Three Cuts: Heyward's catch, late rally lift Braves by Mets

BY foxsports • July 22, 2013

Taking three cuts after the Braves' 2-1 win over the Mets at Citi Field Monday.

With a steady rain falling, pinch-hitter Reed Johnson drove Bobby Parnell's fastball to center field, scoring Dan Uggla as Johnson emphatically pumped his fist.

A half inning later, Jason Heyward, who slipped over to center from his usual position of
right field until B.J. Upton returns from the disabled list, came at
full stride as Justin Turner's potential game-tying hit looked poised to drop. But the Gold Glove-winner extended his 6-foot-5 frame, robbing
Turner to seal the victory.

"I knew I had to dive off the bat, because I didn't think it was in my reach" Heyward said. "Obviously I'm going to try to make the play with two outs and the game on the line. If you don't catch it, so be it. Fortunately I was able to get a good enough jump."

Once again, the Braves pulled off a come-from-behind win, scoring twice in the top of the ninth to pull even with Royals for the most in the majors with 30. It was the 15th time that they did it in their final at-bats.

Just like another one of those rallies, it came at the expense of Dillon Gee.

The Mets starters dominated (see below), leaving with a 1-0 lead. But with runners at first and second and one out, Parnell's pitch went high off catcher John Buck's glove, allowing the Braves to move into scoring position. Chris Johnson delivered, scoring Evan Gattis on a groundout and a batter later, Reed Johnson put Atlanta ahead.

It was a scenario Gee had seen before as he took the Braves to the ninth facing a 1-0 deficit June 17, but Freddie Freeman's two-run home run gave Atlanta the win.

While Monday's victory didn't end in walk-off fashion, it did end with an impressive play, one that Reed Johnson had a close-up view of in left center.

"Not only full extension but he picked it off the ground as well," he said. "That's a huge play and he's playing a position he doesn't usually play. You put those things together and you can't ask for anything more."

Gee took his no-hit bid into the seventh inning before Freeman ended it with a leadoff single up the middle. It was reminiscent of June 18, when Matt Harvey pitched six hitless innings before Jason Heyward's infield single broke it up -- and overall it was a continuation of the problems Atlanta has had against the Mets' starters.

In their last five meetings, the Mets rotation has kept the Braves scoreless twice, allowing three runs in two other starts, which includes Harvey's flirtation with a no-no. New York has a 3.54 ERA in those games and won three of five.

Luckily for the Braves they don't have to face Harvey this time around, but Tuesday they will get their first look at reliever-turned-starter Carlos Torres, who gave up one run on five hits over five innings n his debut July 13. Then Wednesday they'll have to face Jeremy Henfer, who outside of an eight-hit outing in his July 19 start, has a 1.76 ERA dating back to June 4 and the series ends Thursday against phenom Zack Wheeler (3-1; 3.58 ERA).

New York is sitting 11 games behind the Braves in the National League East, where Atlanta has a seven-game lead over all. But with eight more games between the rivals, including three more in this series, it could help the Braves' division title hopes immensely if they could figure out the Mets' starters and avoid needing to rely on further late heroics.  

It was a strong outing for Julio Teheran, who allowed four hits and one run in seven innings while striking out six and walking two in 90 pitches. But it's an outing that could have looked even more impassive if not for some defensive miscues.

Gattis' miscue allowed Ike Davis to double, while Justin Upton's attempted slide on a Marlon Byrd hit to right turned a single into a triple and an eventual run. Add in a questionable call on an Daniel Murphy's infield hit in the third inning and Teheran yielded just one clean hit, Davis' RBI single to right in the fourth.

It's worth noting Gattis has played 84 innings in the outfield this season with zero defensive runs saved and it's it's been a rough year defensively for Upton. His minus-6 DRS are the worst of his career, as is his minus-8.4 ultimate zone rating.

But thanks to the ninth-inning rally, Teheran (7-5) did avoid suffering back-to-back losses for the first time this season.