NEW YORK -- As it turns out, all the Braves needed to silence the Mets' homer-happy offense was a heavy dose of Matt Wisler. Backed by Mallex Smith's first career homer, Wisler held the Mets hitless into the fifth inning Tuesday, and scoreless through eight in a 3-0 win at Citi Field.
"I know where they are, and I know they're struggling as a team," Mets manager Terry Collins said of the Braves. "But the kid pitched pretty good tonight, and you're going to run into that."
Though he allowed just the one hit -- an Asdrubal Cabrera single -- in eight innings, Wisler was not necessarily overwhelming on a foggy night at Citi Field. He worked around two walks, a hit batsman and a Freddie Freeman fielding error, striking out four and inducing a pair of double plays.
"I'm proud of the guys," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said after his team won for the third time in its past five games."They gave us good at-bats, and we kept getting [Mets starter Matt Harvey] deep in counts and kept getting good at-bats against him. But I think Wisler was the name of the game today. He was really, really, really good."
It was the type of outing that Harvey, battling through an illness that required him to receive fluids before the game, could not deliver. Though Harvey kept the Braves scoreless through four innings, he allowed Smith's replay-aided homer in the fifth before falling to pieces in the sixth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Ace-like performance: Wisler has shown signs that he has the potential to develop into a frontline starter, but Tuesday's 106-pitch effort was the most impressive outing thus far by the young right-hander, who now has a 1.55 ERA in four starts against the Mets. He induced just four groundball outs, but two of them resulted in a double play, including the one Curtis Granderson hit into to end the third inning.
"It was a good team effort," Wisler said. "I think I was a little more effectively wild tonight. I wasn't locating as well as I probably could have. I felt good on the mound, and my defense made some great plays for me when I needed it." More >
Harvey danger: Though Harvey was able to skate in and out of trouble for much of the early evening, everything unraveled for him in the sixth. Three hits, a walk and two wild pitches drove Harvey's pitch count up to 100, where it sat when Smith chased him with a two-out single. It was the fourth time in six starts that Harvey was unable to complete six innings.
"I think there's just a lot of things going on," Harvey said. "Right now I'm not feeling good with my mechanics, not feeling good throwing the ball. It's frustrating. I'm the one who's most frustrated with what's going on." More >
Mallex's power and A.J.'s legs: Smith's first career homer (13th as a pro) provided the Braves an early lead and just their sixth home run of the season. Veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski then provided some insurance and entertainment as he raced around the bases in the sixth inning. Pierzynski scored Kelly Johnson with a double, sprinted to third base when Reid Brignac lined out to center and then raced home on a wild pitch. More >
One and done: If not for Cabrera's fifth-inning single, the Mets would have found themselves on the wrong side of a no-hitter for the third time in the past calendar year. Cabrera has hit safely in 14 of the last 18 games he has started.
"That's kind of the way the game goes sometimes," Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki said. "Tonight was just one of those nights. We had a lot of balls hit hard and hit them right to guys."
MALLEX'S UNIQUE FIRST
When Smith tells tales of his first career home run, he can discuss how he sprinted toward third base with what would have been his first triple and then was permitted to trot home with what became his first career homer. A replay review that lasted 57 seconds showed that the opposite-field fly ball Smith delivered with one out in the fifth inning hit above the orange line atop the outfield wall in the left-field corner.
WHAT'S NEXT Braves:Jhoulys Chacin will take the mound when Atlanta and New York conclude this three-game set on Wednesday at 1:10 p.m. ET. Chacin has allowed three earned runs or less in each of his first four starts, but he has not yet completed more than six innings.
Mets: It has taken Steven Matz three starts to shrink his ERA from 37.80 to 3.86, going 3-0 with a 0.93 mark in the process. The rookie left-hander will look to continue squashing his stat line when the Mets and Braves meet Wednesday for a rubber game at Citi Field.