video thumbnail

LAD@ATL: Minor strikes out nine through six frames

The Mets avoided Jason Heyward during their first meeting with the Braves this season -- he was still recovering from an emergency appendectomy performed on April 22.

On Saturday night at Citi Field, New York starter Dillon Gee can expect to see plenty of the 23-year-old right fielder as he and the rest of Atlanta's left-handed weapons look to stay hot. But first, the Braves and Mets have some unfinished business to take care of.

Friday night's series opener was suspended after eight innings and will resume at 6:10 p.m. ET on Saturday, with the score tied, 5-5, after both teams scored two runs in the eighth inning. The second game of the series is scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m., or 30 minutes after the suspended game is completed.

Gee has squared off against Heyward more than any other left-handed hitter during his four-year career as a starter, and Heyward has gotten the better of the matchup. In 19 plate appearances, Heyward is 6-for-12 with a home run and five walks.

Atlanta's left-handed hitters came into the weekend series hitting .273 against right-handers this season, and five of the Braves' seven hits in Friday night's action came from the left side. Over a weekend series in which the Mets will not be able to send out staff ace Matt Harvey or lefty Jon Niese against the National League East leaders, they need the right-handers that fill out their rotation to rise to the level of the competition.

In 47 career appearances against the Mets, Heyward is hitting .262 with six home runs, and his 26 RBIs are the most he's produced against any team. Heyward was hitting just .121 when he was sidelined in April, but he has hit .269 in the seven games since his return from the disabled list.

Heyward isn't the only lefty who has victimized the New York pitching staff. First baseman Freddie Freeman helped Atlanta split a rain-shortened series with his three-RBI day in a 9-4 win on May 5, and he sent a towering two-run home run to right field Friday night. Catcher Brian McCann went 2-for-4 and boosted his batting average to .302 on Friday.

Braves: Minor finding a groove
• Mike Minor will start the second game of the series Saturday night, looking to join Paul Maholm for the team lead with six wins. Since exiting June 2012 with a 6.20 ERA, Minor has compiled a 2.43 ERA and limited opponents to a .200 batting average over 24 starts. After struggling against New York earlier in his career, he has turned his fortunes around, allowing just three runs in 13 1/3 innings over his past two starts against the Mets.

He has delivered a quality start in seven of his nine appearances this season, scattering three hits over six innings in his most recent start before a 33-minute rain delay ended his afternoon in Atlanta's 5-2 comeback win over the Dodgers.

"I felt good, felt better after the first couple of innings," Minor said on Sunday. "I couldn't get the 1-through-5 guys, couldn't really do anything with them, but after the second time through the lineup, I started making better pitches to them."

• Rookie Evan Gattis lined a two-run single up the middle in the top of the eighth on Friday to up his total to eight pinch-hit RBIs this season.

Mets: Four more K's for Davis
• Ike Davis' struggles at the plate continued on Friday. The first baseman went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts and has just one hit and 18 strikeouts in his last 12 games, a span of 45 plate appearances.

"What we're just trying to do right now is worry about today, get him through today, try and get him to have a good series against the Braves," manager Terry Collins said of Davis before Friday's game. "The rest of it will take care of itself if he starts swinging like he's capable of."

• Former Brave Rick Ankiel is hitting .343 since signing with the Mets on May 13, four days after being released by the Astros. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Friday.

• John Buck hit his 11th home run of the season in the fourth inning on Friday.

Worth noting
• Braves right-hander Brandon Beachy moved one step closer to returning from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery when he threw a four-inning rehab start for Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday night, allowing two hits and two runs. Beachy is expected back with the Braves in mid-June.

• Gee is 3-2 with a 3.13 ERA in eight career starts against Atlanta. On April 16, 2012, he held the Braves to one run over seven innings, allowing only four hits and a walk.

• The Braves have scored four or more runs in seven of Minor's nine starts.

MLB.com Comments