Good pitching and strong fundamental defense are reasons the Atlanta Braves are atop their division. That was evident Monday night in a 2-1 win over the New York Mets to begin a four-game series.
Tuesday, it's Kris Medlen's turn as the right-hander tries to remain unbeaten in his career when facing the Mets.
Jason Heyward's diving catch in left-center field last night robbed pinch- hitter Justin Turner of a tying and possibly winning hit to end the contest. Atlanta, which has the second-best team ERA in the majors, moved seven games clear of Philadelphia atop the NL East.
Medlen can give his team an opportunity to widen the gap, but the right-hander will have to snap a two-start losing streak. Medlen was been shelled for 17 hits and 11 runs -- 10 earned -- over 9 1/3 innings during his skid with losses to the Reds and Phillies.
He's 4-0 with a 1.84 ERA in 17 games (7 starts) when facing the Mets.
Carlos Torres gets another chance in the rotation for the Mets tonight. With Shaun Marcum on the disabled list, Torres will make his second start of the season and just the eighth in his 56th major league appearance. The right- hander gave up a run in five frames in a no-decision at Pittsburgh July 13. This will be his first career start (5th appearance) versus the Braves.
Pinch-hitter Reed Johnson hit the go-ahead single as part of a two-run ninth inning last night to start this four-game series.
Craig Kimbrel had trouble in the bottom of the ninth, but notched his 28th save thanks to Heyward. John Buck was hit by a pitch and pinch-runner Andrew Brown moved to second on a wild pitch. After Omar Quintanilla walked, Turner sent a fly ball to left-center field, but Heyward made a great diving catch to end the game.
"For me, I knew I had to dive off the bat because I didn't think it was in my reach," said Heyward. "As I got closer, well obviously I'm going to try and make the play here with two outs. I got him on a line. If you don't catch it, so be it, but fortunately I was able to get a good enough jump."
Down 1-0 and with Bobby Parnell (5-5) pitching for the Mets, Brian McCann and Evan Gattis hit back-to-back singles to start the ninth, but Dan Uggla hit a grounder towards David Wright, who stepped on third to force pinch-runner Jose Constanza out.
Gattis and Uggla both advanced on a passed ball, putting runners in scoring position. Chris Johnson brought Gattis home with a grounder towards shortstop to tie the game.
Reed Johnson then hit a line drive off a 1-1 fastball to center, giving the Braves the lead.
"I didn't feel like I gave up any hard hit balls, they just unfortunately got through," said Parnell.
Mets starter Dillon Gee's night was spoiled as he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. He allowed two hits and three walks in his outing. For the 27- year-old right-hander, it's his second straight start without giving up an earned run.
Ike Davis went 2-for-4 and drove in the lone run for the Mets, who recorded just five hits.
Atlanta leads the season series, 6-5. The Braves have won nine of the last 11 at Citi Field.