Mets can't recover from Hefner's short start

Mets can't recover from Hefner's short start

Mets can't recover from Hefner's short start
NEW YORK -- The Braves had pitched 31 consecutive scoreless innings -- and starter Kris Medlen hadn't given up an earned run in 40 1/3 frames -- before Lucas Duda hit an RBI single down the right-field line in the fourth inning. But snapping those streaks was about all that went right for the Mets in Saturday's 11-3 loss at Citi Field.

Atlanta knocked Jeremy Hefner out of the game after just 2 2/3 innings, but not before it could plate five runs on eight hits. The outing was the shortest by a Mets starter since Johan Santana lasted just 1 1/3 innings on Aug. 11, also against Atlanta. Hefner threw 3 2/3 innings of one-run relief after Santana left that game.

"He was off," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "That's his whole game -- command of his stuff -- and he was missing with everything that he was throwing. Missing off the plate when he was falling behind, and when guys like him fall behind, they've got to come in to the big part of the plate, and they can get hurt."

"I just didn't have it, it was one of those days," Hefner said. "And that's a good team. If you leave balls over the middle, they're going to get hit. Just try to do better next time."

Other than Duda's RBI, Medlen -- who was named National League Pitcher of the Month in August -- held the Mets to just one other run, a fifth-inning, pinch-hit home run by Ronny Cedeno. In all, Medlen allowed four hits, walked two and struck out three over six innings. His day came to an end at just 80 pitches after a 75-minute rain delay between the sixth and seventh innings.

As much as the Mets couldn't get their offense going -- Duda added the third and final run with an RBI double in the eighth -- everything seemed to click for Atlanta. Brian McCann entered the game riding an 0-for-17 slump, but broke out in style with a career-high-tying four hits and four RBIs. Freddie Freeman -- who finished 1-for-5 with an RBI -- was on an 0-for-16 skid before his third-inning single.

Atlanta shelled the Mets for 17 hits, including multihit performances by Martin Prado, Dan Uggla, Jose Constanza and McCann. Uggla reached base five times, courtesy of three hits and two walks.

The only member of the Braves' starting lineup -- Medlen included, the pitcher hit an RBI double in the third inning -- not to record a hit was Chipper Jones, who finished 0-for-3 with an RBI but didn't return to the game after the delay. Jones is now 0-for-7 through the first two games of what will be his final trip to New York before he retires at the end of the season.

The three-run performance by the Mets was the ninth consecutive home game in which they have scored three or fewer runs, dating back to Aug. 20 against the Rockies.

Duda finished with two hits and as many RBIs. It marked his third multihit game since rejoining the team late last month.

"Today's the best day that he's swung the bat completely," Collins said.

Duda was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo in late July following a disappointing slump -- 2012 held high expectations after he hit .292 with 10 home runs and 50 RBIs in 100 games last season.

"As we head down to the end of the season, we've got to find out what this guy's going to do for us in the future," Collins said. "Last year, he had such a great debut here. This year, he struggled a little bit. If we get him going offensively, he can be a dynamic offensive player for us."

Of New York's six relievers, four allowed runs. Robert Carson and Jeurys Familia each allowed two, and Manny Acosta and Elvin Ramirez each gave up one. The two runs allowed by Familia were the first of his career -- making his second appearance, he gave up three consecutive singles to open the seventh inning before Prado tacked on two runs with a two-out single.

Adam Rosenbloom is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.