Brian McCann was one of nine Braves to strike out in Tuesday’s opener of a doubleheader against the Mets. In all, Mets pitchers Matt Harvey, LaTroy Hawkins and Bobby Parnell hurled 16 strikeouts.
ATLANTA — Matt Harvey is hard enough to hit after a full night’s sleep. When you’ve had just a few hours, it’s nearly impossible.
Such was the case Tuesday, when the right-hander took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and struck out a career-high 13. But the New York Mets had to survive a near bullpen implosion to defeat the Atlanta Braves, 4-3, Tuesday in the first game of a split double-header.
Bobby Parnell got out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth and then pitched around a one-out single in the ninth for his 10th save, as the Mets avoided a second straight disheartening loss.
Harvey (6-1) allowed three hits before departing in the eighth inning after 116 pitches, but just one left the infield.
He baffled Braves hitters with his breaking ball and overmatched them with a fastball that reached triple digits.
Johan Santana’s no-hitter last season against the St. Louis Cardinals was the first in Mets history, and it looked like Harvey had the stuff to throw a second against the weary Braves.
The teams took the field for the 1:10 p.m. game less than 12 hours after the Braves’ walk-off 2-1 victory in the rain-plagued series opener. That game didn’t begin until 10:53 p.m. after a three hour and 43 minute rain delay, and ended at 1:22 a.m. on Freddie Freeman’s two-run homer.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez slept in his office and players were offered downtown hotel rooms if they preferred not to drive home to the suburbs. Until the eighth inning, it looked like more players should’ve taken advantage of the generosity.
Harvey’s no-hit bid ended when Jason Heyward sent a swinging bunt down the first-base line leading off the seventh. Harvey couldn’t make a tag and flipped to an uncovered first base as Heyward dove in safely.
Harvey, who had lost to St. Louis despite giving up just one run in his previous start, was pulled after he walked Gerald Laird to open the eighth, then allowed an infield hit by Dan Uggla and a line single by Andrelton Simmons to load the bases with none out.
LaTroy Hawkins gave up a two-run single to Jordan Schafer with one out and Heyward made the score 4-3 with a two-out double off Scott Rice. But Parnell came in after an intentional walk and struck out Chris Johnson with the bases loaded.
Harvey struck out six straight from the third to the fifth inning, quickly reaching double figures in strikeouts for the sixth time in his brief career. He tied his high of 12 strikeouts by fanning Reed Johnson to close the sixth.
The Braves’ only base runners through six innings came on second-inning walks to Uggla and Schafer.
Rookie left-hander Alex Wood, who had made six relief appearances since being promoted from Double-A in late May, started for Atlanta and allowed a run in his third and final inning as Daniel Murphy raced home from second base on Marlon Byrd’s infield hit.
Cory Rasmus, the Braves’ extra pitcher for the double-header, replaced Wood and John Buck hit his third pitch deep into the left-field seats. It was Buck’s 12th homer of the season, but just his third since he tied a Mets record with nine in April. His last homer had come May 24 against the Braves.
The Mets added two crucial runs on one hit in the eighth inning off David Carpenter, the fourth of five Braves pitchers. Pinch-hitter Jordan Valdespin walked with the bases loaded to force in Byrd, who had doubled, and Omar Quintanilla, who had broken a 0-for-22 streak with a single in the seventh, followed with a sacrifice fly.
Notes: Braves C/LF Evan Gattis, who leads all major-league rookies with 14 homers and 37 RBIs, was placed on the DL with a right oblique strain suffered when he tried to check his swing in the seventh inning Monday. … INF Tyler Pastornicky was recalled by the Braves from Triple-A Gwinnett to take Gattis’ roster spot. … Mets INF Justin Turner was placed on the DL and RHP Scott Atchison activated. Turner, mired in an 8-for-50 slump, has a left intercostal strain. Atchison had been on the DL since May 14 with elbow inflammation. … RHP Zack Wheeler, the Mets top prospect, was recalled from Las Vegas to start the night game of the split double-header. He was 4-2 with a 3.93 ERA in 13 Triple-A starts, striking out 73 in 68 2/3 innings. … The makeup afternoon game was necessitated by a May 4 rainout.
Mets take Game 2 of doubleheader in Wheeler's debut
ATLANTA -- Zack Wheeler lived up to the hype, just like Matt Harvey had for the New York Mets in his major-league debut last season.
Wheeler, New York's top prospect, pitched six scoreless innings and the Mets completed a sweep of the Atlanta Braves with a 6-1 victory Tuesday night in the second game of a split doubleheader.
Harvey took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and struck out a career-best 13 as the Mets won the afternoon game 4-3.
Wheeler, who grew up just outside Atlanta and was pitching before a large group of family and friends, gave up four hits, walked five and struck out seven before departing after 102 pitches.
Harvey had allowed three hits over 5 1/3 scoreless innings in his debut last July 26 during a victory at Arizona, striking out 11 and walking three.
Wheeler finished his first game strong, striking out Dan Uggla and getting Chris Johnson to pop up after a single by B.J. Upton and walk to Brian McCann in the sixth.
Then Anthony Recker gave the Mets the lead in the seventh inning with a two-run homer. The backup catcher picked on a 3-1 slider from Paul Maholm and blasted his second home run of the season over the centerfield fence.
Maholm (7-6) allowed nine hits, walked two and struck out seven.
Atlanta scored in the bottom of the inning, but the Mets got four runs in the eighth against Anthony Varvaro on four hits, two walks and a pair of errors.
Marlon Byrd had three hits for the Mets and was 5-for-7 with two walks in the doubleheader.
Wheeler, who turned 23 on May 30, had been in the spotlight with Harvey since being acquired from San Francisco for veteran outfielder Carlos Beltran before the trade deadline in 2011. The sixth overall pick in the 2009 draft out of East Paulding High School northwest of Atlanta was 4-2 with a 3.93 ERA in 13 starts for Triple-A Las Vegas, striking out 73 in 68 2/3 innings.
Wheeler walked two in the first inning while throwing just eight of his 23 pitches for strikes and passed two more in the third inning after allowing a double to Uggla in the second. Johnson had a two-out single in the fourth, and a double play after a leadoff hit by Andrelton Simmons in the fifth gave Wheeler his first inning facing just three batters.
In the afternoon game, Harvey (6-1) didn't allow a hit until Jason Heyward's squib down the first-base line leading off the seventh inning, and he had a stretch of six straight strikeouts.
"He loves to face huge challenges," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "And with all the attention to Zack, he might have said, 'I'm still the guy here.'"
Just one of the three hits off Harvey left the infield and he had a knee-buckling breaking ball to go with a fastball that reached 100 mph.
"It's definitely one of those games where I thought (a no-hitter) was possible a little bit more than the other ones," said Harvey, who had taken two no-hit bids into the seventh inning earlier this season. "I was striking out a lot of guys, and they weren't putting the ball in the outfield too often. Anytime that's going on, you think in the back of your mind that this is possible."
"Guys like that, with that kind of stuff, they're going to flirt with no-hitters from time to time," Heyward said. "It's not going to be a surprise to anybody."
But the Mets had to hold on as the Braves finally began to solve the 24-year-old right-hander. Bobby Parnell struck out Johnson with the bases loaded to end the eighth inning and worked around a single in the ninth to record his 10th save.
The teams were back on the field for the 1:10 p.m. game less than 12 hours after the Braves' walk-off 2-1 victory in the rain-plagued series opener. The game didn't begin until 10:53 p.m. after a rain delay of 3 hours and 43 minutes and it was 1:22 a.m. when Freddie Freeman hit his two-run homer.
NOTES: Braves C/LF Evan Gattis, who leads all major-league rookies with 14 homers and 37 RBI, was placed on the disabled list with a right oblique strain suffered when he tried to check his swing in the seventh inning Monday. ... INF Tyler Pastornicky was recalled by the Braves from Triple-A Gwinnett to take Gattis' roster spot. ... Mets INF Justin Turner was placed on the DL and RHP Scott Atchison activated. Turner, mired in an 8-for-50 slump, has a left intercostal strain. Atchison had been on the DL since May 14 with elbow inflammation. ... It rained hard shortly after the conclusion of the afternoon game, but the skies cleared before the start of the nightcap. ... The doubleheader was necessitated by a May 4 rainout.