(Sunday, April 8th)
Final Score: New York 7, Atlanta 5
Flushing, NY (Sports Network) - Jonathon Niese, fresh off signing a new five- year, $25.5 million contract, carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and struck out seven as the Mets completed a series sweep of the Braves with a 7-5 victory at Citi Field on Sunday.
New York made franchise history to start its 51st season, as this marks the first time that the Mets opened the season with a three-game sweep over a divisional opponent.
Niese (1-0) allowed four runs -- two earned -- and two hits while walking four before being pulled in the seventh. Dan Uggla started the inning with a walk and Freddie Freeman followed with a single through the right side of the infield to break up the no-hit bid.
"There was quite an adrenaline rush the first couple of innings. I think that's what allowed my fastball command to be a little erratic," said Niese, who walked two in the first frame. "I settled down and got a good feel for the baseball in the third and I just felt good."
The Mets and San Diego Padres remain the only franchises in MLB history without a no-hitter.
Robinson Tejada finished with a career-high four hits and two RBI, Daniel Murphy added two doubles and two RBI and David Wright also knocked in a run for the Mets. Closer Frank Francisco recorded his third save of the season in a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth.
Jason Heyward belted a two-run double in a four-run seventh inning for the Braves, while Brian McCann added a solo shot in the eighth to cap the scoring. Starter Mike Minor (0-1) took the loss, allowing six runs on six hits while walking four in five-plus innings on the mound.
New York struck first as Tejada led off the home half of the first with a double off the base of the wall in left field. Murphy then grounded out to second, advancing Tejada to third, before Wright lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to give the Mets an early 1-0 lead.
In the fourth, Murphy roped a leadoff double to right-center field before Wright and Ike Davis each drew walks to load the bases with nobody out. Jason Bay then belted a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Murphy, but Wright was doubled up at third after trying to tag and Lucas Duda popped out to shallow center field, letting Minor off the hook with just one earned run in the frame.
The Mets broke the game open in the home half of the fifth as Niese helped his own cause with a two-out single that barely stayed fair, followed by a single from Tejada to put runners on first and second. Murphy then sent a fastball the other way, scoring Niese and Tejada to make it 4-0, as Murphy slid in safely with his second double of the game.
Minor was chased in the home half of the sixth after walking Bay to start the inning and yielding a single to Duda to put runners on first and second with no outs. Cristhian Martinez entered and Scott Hairston blasted his second pitch off the base of the wall in left for an RBI double, making it 5-0 Mets.
Martinez struck out the next two Mets, but Tejada's second double of the day plated two more, pressing the lead to 7-0.
After Freeman ended the no-no in the seventh, the Braves finally got on the board as Matt Diaz sent a routine fly ball to right field, but Duda lost the ball in the sun and was charged for an error that scored Uggla. Heyward kept the rally going, lacing a two-run double into right-center field and sending Niese to the showers with a 7-3 lead.
Manny Acosta entered for Niese and, after Heyward stole third, Jack Wilson stroked a sacrifice fly to left, plating Heyward and bringing the Braves within 7-4.
McCann kept the comeback bid alive in the eighth, belting a solo shot over the right-field wall to account for the final margin.
"We're really close," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "We see guys getting good at bats, we see guys getting good passes but we just haven't been able to keep the line moving."
The Braves have lost eight straight games dating back to last season after losing the final five games of 2011 to cap a monumental collapse for Atlanta...Atlanta was 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left three men on base...New York stranded seven runners while going 3-for-9 with RISP.
04/08 18:30:52 ET