Atlanta's Relief Corps Falters, Mets Outlast Braves In 10 Innings

Butch Dill

Mike Minor recovered after a shaky start, but the Mets took advantage of a rare off day by Atlanta's stellar bullpen to win in extras.

I suppose even the best bullpens have an off day now and then.

A rare bullpen meltdown cost Mike Minor a chance at a win, and the Mets hit four home runs in dropping the Braves 7-5 in 10 innings.

The game started off on the wrong foot for Minor. First, he gave up a two-run homer to John Buck in the first inning and then another to Lucas Duda leading off the second. After that, though, Minor settled in and was unhittable. He retired 18 straight hitters following Duda's home run, finishing with four strikeouts in seven innings.

Minor's good work would allow Atlanta to battle back. In the third inning, B.J. Upton led off with a double off Shaun Marcum and scored easily on Juan Francisco's single to center. Francisco would have to leave the game later that inning when he rolled his right ankle leading off second base.

In the fifth inning, Atlanta loaded the bases on two singles and a walk to Jordan Schafer, one of four he drew in the game. Andrelton Simmons singled home Ramiro Pena, subbing for Francisco, from third and Justin Upton's sacrifice fly tied the game at three.

Simmons brought home the go-ahead run in the seventh against reliever Scott Atchison. Ramiro Pena was at third with one out and the Mets defense tried turning a double play on Andrelton's grounder, but Simmons reached safely and Pena scored.

But those Mets wouldn't go away. To start the eighth inning, Eric O'Flaherty served up a game-tying home run to Marlon Byrd. Evan Gattis would quickly change that, though, with a long home run to center in the bottom of the eighth to regain the lead for Atlanta and Craig Kimbrel in the ninth, but he too was victimized by the home run ball. David Wright took him out to right-center with one out to tie the game yet again.

Atlanta's offense couldn't cash in Ramiro Pena's leadoff double in the ninth; a fly ball to center by Jordan Schafer wasn't deep enough to score Pena from third and the game headed to extras.

Jordan Walden was summoned to stop the Mets in the 10th. He retired Duda and Byrd to start before the inning fell apart on him: he walked Jordany Valdespin and plunked Mike Baxter before Ruben Tejada made him pay with a single to center, scoring Valdespin. Daniel Murphy added an RBI single to put the Braves in deeper.

Atlanta had no answer in the bottom of the 10th in dropping their third in a row and seventh in nine games.

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