Cespedes shows off cannon, nabs runner at plate

Mets slugger exits game in 8th after aggravating bruised right leg on a slide

Cespedes shows off cannon, nabs runner at plate

ATLANTA -- The Braves seemed poised for a comeback in the fifth inning of the Mets' 6-3 victory Friday night.

Mets starter Matt Harvey was hovering around 100 pitches, there were men on first and second with two outs and the Braves' A.J. Pierzynski had already collected two hits on the night. In a three-run ballgame, the Atlanta catcher stepped into the box and roped a ball up the middle for the Braves' second hit of the inning, but they didn't get a chance at any more.

As center fielder Yoenis Cespedes fielded the ball, Nick Markakis made the turn around third base to try to make it a two-run contest.

Cespedes wasn't having it.

The strong-armed outfielder picked up the ball with all his momentum heading toward home and fired a strike on the fly to catcher Travis d'Arnaud, a throw that Statcast™ tracked at 93.5 mph. The ball beat Markakis to the plate, and the Braves' threat was vanquished.

"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."

It marked Cespedes' 14th assist since the beginning of last season, which is good for sixth in the Major Leagues.

Cespedes left the contest before the bottom of the eighth inning after aggravating his bruised right leg on a slide into second base on his RBI double in the seventh. The leg was originally injured when he jumped into the Citi Field stands trying to catch a foul ball last week. The leg began to stiffen up on him, and Juan Lagares took over in center field after a 56-minute rain delay.

Cespedes' RBI double

The center fielder hopes to be in the lineup Saturday behind left-hander Steven Matz.

"Right now [my leg] hurts," Cespedes said. "I hope to be ready by tomorrow, but right now it hurts. ... It's just a bruise. I felt some discomfort and it bothers me whenever I slide, and that's why the discomfort happened."

Connor Smolensky is a contributor to MLB.com based in Atlanta. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.