Wheeler, Harvey lead Mets to doubleheader sweep of Braves - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Wheeler, Harvey lead Mets to doubleheader sweep of Braves

Posted: Updated:
Atlanta Braves center fielder B.J. Upton, right, and left fielder Justin Upton, left, collide in the outfield catching the ball to end the 4th inning in the 2nd baseball game of the doubleheader against the New York Mets Tuesday. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland) Atlanta Braves center fielder B.J. Upton, right, and left fielder Justin Upton, left, collide in the outfield catching the ball to end the 4th inning in the 2nd baseball game of the doubleheader against the New York Mets Tuesday. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

ATLANTA (AP) — Zack Wheeler lived up the hype in his major league debut, pitching six scoreless innings to lead the New York Mets to a 6-1 victory over the first-place Atlanta Braves and a doubleheader sweep on Tuesday.

Wheeler gave up only four hits and struck out seven while consistently reaching the upper 90s on the radar gun. He struggled a bit with his control, walking five, but got out of every jam.

It was a long day that gave New York's long-suffering NL fans hope for a brighter future, led by two of baseball's most dynamic young pitchers. In Game 1 of the doubleheader, 24-year-old Matt Harvey (6-1) struck out a career-high 13 to lead the Mets past the Braves 4-3.

Wheeler's performance was especially sweet since it came not far from where he grew up and came to prominence as a high school star at East Paulding High School in Atlanta's northwest suburbs before going in the first round of the 2009 amateur draft.

New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler pitches in the fifth inning in the second baseball game of a doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves Tuesday, June 18, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

He was cheered on by dozens of family and friends, who roared loudly from their seats behind the Mets dugout. Also watching from a second-row seat behind home plate was former Braves star Chipper Jones, who has the same agent as Wheeler and tweeted him a good luck message before his first start.

Wheeler was shaky in the first, walking two while throwing 23 pitches — only eight for strikes. Catcher Anthony Recker strolled to the mound to offer encouragement, and pitching coach Dan Warthen trotted out when Wheeler overthrew a pitch to B.J. Upton, the ball sailing far out of the strike zone.

But Upton grounded out to end the threat, and the 23-year-old right-hander — the first child of the 1990s to play for the Mets — steadied himself by striking out the side the next inning.

Recker, hitting just .158 coming into the game, broke up the scoreless duel between Wheeler and Paul Maholm (7-6) in the seventh, crushing his second homer of the season over the center-field wall to put the Mets ahead 2-0.

The Braves responded with a run of their own in the bottom half on Justin Upton's sacrifice fly against Brandon Lyon.

But New York broke it open with a four-run eighth against Anthony Varvaro, taking advantage of some shaky defense. The Braves made two errors on one play when Varvaro's pickoff throw to second base was low, skidding into center field, and B.J. Upton let it slide under his glove while racing into back up the play. Marlon Byrd came all the way around to score by the time Upton retrieved the ball.

Juan Lagares added an RBI single and Omar Quintanilla finished off the Braves with a two-run hit.

It was a tough day for Upton. In the fifth, he collided with younger brother Justin after catching a fly ball to left-center. Both were knocked to the ground but weren't hurt. B.J. gave his sibling a playful shove on their way back to the dugout.

In the opener, Harvey fanned six in a row at one point and didn't allow a hit until Jason Heyward's fluke infield single leading off the seventh. The right-hander tired in the eighth as the Braves tried to rally for the second straight game.

Trailing 4-0, Atlanta scored three runs and had the bases loaded before Bobby Parnell, the fourth Mets pitcher of the inning, fanned Chris Johnson to end the threat. Parnell earned his 10th save with a scoreless ninth.

John Buck homered for the Mets.

"Certain days you wake up and you feel good and you can let it go," Harvey said. "Today was one of those days."

The Mets had scored only 18 runs in Harvey's previous 10 starts while he was in the game. Largely because of that, he had eight no-decisions in a stretch of nine appearances before a hard-luck 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in his last outing, snapping a stretch of 14 consecutive starts without a loss dating to his final appearance of 2012.

"He has electric stuff," Atlanta's Dan Uggla said. "He was throwing everything for strikes on both sides of the plate."

Atlanta opened the five-game series with its 21st comeback win of the season, a rain-delayed 2-1 victory that ended at 1:22 a.m. — less than 12 hours before the start of the start of the day-night doubleheader.

Dillon Gee took a 1-0 lead to the ninth, but Freddie Freeman won it for the Braves with a two-run homer. Only Kansas City has more come-from-behind victories than the Braves.

But the Mets erased the memory of that stunning loss behind their two young guns.

The Braves didn't come close to a hit off Harvey through six innings, their only baserunners on a pair of walks in the third. Finally, Heyward reached safely on perhaps the weakest ball hit off the New York starter all day — a slow dribbler up the first-base line.

Harvey came off the mound to field it and flipped to first base, but there was no one there to catch it. Lucas Duda, making just his second start of the season at first, charged in and left the bag uncovered.

New York padded its lead with two runs in the eighth, just enough to hold off the Braves. In the bottom half, Gerald Laird walked, Uggla reached on a bad-hop single and Andrelton Simmons knocked out Harvey with Atlanta's first clean hit, a sharp single between shortstop and third base.

Jordan Schafer singled off LaTroy Hawkins to bring in two runs, and Heyward's run-scoring double off Scott Rice made it 4-3. After Rice intentionally walked Freeman to load the bases, Parnell came on to strike out Johnson.

The Braves fanned 16 times in Game 1.

Atlanta rookie Alex Wood (0-1) lost in his first career start, lasting only three innings and struggling with his control.

NOTES: Harvey eclipsed his previous career high of 12 strikeouts in a May 7 game against the Chicago White Sox. ... Quintanilla snapped an 0-for-22 slump with a seventh-inning single in Game 1. ... New York RHP Scott Atchison, just off the DL, was supposed to take over for Wheeler in Game 2. But the reliever injured his right groin while warming up and left the game without throwing an actual pitch. ... The Mets swept the Braves in a doubleheader for the first time since Sept. 6, 2006, at Shea Stadium.

___

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

  • Auburn University SportsMore>>

  • Auburn QB Nick Marshall pays $1,100 in fines for marijuana possession, window tint violations in Georgia

    Auburn QB Nick Marshall pays $1,100 in fines for marijuana possession, window tint violations in Georgia

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:33 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:33:03 GMT
    Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has paid the fines for possession of a small amount of marijuana and a window tint violation.More >>
    Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has paid the fines for possession of a small amount of marijuana and a window tint violation.
    More >>
  • CB Chris Westry commits to Auburn

    CB Chris Westry commits to Auburn

    Thursday, July 24 2014 2:22 PM EDT2014-07-24 18:22:20 GMT
    Auburn added some size to the future of it's defensive backfield.Cornerback Chris Westry of Oakleaf High School in Florida committed to be part of the Tigers recruiting class of 2015. The 6-foot-4, 180 pound Westry is a three-star prospect according to 247Sports.Oakleaf High School announced the commitment on it's twitter page,2015 DB Chris Westry has committed to Auburn #WarEagle --Oakleaf Football ?, July 24 Westry is the 18th commitment for Auburn's 2015 signing class.More >>
    Auburn added some size to the future of it's defensive backfield.Cornerback Chris Westry of Oakleaf High School in Florida committed to be part of the Tigers recruiting class of 2015. The 6-foot-4, 180 pound Westry is a three-star prospect according to 247Sports.Oakleaf High School announced the commitment on it's twitter page,2015 DB Chris Westry has committed to Auburn #WarEagle --Oakleaf Football ?, July 24 Westry is the 18th commitment for Auburn's 2015 signing class.More >>
  • Josh Donaldson nominated for MLB Heart and Hustle Award

    Josh Donaldson nominated for MLB Heart and Hustle Award

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-07-23 22:37:43 GMT
    Josh Donaldson earned the Oakland A's Heart and Hustle Award. It's the second consecutive season Donaldson was chosen for the honor.More >>
    Josh Donaldson earned the Oakland A's Heart and Hustle Award. It's the second consecutive season Donaldson was chosen for the honor.More >>
  • All other Local CollegesMore>>

  • Samford picked to finish third in Southern Conference

    Samford picked to finish third in Southern Conference

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 8:38 PM EDT2014-07-24 00:38:39 GMT
    Coming off it's first trip to the FCS Playoffs, Samford was picked to finish third in the Southern Conference, the highest the program has even been picked in the preseason since it joined the league in 2008.More >>
    Coming off it's first trip to the FCS Playoffs, Samford was picked to finish third in the Southern Conference, the highest the program has even been picked in the preseason since it joined the league in 2008.More >>
  • Alabama State, Southern favorites in SWAC

    Alabama State, Southern favorites in SWAC

    Friday, July 18 2014 5:11 PM EDT2014-07-18 21:11:55 GMT
    Defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champion Southern and Alabama State are the favorites to win their divisions.More >>
    Defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champion Southern and Alabama State are the favorites to win their divisions.
    More >>
  • JSU football picked by media to win OVC championship

    JSU football picked by media to win OVC championship

    Friday, July 18 2014 4:08 PM EDT2014-07-18 20:08:13 GMT
    Jacksonville State is picked to win the Ohio Valley Conference championship by media covering the league.More >>
    Jacksonville State is picked to win the Ohio Valley Conference championship by media covering the league.
    More >>
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Alabama's Tax-Free Weekend Starts Friday

    Alabama's Tax-Free Weekend Starts Friday

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 7:13 AM EDT2014-07-29 11:13:26 GMT
    Alabama's Tax-Free Weekend will kick off this Friday and end on Sunday. During that time, shoppers can purchase school supplies, clothing and computers without paying the state's sales tax on it.More >>
    Alabama's Tax-Free Weekend will kick off this Friday and end on Sunday. During that time, shoppers can purchase school supplies, clothing and computers without paying the state's sales tax on it.More >>
  • Abuse suspect dead; 2 marshals, NY policeman hurt

    Abuse suspect dead; 2 marshals, NY policeman hurt

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 3:35 AM EDT2014-07-29 07:35:44 GMT
    Authorities say a sex-assault suspect got in a shootout with law enforcement in New York City that wounded the suspect, two federal marshals and a police officer.More >>
    A California man who skipped town after being accused of molesting a boy was killed and three law enforcement officers trying to arrest him were wounded in a daytime shootout inside a small smoke shop in one of New...More >>
  • Homewood City Council denies hotel an extension to continue operating

    Homewood City Council denies hotel an extension to continue operating

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:27 PM EDT2014-07-29 03:27:21 GMT
    A Homewood hotel plagued by problems must close by the end of the week. City leaders considered an extension for America's Best Value Inn and Suites, but denied the request.More >>
    A Homewood hotel plagued by problems must close by the end of the week. City leaders considered an extension for America's Best Value Inn and Suites, but denied the request.More >>
  • Two shot at Tuscaloosa apartment complex

    Two shot at Tuscaloosa apartment complex

    Two shot at Tuscaloosa apartment complex

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:53 PM EDT2014-07-29 02:53:43 GMT
    A female juvenile and an adult male were shot around 7pm at Forrester Gardens Apartments in 1300 James Harrison Pkwy.More >>
    A female juvenile and an adult male were shot around 7pm at Forrester Gardens Apartments in 1300 James Harrison Pkwy.More >>
  • Pike Road woman named new ASU Trustee

    Pike Road woman named new ASU Trustee

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:27 PM EDT2014-07-29 02:27:11 GMT
    Gov. Robert Bentley has appointed Pam Ware of Pike Road as a trustee of Alabama State University.A spokeswoman for the governor says Ware replaces Elton Dean of Montgomery, who resigned last week at the request of the governor.Ware is an Alabama State graduate who works as manager of intergovernmental affairs at the Business Council of Alabama.Also on Monday, the governor scheduled a special meeting for the Alabama State trustees on Aug. 8. A spokeswoman for the governor says topics to be dis...More >>
    Gov. Robert Bentley has appointed Pam Ware of Pike Road as a trustee of Alabama State University.A spokeswoman for the governor says Ware replaces Elton Dean of Montgomery, who resigned last week at the request of the governor.Ware is an Alabama State graduate who works as manager of intergovernmental affairs at the Business Council of Alabama.Also on Monday, the governor scheduled a special meeting for the Alabama State trustees on Aug. 8. A spokeswoman for the governor says topics to be dis...More >>
  • Principal address several job openings at Minor High School

    Principal address several job openings at Minor High School

    Monday, July 28 2014 8:14 PM EDT2014-07-29 00:14:34 GMT
    Students in Jefferson County return to school next week. Parents with kids at Minor High School wonder who will teach them and which classes they'll take. One emailed ABC 33/40 asking us to help get answers.The parent told ABC 33/40 through email, there are 20 vacancies on the staff and no counselors on the payroll Minor High. Principal Dr. JuntaAnnn acknowledged she is in a hiring blitz, but there's more to the story."Minor High School is a well-kept secret," said Dr.Annn.Dr.Annn is aware on...More >>
    Students in Jefferson County return to school next week. Parents with kids at Minor High School wonder who will teach them and which classes they'll take. One emailed ABC 33/40 asking us to help get answers.The parent told ABC 33/40 through email, there are 20 vacancies on the staff and no counselors on the payroll Minor High. Principal Dr. JuntaAnnn acknowledged she is in a hiring blitz, but there's more to the story."Minor High School is a well-kept secret," said Dr.Annn.Dr.Annn is aware on...More >>
  • Commissioner Brown asks for end to vote challenge

    Commissioner Brown asks for end to vote challenge

    Commissioner Brown asks for end to vote challenge

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:27 PM EDT2014-07-28 23:27:52 GMT
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown stood with her attorneys and supporters.More >>
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown stood with her attorneys and supporters.
    More >>
  • Rebuilding continues in Bessemer for homes, park hit by tornado

    Rebuilding continues in Bessemer for homes, park hit by tornado

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:06 PM EDT2014-07-28 23:06:51 GMT
    Rebuilding efforts continue in Bessemer three months after a tornado hit central Alabama.Volunteers are now fixing houses that were destroyed to help families return home.More >>
    Rebuilding efforts continue in Bessemer three months after a tornado hit central Alabama.Volunteers are now fixing houses that were destroyed to help families return home.More >>