Wednesday, July 24, 2013 12:08 am
Medlen struggles in 6th, Braves lose 4-1 to Mets
By HOWIE RUMBERGAP Sports Writer
Controlling the game through five, Medlen struggled in a three-run sixth and Atlanta wasted several early opportunities in losing to the New York Mets 4-1 Tuesday night.
"It was just an inning of missing my spots, falling behind, which I didn't do the entire game," Medlen said.
Medlen retired the first six batters, four on groundballs, before giving up a double just inside the right field line to Juan Lagares to open the third. Carlos Torres (1-1) drove him in with a single through a drawn-in infield to tie it at 1 - Andrelton Simmons led off the game with a homer.
But Medlen lost his touch in the sixth.
Daniel Murphy and David Wright singled leading off. After Charles Johnson lunged toward third base to snare Marlon Byrd's grounder and then throw to second off one knee for the forceout, Ike Davis lined a double off the base of the wall in right field to give New York the lead. Relentlessly booed after bunting back to the mound and striking out in his first two at-bats, the slumping Davis was given a huge ovation as he stood on second base.
"The crowd gets on me no matter what," Davis said. "It's fun for them."
Buck followed with a single to center for a 3-1 lead that chased Medlen. Lagares' flyout to right field added another run.
Medlen (6-10) gave up four runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings. He dropped to 4-1 in 18 outings - eight starts - against New York.
Medlen, who lost his third straight start, is used to the lack of support. Coming in, Atlanta had averaged 2.3 runs while he is in the game.
"It was almost two different pitchers going the first five innings and then going out there in the sixth," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I don't know if it was just command or leaving balls out over the plate, but the swings got better in the sixth than in the first five innings."
The Braves had ample opportunities to pad their lead in the early innings. But they went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position over the first four innings and were 1 for 8 overall. The NL East leaders fell to 2-3 on their seven-game trip.
In the first, Lagares threw out Jason Heyward at home by a large margin to end the inning when he tried to score on Evan Gattis' single to center field.
"Well, the guy made a great play," Gonzalez said. "I mean, Gattis hit a rocket to center field and Lagares makes a nice throw to the plate and cuts down Jason with two outs."
The NL East leaders fell to 2-3 on their seven-game trip. They are 25-29 on the road but 31-15 at home.
"We got to do the little things better. We can't rely on the long ball every day," said Simmons, who hit his 10th homer.
Torres pitched six impressive innings as a fill-in starter for the Mets.
He gave up seven hits, including Simmons' homer on the second pitch of the game. In his second start of the season, Torres pitched out of trouble in the first four innings.
The one run actually caused his ERA to increase to 0.94 in 28 2-3 innings this season - 12 appearances.
The 30-year-old right-hander made his first start for the Mets on July 13, when Matt Harvey was skipped ahead of the All-Star game. With Jonathon Niese on the disabled list because of a partial tear in his rotator cuff and Shaun Marcum out after having shoulder surgery - he was placed on waivers earlier Tuesday - Torres earned another start with a five innings of one-run ball against Pittsburgh.
"We needed somebody to step up, and he stepped up for us," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Bobby Parnell bounced back from wasting a 1-0, ninth-inning lead in a 2-1 loss Monday night to pitch a perfect ninth for his 19th save. The Mets have won seven of 11.
NOTES: Mets RHP Jenrry Mejia will start the opener of a doubleheader in Washington on Friday. The 23-year-old Mejia had Tommy John surgery in June 2011. He made five September appearances last year, but has been on the DL since the end of spring training with elbow inflammation. Collins said: "We wanted him to understand - what he's hearing today about (Zack) Wheeler, (Matt) Harvey, was all about Jenrry Mejia three years ago in the same vain." ... Gonzalez was still gushing about Heyward's game-ending diving catch Monday night, saying it might've been the best catch he's seen all season. ... It was "Star Wars" night at Citi Field. ... There was a sunshower before the game.