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Mets ride 5-run 4th, hold off Braves in opener

May 1, 2017

ATLANTA -- Michael Conforto provided early indication this night might be a little different for Julio Teheran, and then he further frustrated the Braves ace during a five-run fourth inning that gave the injury-depleted Mets a much-needed lift in claiming a 7-5 win at SunTrust Park on Monday night."It's good

ATLANTA -- Michael Conforto provided early indication this night might be a little different for Julio Teheran, and then he further frustrated the Braves ace during a five-run fourth inning that gave the injury-depleted Mets a much-needed lift in claiming a 7-5 win at SunTrust Park on Monday night.
"It's good to be back on the winning side," Conforto said, referencing the Mets' 23-5 loss Sunday on the heels of Noah Syndergaard's injury that sent him to the DL. "Yesterday was frustrating, but we put it in the past. I think this group can move on from that, and rebound a little bit."
Conforto began the game with his third career leadoff homer (all hit within the past 11 days) and added a two-run single during the decisive fourth inning against Teheran, who had entered this game having allowed just five earned runs over his past seven starts (49 1/3 innings) against the Mets.

Ender Inciarte answered Conforto's leadoff homer with one of his own, making them the first players to hit one in the same game since the Rockies' Charlie Blackmon and D-backs' Jean Segura did so on Sept. 14, 2016.
But the Braves were never able to overcome their early deficit against Mets starter Robert Gsellman, who allowed five earned runs and six hits over five-plus innings. Matt Kemp delivered a double in both the two-run fourth inning and two-run sixth inning.
"It was a rough [fourth inning], but it is what it is," Kemp said. "We tried to come away with more for [Teheran] today, but we fell short. We'll get back at it tomorrow."
Sudden eruption: Teheran retired nine straight following Conforto's homer, but he ran into trouble after he began the fourth inning with consecutive curveballs to Asdrubal Cabrera, who laced the second to right field to account for the first of three consecutive hits to open the frame. Four batters reached safely before the first out was recorded on Jose Reyes' RBI groundout. T.J. Rivera's RBI single and Conforto's two-run single accounted for the last of the five hits surrendered in the inning by the Braves starter, who had allowed five hits or less in each of his past nine starts against the Mets.
"There's no doubt I'm feeling good at the plate," said Reyes, who has three home runs in the last five days and a seven-game hitting streak, lifting his average from .095 to .178. "Early in the season, I was chasing a lot of bad pitches. Right now I feel like I'm looking for a pitch, and when I get it, I'm putting a good swing on the ball."

Bad bounce: When Freddie Freeman opened the bottom of the sixth inning with a double, the Braves further regretted what happened the previous inning. With runners at first and second and Freeman at the plate, Gsellman uncorked a wild pitch that bounced directly back to catcher Travis d'Arnaud as Inciarte was nearing second base, and Teheran -- who was on second -- had not made a motion toward third base. An ensuing rundown ended the inning and prevented Freeman from possibly taking advantage of the scoring opportunity.
"That's just some tough luck right there," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "We've got Freddie up there and who knows if he doubles there like he did leading the [sixth] inning off? But Julio did a good job of putting on the brakes because he'd have been out when the ball came back to [d'Arnaud]. I think Ender saw him go so far, he just took off."

"I won't put myself in that category, yet." -- Conforto, laughing, when asked when he turned into Rickey Henderson as a leadoff man
"Nothing was working. My changeup backed up a little bit that [fourth] inning. I think it was just one bad inning that I had. I threw everything. Whenever you don't have your stuff, you have to battle." -- Teheran, who has allowed 13 earned runs over his past 10 innings (two starts) at SunTrust Park
Inciarte raced 78 feet toward right-center field before making a leaping grab of what would have been an extra-base hit for Reyes in the second inning. The ball had a 38 percent catch probability, according to Statcast™, making it a 4-star play (includes catch probabilities between 26-50 percent). Inciarte has been successful with 14 of 25 4-star plays since the start of the 2016 season.

A total of 75 seconds elapsed for the reviews conducted after consecutive plate appearances in the fourth inning. The Mets gained a quick answer when replay confirmed Gsellman hit Freeman's pant leg with a pitch.

Then a crew chief review showed Kemp's long drive that followed did indeed hit the yellow padding at the top of the center-field wall and bounce back in play, resulting in a double. Both Freeman and Kemp ended up scoring later in the inning.

A third review took place in the ninth inning, when Juan Lagares attempted to stretch a one-out hit into a double. Second-base umpire Larry Vanover called Lagares safe, and replays could not conclusively show that shortstop Dansby Swanson ever tagged him.

Mets:Matt Harvey, who said he "wasn't physically prepared" to make his last start on short notice in place of Noah Syndergaard, will return to the mound on regular rest for the Mets' 7:35 p.m. ET game Tuesday against the Braves. Harvey matched his career high with five walks in his last start, allowing six runs.
Braves:R.A. Dickey will face his former team when Atlanta and New York resume this four-game series on Tuesday. Dickey beat the Mets on Thursday, but exited after five innings with a sore left quad muscle.
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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for since 2001.