Mets Lose To Braves
By MIKE FITZPATRICK
AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ With two outs and nobody on, it appeared the New York Mets were pretty safe in the 10th inning.
Two ejections and a pair of pitching changes later, they were down by three runs with All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel coming out of the bullpen for the Atlanta Braves.
“Baseball’s fast sometimes,” Mets reliever Greg Burke said. “Stuff happens quick _ and it did.”
Chris Johnson hit a three-run homer off Burke in the 10th inning, and Atlanta beat the Mets 4-1 on Wednesday after Braves outfielder Jason Heyward sustained a broken right jaw when he was hit by a pitch from Jonathon Niese.
Heyward went down in a heap during a scary scene in the sixth. With blood in his mouth, he was examined by Mets doctors and taken to a hospital for X-rays.
Hours after the game, the NL East leaders announced that Heyward had two fractures in his jaw and will undergo surgery Thursday in Atlanta. The team said it will have an estimated time frame for his return following the operation.
“I wanted to elevate a fastball but it just kind of ran in on him. Obviously no intent,” Niese said. “I felt horrible. This game can be pretty dangerous.”
Four innings after Heyward was hit, the Braves benefited from a disputed call at first base.
Andrelton Simmons singled off Scott Atchison (3-2) with two outs, and Freddie Freeman hit a two-strike grounder that ticked off the bottom of Scott Rice’s glove and rolled behind him. The reliever retrieved the ball and fired to first, where Freeman was called safe.
Mets manager Terry Collins came out to argue with umpire Jerry Layne. Johnson then launched a drive to left field on Burke’s first big league pitch since he was recalled from the minors Sunday.
“We were trying to come in there on Chris. We’d been doing it all game. It was basically where I wanted to put it,” Burke said. “It was up a little bit. I went back and looked, it was off the plate, but I guess there’s a reason why the guy’s hitting .300.”
Johnson, who began the day second in the NL in batting at .334, struck out his previous three times up.
By the time Johnson crossed the plate, Layne had ejected New York second baseman Daniel Murphy. Collins came out for a more vehement argument this time, tossed his hat to the ground and was thrown out by Layne, as well.
“We had a difference of opinion,” Murphy said. “Right or wrong, I’d prefer not to get thrown out right there. But I think tensions were running high, and mine boiled over.”
Collins walked back to the dugout without retrieving his cap, leaving it there in the dirt by Layne’s feet.
“Jerry just said he thought he got it right. I didn’t have much to say that was very nice,” Collins said. “I went out to protect Murph. I couldn’t get him back in the game, so I might as well come up with him.”
The crowd of 22,935 gave Layne a derisive cheer when he called a Mets runner safe in the bottom of the 10th.
Atlanta, with baseball’s best record and a huge division lead, got an RBI single from Freeman and another impressive start by rookie Alex Wood in splitting the two-game series for its 20th victory in 24 games.
Citi Field, however, has been a danger zone for the Braves all summer. Veteran pitcher Tim Hudson broke his ankle against the Mets last month on a gruesome play at first base, ending his season.
“It’s not the ballpark, it’s just a matter of freak stuff happening. It can happen anywhere,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Heyward’s grandparents were at the ballpark and accompanied him to the hospital, along with trainer Jeff Porter. Heyward and Porter stayed behind as the Braves traveled to St. Louis for a four-game series that begins Thursday night.
“He never lost consciousness. Right before he went to the hospital he popped his head into the clubhouse to say goodbye to some of the guys,” Gonzalez said.
Luis Avilan (5-0) pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth, and Craig Kimbrel reached 40 saves for the third straight season. He has converted 30 chances in a row, extending his club record.
Simmons and Freeman each had three hits.
Josh Satin homered for the Mets, and Niese struck out a season-high nine for the second consecutive start. Rookie center fielder Juan Lagares turned in his latest defensive gem with an outstanding throw to cut down Simmons trying to stretch a one-out single in the fourth, Atlanta’s first hit off Niese.
Heyward was struck by a 90 mph fastball from Niese in the sixth. The impact made a loud noise, and the crowd groaned as Heyward crumpled to the ground.
He stayed down on his back for about three minutes before getting helped to his feet. Heyward walked slowly off the field under his own power, escorted by a trainer, and was replaced by Jordan Schafer.
Visibly concerned, Niese tapped himself with his glove as Heyward walked off, and Heyward appeared to acknowledge him.
Perhaps a bit shaken, Niese then gave up singles to Simmons and Freeman in a three-pitch span as Atlanta tied it at 1.
NOTES: New York went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position. … Mets C John Buck was 0 for 3 with an intentional walk in his first start since returning from paternity leave. … Mets RHP Jeremy Hefner, expected to have Tommy John surgery soon, said he is scheduled to see Dr. James Andrews on Monday for another opinion on his injured elbow. “Just to make sure I cover all my bases and do what’s best for my career,” Hefner said. … New York’s weekend series against AL Central-leading Detroit includes a rematch of All-Star game starters at Citi Field: Max Scherzer (18-1, 2.82 ERA) faces Mets ace Matt Harvey (9-4, 2.25) in a nationally televised game Saturday. … Satin has reached base safely in all 29 of his starts this season, the fourth-longest streak in the NL. … Wood went six innings in his seventh major league start _ three against the Mets.
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