On a night with a lot of good news, I'm afraid I have to lead off with some bad news. Braves starter Kris Medlen left the game in the fifth inning with an arm injury. The initial report is that he has injured his right (pitching) ulnar collateral ligament, better known as the "Tommy John Surgery" ligament. It's possible that he has just strained it and not torn it. A strain would likely require just a few weeks' rest; a tear would mean surgery and a year or so of rehab.
Let's all leave Kris a goodwill message in the comments. He'll be missed for however long he's out. Thankfully for the team's sake, we've got loads of starting pitching depth, so hopefully this injury won't be devastating. OK, on to the rest of the game.
Just as my post predicted, the Braves had the run-scoring mojo working tonight against Mike Pelfrey. Brian McCann got the scoring started by doubling in a run in the first. Medlen gave up single runs in the second and third innings to put the Braves down by a run, but the Braves stormed back in their half of the third. Chipper Jones and McCann hit back-to-back solo homers to give the Braves a 3-2 lead they would not relinquish.
After Medlen was pulled because of his injury, Mike Dunn came on and finished the inning. Dunn then led off the bottom of the fifth with a hustle reached-on-error that could have easily been scored a hit. Two outs later, Chipper walked. McCann followed with his third huge hit of the day, a double that scored Dunn. Jerry Manuel then elected to intentionally walk Eric Hinske (who's sucked this series) to face Matt Diaz. That strategy backfired when Pelfrey hit Diaz on the arm to bring in the Braves' fifth run. That was all she wrote for Pelfrey, who put up his seventh straight start of less than six innings: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R (3 ER), 2 HR, 2 BB (1 IBB), only 1 K, and a -0.381 WPA.
The Braves added on in the sixth thanks to a LOL-worthy display by the Mets defense. The Braves turned one hit and three errors (by Jose Reyes, Ike Davis, and David Wright) into two runs, putting the game effectively out of reach.
The Mets made it 7-3 with an unearned run of their own (thanks to a crazy throw by Omar Infante), but Melky Cabrera hit a solo homer in the eighth to make it 8-3. Kyle Farnsworth needed a million pitches in the ninth, but he came out of it unscathed, securing the Braves' win. Not to mention the series win.
Now, let's hope that Medlen's injury isn't too serious (MRI tomorrow) and that the Braves can sustain some of this momentum into the tough four-game set against the Giants this weekend.
Brian McCann-- 3/5, HR, 2 2B, R, 3 RBI, K, 0.361 WPA
Chipper Jones-- 3/4, BB, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, 0.192 WPA
Mike Dunn-- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K, 0.098 WPA (+ 0.059 WPA hitting)
Mike Pelfrey-- terrible pitching and -0.079 WPA hitting, too
MVP in a Losing Effort
Luis Castillo-- 2/3, BB, RBI, 0.186 WPA (only Met above 0.020)
Chipper's homer (0.136 WPA)
Mac's homer (0.134), first double (0.120), and second double (0.112); three of the top five WPA plays by one guy = impressive
Jason Heyward grounding into a double play in the first (-0.072); not a good day for Jason (0/5, -0.101 WPA)