Mets angered by call, lose to Braves 4-1 in 10

With two outs and nobody on, it appeared the New York Mets were

pretty safe in the 10th inning.

Two ejections and a pair of pitching changes later, they were

down by three runs with All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel coming out of

the bullpen for the Atlanta Braves.

”Baseball’s fast sometimes,” Mets reliever Greg Burke said.

”Stuff happens quick – and it did.”

Chris Johnson hit a three-run homer off Burke in the 10th

inning, and Atlanta beat the Mets 4-1 on Wednesday after Braves

outfielder Jason Heyward was hit in the right jaw by a pitch.

Heyward went down in a heap during a scary scene in the sixth.

With blood in his mouth, he was examined by Mets doctors and taken

to a hospital for X-rays. The NL East leaders were still awaiting

results after the game.

Four innings after Heyward was hit, the Braves benefited from a

disputed call at first base.

Andrelton Simmons singled off Scott Atchison (3-2) with two

outs, and Freddie Freeman hit a two-strike grounder that ticked off

the bottom of Scott Rice’s glove and rolled behind him. The

reliever retrieved the ball and fired to first, where Freeman was

called safe.

Mets manager Terry Collins came out to argue with umpire Jerry

Layne. Johnson then launched a drive to left field on Burke’s first

big league pitch since he was recalled from the minors Sunday.

”We were trying to come in there on Chris. We’d been doing it

all game. It was basically where I wanted to put it,” Burke said.

”It was up a little bit. I went back and looked, it was off the

plate, but I guess there’s a reason why the guy’s hitting

.300.”

Johnson, who began the day second in the NL in batting at .334,

struck out his previous three times up.

By the time Johnson crossed the plate, Layne had ejected New

York second baseman Daniel Murphy. Collins came out for a more

vehement argument this time, tossed his hat to the ground and was

thrown out by Layne, as well.

”We had a difference of opinion,” Murphy said. ”Right or

wrong, I’d prefer not to get thrown out right there. But I think

tensions were running high, and mine boiled over.”

Collins walked back to the dugout without retrieving his cap,

leaving it there in the dirt by Layne’s feet.

”Jerry just said he thought he got it right. I didn’t have much

to say that was very nice,” Collins said. ”I went out to protect

Murph. I couldn’t get him back in the game, so I might as well come

up with him.”

The crowd of 22,935 gave Layne a derisive cheer when he called a

Mets runner safe in the bottom of the 10th.

Atlanta, with baseball’s best record and a huge division lead,

got an RBI single from Freeman and another impressive start by

rookie Alex Wood in splitting the two-game series for its 20th

victory in 24 games.

Citi Field, however, has been a danger zone for the Braves all

summer. Veteran pitcher Tim Hudson broke his ankle against the Mets

last month on a gruesome play at first base, ending his season.

”It’s not the ballpark, it’s just a matter of freak stuff

happening. It can happen anywhere,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez

said.

Heyward’s grandparents were at the ballpark and accompanied him

to the hospital, along with trainer Jeff Porter. Heyward and Porter

stayed behind in New York as the Braves traveled to St. Louis for a

four-game series that begins Thursday night.

”He never lost consciousness. Right before he went to the

hospital he popped his head into the clubhouse to say goodbye to

some of the guys,” Gonzalez said.

Luis Avilan (5-0) pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the

ninth, and Craig Kimbrel reached 40 saves for the third straight

season. He has converted 30 chances in a row, extending his club

record.

Simmons and Freeman each had three hits.

Josh Satin homered for the Mets, and Jonathon Niese struck out a

season-high nine for the second consecutive start. Rookie center

fielder Juan Lagares turned in his latest defensive gem with an

outstanding throw to cut down Simmons trying to stretch a one-out

single in the fourth, Atlanta’s first hit off Niese.

Heyward was struck by a 90 mph fastball from Niese in the sixth.

The impact made a loud noise, and the crowd groaned as Heyward

crumpled to the ground.

He stayed down on his back for about three minutes before

getting helped to his feet. Heyward walked slowly off the field

under his own power, escorted by a trainer, and was replaced by

Jordan Schafer.

Visibly concerned, Niese tapped himself with his glove as

Heyward walked off, and Heyward appeared to acknowledge him.

Perhaps a bit shaken, Niese then gave up singles to Simmons and

Freeman in a three-pitch span as Atlanta tied it at 1.

NOTES: New York went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position.

… Mets C John Buck was 0 for 3 with an intentional walk in his

first start since returning from paternity leave. … Mets RHP

Jeremy Hefner, expected to have Tommy John surgery soon, said he is

scheduled to see Dr. James Andrews on Monday for another opinion on

his injured elbow. ”Just to make sure I cover all my bases and do

what’s best for my career,” Hefner said. … New York’s weekend

series against AL Central-leading Detroit includes a rematch of

All-Star game starters at Citi Field: Max Scherzer (18-1, 2.82 ERA)

faces Mets ace Matt Harvey (9-4, 2.25) in a nationally televised

game Saturday. … Satin has reached base safely in all 29 of his

starts this season, the fourth-longest streak in the NL. … Wood

went six innings in his seventh major league start – three against

the Mets.