After battling back against one of the top bullpens in all of baseball, the New York Mets take aim at a third straight victory on Saturday night when they visit the Atlanta Braves in the middle contest of a three-game series.
Braves relievers lead the majors with a collective 2.30 earned run average, but closer Craig Kimbrel blew his second save of the season and Jordan Walden was charged with a pair of runs allowed in the 10th inning of a 7-5 loss to the Mets on Friday night.
Atlanta catcher Evan Gattis hit a solo homer in the eighth inning to put his club up by a run, but New York's David Wright connected on a solo shot of his own off Kimbrel in the ninth.
"Against him its just close your eyes, swing hard and hope you hit," said Wright. "He's as dominant as anyone in the game, so really you just got to hope that he makes a mistake or you really don't have much of a chance."
Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy both drove in runs in the following frame and Jeurys Familia recorded his first career save as the Mets won their second straight following a six-game slide.
John Buck stroked a two-run homer and Lucas Duda and Marlon Byrd each added solo shots in the victory.
Andrelton Simmons drove in a pair of runs for the suddenly struggling Braves, losers in seven of their last nine games. Justin Upton had a sacrifice fly and Juan Francisco drove in a run, but left the game in the third inning with a sprained ankle.
Looking to grab a series win, the Mets hope that Niese can avoid a third straight losing decision on Saturday night.
Niese made the 100th start of his career on Sunday versus the Phillies, but was charged with a 5-1 defeat after giving up three runs -- one earned -- on six hits and a walk over 6 2/3 frames. The lefty fell to 2-2 on the season with a 3.31 ERA.
Niese, 26, has been very successful over his career against the Braves. He went 3-1 with a 2.00 ERA versus them a season ago in four starts and is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three outings at Turner Field.
Young right-hander Julio Teheran makes his sixth start of the season for the Braves tonight.
Teheran allowed 13 runs over his first three outings of the season -- all no- decisions -- before beating the Colorado Rockies on April 23 with seven innings of one-run ball. He had another solid outing on Monday in his club's 3-2 win over the Washington Nationals, yielding two runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 frames without a decision.
The 22-year-old is 1-0 with a 5.08 ERA on the year and will make his second career start versus the Mets. The first came back on Sept. 8, 2011 and Teheran picked up a victory while allowing a run over 5 1/3 frames. He did face New York eight days later in relief and was tagged for four runs in 2 2/3 innings of work.
The Braves won 12 of 18 versus the Mets a season ago, winning seven of nine at home.