Streaking Braves send Sheets to mound vs. Mets
Ben Sheets makes his first major league start in nearly two years when the Braves aim to complete a three-game sweep of the New York Mets.
Sheets, who was signed to a minor league contract on July 1, has not pitched professionally since 2010, when he went 4-9 with a 4.53 earned run average in 20 starts for the Oakland Athletics. His last start was July 19 that season.
The right-hander, who will turn 34 on Wednesday, made a pair of starts for Double-A Mississippi and went 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA. A four-time All-Star, Sheets is 90-92 with a 3.79 ERA over nine years with Milwaukee and Oakland. He's 4-2 in eight starts vs. the Mets.
Johan Santana has struggled throughout his career against the Braves with a 3-7 record, but has received little run support as evidenced by a 2.53 ERA in 14 career games vs. Atlanta. The lefty is coming off his worst start of the season on July 6 when he gave up a career-high tying 13 hits along with a season-high seven runs over 4 2/3 innings.
Yesterday, Jason Heyward drove in the go-ahead run as part of a three-run eighth inning, lifting the Braves to an 8-7 win.
"What a game to win. You go ahead, they come back," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "They've got a bunch of guys offensively that just don't give at-bats away. They just keep battling."
Michael Bourn and Martin Prado had consecutive RBI singles off Bobby Parnell (2-2) prior to Heyward's at-bat, a single to right. Freddie Freeman hit a two- run double among his three hits and Bourn added a pair of RBI for the Braves, who extended their winning streak to six games. Eric Hinske also knocked in a pair of runs in the victory.
"I didn't feel my best coming off that break, but it's just little adjustments," Parnell said. "Unfortunately things didn't go the way we wanted them...But it's just little things, nothing big."
Anthony Varvaro (1-0) notched his first major league win with a scoreless inning in relief and Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth to record his 27th save of the season.
Ruben Tejada drove in a pair of runs and Andres Torres added three hits for the Mets, who have dropped three straight.
These teams have split eight meetings this season with Atlanta winning the last four.