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Torres undone by Braves in three-run seventh

By GEORGE HENRY Associated Press

Publication: The Day

Published September 04. 2013 4:00AM
John Bazemore/AP Photo
New York Mets pitcher Carlos Torres wipes his face after giving up a two-run home run to Atlanta's Andrelton Simmons in the seventh inning of Tuesday's game in Atlanta. The Braves won, 3-1.

Atlanta — Mets manager Terry Collins didn't hesitate to let starting pitcher Carlos Torres bat in the seventh with runners on first and third.

It all unraveled for New York in the bottom half of the inning when Evan Gattis and Andrelton Simmons homered off Torres, but Collins was proud of his pitcher's performance.

"Look where he was in that point in the game, and he was cruising," Collins said. "They're dangerous so you can't make any mistakes. He gave us a chance. We just couldn't put up any runs."

The Mets wasted a solid start by Torres, managing just one run off Atlanta starter Kris Medlen in a 3-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night.

New York has dropped three straight and nine of 13.

Medlen pitched seven strong innings and the surging Braves used three relievers to close out New York for their second straight victory.

The Braves have won 20 of 24 at Turner Field to improve the major leagues' best home record to 51-19.

In the seventh, Gattis, who was recalled earlier in the day after a three-game stint at Triple-A Gwinnett, tied it at 1-all with his 16th homer. After Torres walked Dan Uggla on nine pitches, Simmons hit his 13th homer to make it 3-1.

Torres gave up seven hits, three runs and one walk. He tied career highs with six strikeouts and seven innings pitched.

"He was using his fastball a lot," Simmons said. "He came at us fastball, cutter, fastball, fastball. Fortunately, Danny got him tired, and he was leaving it a little more over the middle. Before he was spotting up more, so I was fortunate to get one over the middle."

Medlen (12-12) allowed seven hits and one run while striking out nine.

Braves closer Craig Kimbrel converted his 34th straight save opportunity and improved to 44 for 47 this season. He struck out Juan Lagares and Matt den Dekker, allowed a single to Omar Quintanilla and retired pinch-hitter Justin Turner on a groundout.

The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the sixth on Daniel Murphy's RBI double with one out, but Medlen limited the damage on Josh Satin's groundout and Lucas Duda's strikeout.

In the seventh, Collins let Torres bat with runners at first and third, but the pitcher struck out and soon gave up the lead.

Torres dropped to 2-1 but has a 1.77 ERA in seven career games, including two starts, against Atlanta.

"That's baseball," Torres said. "Unfortunately, baseball usually comes down to one or two pitches, one or two at-bats, and that's the way it goes."

Medlen erased his first two runners in scoring position — Eric Young Jr. in the first and Duda in the fourth.

After Young tripled over Gattis' head in left field in the sixth and scored on Murphy's double, Medlen escaped further damage when Josh Satin grounded out and Duda took a called third strike.

Duda doubled with two out in the fourth, getting stranded on d'Arnaud's strikeout, but his average dropped to .169 in 59 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Gattis, who went 3 for 3, spent the previous three days at Triple-A Gwinnett to get some at-bats. The NL's rookie of the month winner for April and May had slumped in August, but he seemed to correct his issues by going 6 for 13 in three games at Gwinnett.

Gattis took four pitches from Torres before crushing a cutter into the seats in left-center field. It was his first homer since the Braves' 8-2 victory at New York on July 24 — a span of 70 at-bats, but Atlanta still leads the NL with 159 long balls.

"They can all hit a homer," Collins said. "That's why they've been winning. They can score quick and fast."

Atlanta has won 29 of its last 38 games and has rallied for 41 victories, best in the NL.

• Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said RF Jason Heyward, on the 15-day disabled list with a broken jaw, met with a doctor Tuesday and has been cleared to play catch and hit balls off a tee. ... Medlen is 2-1 with a 3.20 ERA and has 29 strikeouts in 25 1-3 innings in four starts against the Mets this year. ... Collins said before the game that he expects RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka will make his next scheduled start Sunday at Cleveland. Matsuzaka is 0-3 with a 10.95 ERA in three starts with New York. ... Collins added 1B Ike Davis, sidelined for the fourth straight with a strained right oblique, was in New York to see a doctor. ... Braves OF Jordan Schafer grounded out as a pinch-hitter for Medlen in the seventh. Schafer went 4 for 5 on Monday before leaving the game early with a sore back.

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