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Wheeler, Mets complete doubleheader sweep of Braves

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 and the Mets completed a sweep of the Atlanta Braves with a 6-1 victory Tuesday night in the secondgame 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 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 center field 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 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 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's Heyward's squib down the first base line leading off the seventh inning and 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 Chris Johnson with the 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: 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 innings. ... The makeup afternoon game was necessitated by a May 4 rainout.

Comments

kevin 10 months ago

Braves do not have hardly any consistent hitters that know what a clutch hit is. The only way the majority of this team can hit a pitch is if it hit them. They just swing at air every game. Horrible % for hitting with men on base. Even rookies are betting the Braves. Just look at the offense's total runs over the last 2 series. A disgrace. Ant eh head coach just says the same old "stock" talk after a game. I would like to know the amount of money that this year's team is getting paid. The will never last through playoffs without consistent hitting and pitching. This is what you get with poor drafting and trading. At least 2 starters on the field and 2 starting pitchers and relievers go now. If the Braves keep them any longer, it will be only to send them to AA.

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