvey said. "Other times it was not that way. Still working. There were more positives than negatives out of this game."
Almost Mr. 2,000:A.J. Pierzynski notched a single in each of his first three at-bats against Harvey and is now just one hit shy of becoming the 10th catcher in Major League history to record 2,000 hits in a career. Pierzynski notched one of the four hits Harvey surrendered during the two-run second inning that was highlighted by Mallex Smith's RBI double. The Braves catcher's two-out single in the fifth went for naught as Yoenis Cespedes' strong throw retired Nick Markakis as he attempted to score from second base.
Long second inning: Plate umpire Jeff Kellogg was hit on the left side of his mask and then his shoulder by a foul ball in the bottom of the first and then exited between innings. After waiting through a lengthy delay as first-base umpire Alan Porter donned the protective gear to move behind the plate, Norris endured a 41-pitch second inning that included consecutive one-out walks and the errant throw he made attempting to record a forceout at third base. This set the stage for Granderson to follow with his grand slam.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Granderson's grand slam had an exit velocity of 108.5 mph according to Statcast™, the hardest home run he's hit since exit velocity has been measured. His previous high was 107.7 mph last May 5 against Baltimore's Ubaldo Jimenez.
The Braves homered twice in this season's first 13 plate appearances. They've hit one home run in the 597 plate appearances that have followed and have gone homerless over their past 448 plate appearances. Their three homers through 16 games matches the franchise-low mark set by the 1937 Boston Braves.
CESPEDES' CANNON NAILS MARKAKIS
With the Braves trailing, 5-2, and men on first and second with two outs in the fifth, Pierzynski roped a single up the middle. With Markakis making the turn toward home, Cespedes fielded the ball and threw a strike home to nab Markakis, a throw that Statcast™ tracked at 93.5 mph. It marked Cespedes' 14th assist since the beginning of last season, good for sixth in the Major Leagues. More >
"Any time you can limit damage and get help like that it's much appreciated, and they were one hit or one throw away from scoring another run or whatever else could have happened," Harvey said. "That was big for us."
WHAT'S NEXT Mets:Steven Matz will attempt to build on a strong outing against the Indians when this series resumes on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. ET. The left-hander threw seven scoreless innings his last time out, allowing just three hits while striking out nine.
Braves: Atlanta will counter with Jhoulys Chacin, who opened the season with 11 consecutive scoreless innings and then surrendered three straight hits to begin Miami's three-run sixth inning on Sunday. Chacin has benefited from a healthy shoulder and a cutter he developed this past winter.