video thumbnail

NYM@ATL: Lagares brings home Murphy with a single

ATLANTA -- Eric Young Jr. did exactly what a leadoff hitter is supposed to do on Thursday night. He got the offense going.

Behind three hits and three stolen bases from Young, the Mets claimed their second straight series victory by defeating the Braves, 6-4, at Turner Field. The Mets have won four of their past six games since starting the year 0-3.

"I just try to get on base and cause havoc," Young said.

Mets manager Terry Collins loves that havoc, and knew Young had it in him, even during the left fielder's 4-for-26 slump to begin the season.

Young's performance, Collins said, could leave him with a tough decision when injured outfielder Chris Young (right quad) eventually returns from the 15-day disabled list.

"When he gets on base, he scores runs," Collins said. "He showed it again tonight. He scored three runs and stole three bases. He got on base and creates things, makes things happen."

Young led off the first, third and fifth innings with hits, setting the stage for four of New York's six runs on the night. He stole a base in his first two times on base and swiped his third bag in the eighth after reaching on a fielder's choice.

The final stolen base put Young in position to score on a Daniel Murphy double for a crucial insurance run that put the Mets ahead 6-4.

When asked about his mindset on the basepaths, Young was coy.

"I can't really tell you everything," Young said. "People will start paying attention."

The one run Young was not involved with was the decisive one. Murphy, however, was again at the center of the scoring.

Murphy led off the seventh with a single, advanced to second and scored on a single by Juan Lagares, who has now hit safely in eight of nine games this season, to give the Mets a 5-4 lead.

Murphy also brought Young home for New York's first run with an RBI groundout in the first. He finished the night 3-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBIs.

"[Murphy is] one of those guys that when he gets red hot, he can hit anybody," Collins said.

Young got the offense moving from the get-go.

He led off the game with a single and then took advantage of Braves catcher Ryan Doumit's throwing arm for the first time by stealing second. Doumit's throw was wild and ended up in right-center field, allowing Young to advance to third.

In the third inning, Young again reached base by bunting for a base hit, then stole his second base in three innings. Mets third baseman David Wright brought Young home on a run-scoring single to center field.

"He's a burner," Doumit said. "He's one of the fastest guys in the league. You saw that today. He was getting on base with bunts, hitting dribblers and stealing bases. He's a guy you want to keep off the basepaths."

Young's great start provided Mets starter Jenrry Mejia with a sizable cushion, but he struggled with efficiency, as he did in his last start against the Reds on April 4. Mejia threw 98 pitches in five innings, only six days after throwing 101 in six frames.

"He throws a lot of pitches," Collins said. "We'd like to condense them, but that's what he does. Even when you look at as well as he pitched last year at times, he's going to throw 80-90 pitches in five-six innings.

"It's just how he goes about things. He moves the ball around, he's got great movement on his pitches and sometimes it's hard to command."

Braves left fielder Justin Upton gave Mejia the most trouble, homering against the right-hander in back-to-back innings. After Upton's second homer -- a two-run shot that put Atlanta ahead 4-3 in the third -- Mejia was visibly frustrated and he appeared to throw his glove.

"I didn't throw the glove down," Mejia said. "I just put my hand out, and my glove went out of my hand."

But with Young atop the lineup, the Mets clawed back. Two innings after the Braves took the lead, Young led off the fifth with a triple. Murphy then singled to bring Young home again with his second of three RBIs on the night, tying the game at 4.

With the game tied, Mejia was in jeopardy of letting the Braves retake the lead from the Mets for the second time in three innings. However, with Freddie Freeman on second and Upton on first, Mejia induced back-to-back groundouts by Dan Uggla and Doumit.

"I thought he was still throwing OK," Collins said of his decision to let Mejia finish the fifth. "He threw a lot of pitches, but there's something about just that feeling you have when you know you're coming out of the game anyway. It's that last guy you want to get out, and he got him out."

Carlos Torres pitched two frames of scoreless relief for the win, Kyle Farnsworth earned a hold for a perfect eighth and Jose Valverde worked a perfect ninth for his second save.

"That's pretty good," Mejia said of the New York bullpen's four scoreless innings. "They make me feel good because everything that's coming [has] got to go down there, and they do the best that they can."

Collins added: "They're starting to be comfortable. They're starting to understand what they've got to do."

MLB.com Comments