Wednesday, August 21, 2013 2:45 am
Beachy pitches well into 6th, Braves fall to Mets
By BEN WALKERAP Baseball Writer
Beachy (2-1) got off to another sharp start before fading, and Atlanta fell to rookie Zack Wheeler and the New York Mets 5-3 Tuesday night. The Braves had won all four of his previous outings since he had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow 14 months ago.
Beachy retired 10 straight hitters in the early innings, and limited the Mets to an unearned run on two hits - a bad-hop single and a bunt - through the fifth.
"I was hitting spots. When I'm hitting spots and getting ahead, putting guys on their heels a little bit, mixing it up well, pretty effective," he said. "But just ran into a buzzsaw there in the sixth inning."
Marlon Byrd's two-run homer capped a three-run burst for a 4-0 lead, and the Mets hung on.
"I felt like I threw a pretty good pitch there he just hit it. Good job by him," Beachy said.
Wheeler beat the NL East leaders for the third time, pitching shutout ball into the seventh.
Wheeler improved to 3-0 this year against the team with the best record in the majors. Helped by his midseason promotion from Triple-A, the Mets hold an 8-7 edge over the Braves.
Byrd and Ike Davis homered and speedy Eric Young Jr. sparked the Mets, stealing two bases, scoring twice and making a diving catch in left field. Catcher Travis d'Arnaud doubled for his first hit in the majors, ending an 0-for-10 rut.
The Mets handed Atlanta only its fourth loss in 23 games. The Braves had won seven straight series - the best they now can do is split this two-game set.
Wheeler (6-2), raised in the Atlanta suburbs, defeated the Braves at Turner Field in his big league debut in June, then topped them at Citi Field in July.
Coming off a 12-strikeout performance at San Diego, the 23-year-old righty came out zinging fastballs in the upper 90s mph. He was one strike away from throwing seven scoreless innings - instead, he left with the bases loaded and two outs, and reliever Carlos Torres gave up Andrelton Simmons' three-run double.
Wheeler allowed six hits, struck out five and walked three. He drew a nice ovation when manager Terry Collins pulled him, and walked to the dugout with his head down.
Wheeler briskly trotted toward the mound to begin the seventh with a 4-0 lead. He quickly retired the first two batters before Paul Janish doubled and pinch-hitter Joey Terdoslavich walked. Wheeler got ahead of Jason Heyward at 1-2, but wound up walking him in a nine pitch at-bat to load the bases.
Collins signaled for Torres, and soon the game nearly was tied. Simmons cleared the bases with his double into the left-field corner and kept going to third when shortstop Omar Quintanilla sailed his relay home.
Torres backed up the play and caught the errant toss in the air, yet almost cost himself with a wild toss toward third that second baseman David Murphy alertly tracked down.
Reliever Scott Rice retired Freddie Freeman on a fly ball to protect the 4-3 lead. LaTroy Hawkins pitched the ninth for his fifth save.
Byrd hit his career-best 21st homer and second in two days. Davis added an insurance run in the eighth with a drive into the top rows of the upper deck in right.
Young reached on Simmons' throwing error from shortstop to lead off the first, stole second and scored on Davis' two-out single. Young beat out a clever push bunt toward Simmons to start the sixth and stole his career-high 28th base.
NOTES: Heyward made a sparkling catch in right-center, diving onto the warning track to rob Juan Lagares of extra bases. ... Atlanta LF Justin Upton was a late scratch. He has a strain in his upper left back. Evan Gattis took Upton's place. ... Braves LHP Paul Maholm (bruised left wrist) is set to come off the DL and start Thursday night at St. Louis. ... Braves LHP Alex Wood (2-2, 2.61) starts Wednesday vs. Mets LHP Jonathon Niese (5-6, 4.25).