With the Hurrican Irene doubleheader negating a day off for the Braves Thursday, one may have wondered if the squad would be able to gain any momentum heading into a weekend series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
But after the day was said and done, the Braves showed that they had put the recent week behind them, especially with the showings of Chipper Jones, Martin Prado and the pair of rookie pitchers sent to the mound in Mike Minor and Julio Teheran.
In the opener, things began looking good, as the Braves got on the board with three runs after Chipper Jones got the offense going with a one-out double. After Dan Uggla beat out a double play, Freddie Freeman’s double drove in Chipper and Uggla before Freeman scored on Martin Prado’s infield single.
While Mike Minor watched the offense give him a 3-0 lead, he gave it right back, watching Jason Bay belt a two-strike, two-out grand slam to give the Mets a short-lived 4-3 lead.
But the Met-killer himself, Mr. Larry Jones, showed why he is so hated in the Big Apple, tying the game in the top of the 3rd with a solo homer to right. The Braves were not done there, as with two outs in the inning, Jason Heyward brought Freeman home to give the Braves and Minor a 5-4 lead.
Minor lasted just 5 innings before making way for the bullpen, beginning with Arodys Vizcaino, following by the triple-headed threat of Eric O’Flaherty, Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel.
The Braves added a run in the 8th after Michael Bourn was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, and the Mets added a run of their own on a sac fly in the bottom half of the 8th, but Kimbrel locked down the 9th for his MLB-leading 43rd save.
Minor allowed 4 runs on 7 hits while striking out 2 and walking one, earning his 5th victory of the season.
Before the game, manager Fredi Gonzalez moved Chipper Jones to the two-hole and slid Martin Prado to 6th, hoping to spark the offense. Jones went 2-for-4 in the opener and Prado went 3-for-5, as did Freeman, who is neck-and-neck with Kimbrel for NL Rookie of the Year honors.
In the nightcap, the Braves jumped out to a 1-0 lead after Bourn reached on a Jose Reyes error, stole second, took third on a groundout and scored on a single off the bat of Uggla.
The Mets quickly tied the game, again off the bat of Bay, this time with a sacrifice fly, and the game would remain tied until the 5th, when this time, David Ross came through.
Prado led off the 5th with a double and came around to score on Ross’ single to center, which gave Julio Teheran just the right amount of run support he needed.
Teheran went 5 1/3 innings giving up the lone run on 5 hits while striking out 3 and walking two, earning the first MLB win of his young career. Cristhian Martinez, O’Flaherty and Anthony Varvaro sealed the victory for the Braves, which watched the offense add three more runs, making it a 5-1 win.
Jack Wilson led the 7th off with a double and scored on Chipper’s sacrifice fly, making it a 3-1 game before Ross added to the lead with a solo shot in the 9th before a double from Chipper, just after a Bourn triple, made it a 5-1 game.
Jones went 1-for-4 in the nightcap, as did Prado, but the struggles of Prado had been much scrutinized, even as the versatile player sent the Braves home in walk-off fashion Sunday afternoon against the Dodgers.
In the second game, the Braves registered their first win of the season against Mets starter Dillon Gee, who was 2-0 against them.
Chipper has 48 home runs against the Mets, including the first of his career, and is batting .370 so far in the month of September, who leads the Braves into St. Louis.
Friday nights matchup is Randall Delgado against the Cardinals Edwin Jackson. Saturday will feature Derek Lowe against Jaime Garcia and Sunday will feature Tim Hudson against Jake Westbrook.