Atlanta Braves third baseman Chris Johnson (23) hits a three-run home run against the New York Mets during the 10Tb inning of a game at Citi Field on Wednesday. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
NEW YORK — Chris Johnson was frustrated. A groundout and three strikeouts in four at-bats will do that.
But the Atlanta Braves third baseman didn’t slam a bat or throw a helmet. Instead he came up with a three-run home run in the 10th inning to lift the Braves to a 4-1 come-from-behind win over the New York Mets in the finale of a two-game series Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field.
The Braves have now won 20 of their last 24 games dating back to July 26.
“Hopefully I can draw from this next time I’m having a tough day and just tell yourself to relax, you still can make something good happen,” Johnson said.
Johnson took the first pitch he saw from New York reliever Greg Burke — a slider over the plate — and knocked it over the wall in left field for his 10th home run of the year. It was also Johnson’s second home run of his career in the ninth inning or later to give his team the lead.
“We had guys in scoring position,” Johnson said. “I was trying to be aggressive and hit something hard.”
It was a satisfying end to what Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez called a “weird” game.
“He’s one of those guys that when he has a bad at-bat or something it’s right there and then it goes away and he goes out and plays defense,” Gonzalez said. “He doesn’t let it carry over.”
Atlanta put runners at first and second with two outs in the 10th on back-to-back broken-bat singles by Andrelton Simmons and Freddie Freeman, the later a bang-bang play at first disputed by Mets manager Terry Collins.
Collins and Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy were ejected by first base umpire Jerry Layne following Johnson’s home run for arguing the call at first from the previous play.
“Jerry just said he thought he got it right,” Collins said. “I didn’t have much to say that was very nice.”
“Our difference of opinion started as soon as the ball went in the air,” Murphy said. “He gave me about 90 feet.”
Mets starter Jonathon Niese cruised through five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits. He quickly got the first two outs of the sixth, but then hit Jason Heyward in the right jaw with a fastball.
“It was tough,” Niese said. “I wanted to elevate a fastball, but it kind of ran in on him. Obviously no intent. I just feel bad. It’s every pitcher and hitter’s worst nightmare. I hope he’s OK. … I felt horrible.”
Gonzalez said Heyward, who was bleeding from inside his mouth, never lost consciousness. Heyward was helped off the field and examined by Mets doctors. He was taken to an area hospital for X-rays and further evaluation.
“He was talking the whole time when he got hit with the ball,” Gonzalez said. “Before they took him to the hospital he popped his head into the dugout and said bye to some of the guys. I had a chance to talk to him briefly after that. Hopefully he’s fine.”
After a brief delay, Heyward was replaced by Jordan Schafer, who scored on a single to center by Freeman after a single up the middle by Simmons to tie the score at 1.
In his third appearance against the Mets, Alex Wood gave up one earned run and six hits, striking out four with two walks in six innings for the no-decision. He gave up a solo home run by Josh Satin in the fourth inning that put the Mets in front, 1-0.
“These kinds of days are the ones that will test you and kind of show your true colors if you battle through and don’t really have that great of stuff and I felt I was able to do that,” Wood said of his third appearance against the Mets this season. “That’s a big part of the confidence thing for me, knowing I’m capable of getting through days like today when I don’t have my best stuff.”
NOTES: Mets RHP Jeremy Hefner is seeking a second opinion on his pitching elbow but said he’ll probably need season-ending Tommy John surgery. Hefner, who has a partial of his MCL and bone spurs in his right elbow, will meet with Dr. James Andrews next Monday. “I think I wasn’t leading on as much as I was because I wanted to pitch, I wanted to play. I was doing well,” Hefner said. “Back when I was doing well, I was hurting then, too. When I started to struggle, I was hurting the team so that was the decision to eventually say something.” … Braves OF Justin Upton missed his second straight game with a left upper back strain, although Gonzalez said he was available to pinch hit if necessary Wednesday.