Tejada lifts Mets over Braves 4-3 in 11 innings
By MIKE FITZPATRICK
The Associated Press | July 08,2014
New York’s Juan Lagares celebrates as he scores on Ruben Tejada’s game-winning single during Monday’s game against the Atlanta Braves in New York.
NEW YORK — Curtis Granderson and David Wright are expected to deliver big hits for the Mets. When they get one from Ruben Tejada, it’s a bit of a surprise.
The punchless shortstop singled home the winning run with two outs in the 11th inning, Granderson hit a tying homer in the eighth and New York beat the Atlanta Braves 4-3 on Monday night.
Wright went deep early, Travis d’Arnaud had an RBI double and Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched seven shutout innings for the Mets, who have won three of four on their 10-game homestand following a 1-6 road trip. They took the opener of a four-game series after losing all three to the NL East leaders at Turner Field last week.
“We needed it bad because it was very similar to the game in Atlanta we had a chance to win,” manager Terry Collins said. “So it’s a big game for us to start the series with.”
New York nemesis Freddie Freeman had three hits and a walk for the Braves, who won nine in a row before Sunday’s 3-1 loss to Arizona. Andrelton Simmons singled twice for his sixth straight multihit game.
Mike Minor allowed only two hits in seven innings on a 91-degree night, an encouraging outing for the Atlanta left-hander after he had a 5.21 ERA in his previous eight starts. He was in line for his first win since May 19 before Granderson connected off lefty Luis Avilan with two outs in the eighth to tie it at 3.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was ejected in the bottom of the ninth for arguing a call that was overturned on replay. After much discussion, Eric Campbell was ruled safe at second when replays showed Simmons came off the bag too soon as he took a throw and relayed to first.
The “neighborhood play,” as it’s known, is not reviewable under instant replay rules. But after Collins came out to argue, the umpires determined it was the throw from third baseman Chris Johnson that pulled Simmons away from the bag.
“We reviewed the call because, in our judgment, we felt the throw took the fielder off the bag,” crew chief Mike Everitt told a pool reporter. “That was going to be reviewable.”
Gonzalez vehemently disagreed.
“It was one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen,” he said. “It’s bad interpretation — whoever interpreted it.”
In the end, Shae Simmons pitched out of the jam for Atlanta.
“They got lucky that we didn’t lose the game there,” Gonzalez said.
Juan Lagares doubled off Anthony Varvaro (3-2) with one out in the 11th, and Lucas Duda was intentionally walked before Lagares went to third on d’Arnaud’s long fly to center.
Tejada lined the next pitch up the middle and tossed his helmet aside after rounding first. His jubilant teammates chased him down to celebrate in shallow center field.
“Feels pretty good,” Tejada said.”Stayed positive, keep working.”
Carlos Torres (4-4) pitched two scoreless innings for the win. He has a bruised right hand after deflecting a line drive in the 11th, but X-rays were negative, the Mets said.
Matsuzaka was lifted after 100 pitches, a move that backfired on Collins when Atlanta rallied for three runs with two outs in the eighth.
“I faced them last game, too, and I just know I didn’t make the same mistakes,” Matsuzaka said through a translator.
Freeman doubled off Vic Black with one out and scored from third when reliever Josh Edgin’s first pitch sailed just over Jason Heyward’s head. The ball kicked hard off the backstop and caromed up the third base line, allowing Freeman to come home easily on the wild pitch.
Heyward then singled to center, ending an impressive streak for Edgin. He had retired his first hitter in all 23 outings — a club record to start a season.
Collins went to closer Jenrry Mejia, and Johnson doubled off the top of the center-field fence to tie it 2-all. After an intentional walk to Tommy La Stella, fellow rookie Christian Bethancourt punched a go-ahead single to right.
New York’s improving bullpen had a 1.97 ERA in the previous 21 games.
“I thought we had it set up perfectly,” Collins said. “I said, `We can’t lose another game like this to these guys.’ So I thought it was really big late in the game.”
NOTES: Freeman batted .407 with 18 RBIs in his previous 15 games against the Mets. ... Mets RHP Dillon Gee (strained right lat) will be limited to 90-95 pitches when he comes off the disabled list Wednesday night, Collins said. Gee will start in place of LHP Jonathon Niese, put on the 15-day DL last weekend with a left shoulder strain. ... Collins and GM Sandy Alderson called 2B Daniel Murphy into the office Sunday to tell him he made the All-Star team. “He thought he got traded,” Collins said, drawing chuckles. ... New York wore camouflage caps and jerseys as part of its Military Mondays theme.