Mets’ Matz hopes to continue success against Braves

The New York Mets hope left-hander Steven Matz will continue his upward track and maintain his long-time trend against the Atlanta Braves.

Matz (2-3, 3.80) will start for New York on Tuesday against Atlanta’s Anibal Sanchez (1-0, 1.29) in the third game of a four-game series at Atlanta’s SunTrust Park.

The teams split a double-header on Monday, the Braves winning the first game and the Mets taking the nightcap, which didn’t end until 1:30 a.m. due to a two hour and 57-minute rain delay.

Matz has limited the opposition to one or fewer runs in three of his four starts in May. In his last outing on May 24, Matz fired six scoreless innings and allowed four hits in six innings. It was his longest stint of the season.

“I’m feeling more comfortable out there and am able to attack the zone a little bit more,” Matz said after his last start.

The southpaw is 4-0 with a 2.97 ERA in six career starts against the Braves. Matz has 27 strikeouts and five walks in 36 1/3 innings in his career against Atlanta. He has not faced the Braves this season, missing a start when he missed time with stiffness in his back.

The Mets are trying to be patient with Matz, who had season-ending surgery on his left elbow last August to relieve irritation in his ulnar nerve. Sanchez will make his first start since going on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain on April 18. Sanchez suffered the injury while running in the outfield between starts.

He had made three appearances for the Braves, who he joined in spring as a free agent. In his most recent start on April 13, Sanchez threw six scoreless innings against the Chicago Cubs, striking out six. In two rehab appearances with Triple-A Gwinnett, Sanchez went 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA.

In 12 career starts against the Mets, Sanchez is 4-5 with a 4.08 ERA. He last faced New York in 2016 and allowed one hit over eight innings.

The Braves continue to show late-inning resilience. They have four walkoff wins and scored two runs in the ninth to beat the Mets in the first game of Monday’s doubleheader on Charlie Culberson’s walkoff homer.

“We need to have games like this,” Culberson said. “We need to have games where we’re battling and down and then come out on top at the end. That makes for a fun season.”

The Braves got some good news on Monday regarding rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. He suffered a mild ACL sprain in his left knee and a lower back contusion and was placed on the 10-day disabled list. He will be re-evaluated, but is expected to miss only two weeks and could return for the series against Los Angeles on June 8-10.

The Mets placed reliever A.J. Ramos (right shoulder strain) and infielder Wilmer Flores (sore lower back) on the 10-day disabled list on Monday. They activated catcher Kevin Plawecki, who had been on the DL since April 12 with a fractured left hand, and right-hander Hansel Robles, who had been out since May 9 with a sprained right knee.

New York recalled infielder Phillip Evans from Triple-A Las Vegas and optioned catcher Tomas Nido to Double-A Binghamton.