Colon Shuts Down Braves as Mets Win 4-0

By Charles Odum
|  Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014  |  Updated 3:07 AM EDT
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    Fredi Gonzalez is still waiting for the Atlanta Braves' bats to catch up with the team's pitching.

    The Braves left the bases loaded in the ninth inning as they were shut out for the second time in seven games in Tuesday night's 4-0 loss to Bartolo Colon and the Mets.

    The Braves (4-3), hitting only .192, have managed more than two runs in only two games and couldn't break through in their home opener.

    Gonzalez said it's a team-wide problem.

    "You've seen some spurts, you've seen some guys coming out, getting good at-bats. Now we've got to put the whole line-up together," Gonzalez said.

    Colon combined with two relievers on an eight-hitter and Ruben Tejada drove in two runs with two hits for the Mets.

    The Braves honored the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron's 715th homer in a pregame ceremony attended by baseball commissioner Bud Selig. Al Downing, the former Dodgers' left-hander who gave up the homer, attended the ceremony and threw out the first pitch.

    There was little left to get excited about for the home sellout crowd of 47,144 until the ninth.

    Justin Upton and Dan Uggla had back-to-back singles off Mets fill-in closer Jose Valverde. Evan Gattis, who returned after missing two games — and losing seven pounds — because of a stomach virus, hit a fielder's choice grounder that forced Upton at third.

    Valverde then fielded Andrelton Simmons' grounder, turned and threw wide of second base for an error, leaving the bases loaded. Pinch-hitter Gerald Laird popped out to second base and Juan Lagares caught Jason Heyward's shot to end the game.

    "I knew I just missed it," Heyward said. "I'd like to be in that spot every time. I'd like to come through."

    Heyward, who was 0-for-5, is hitting .107.

    "It's just a matter of time for him to start to get going," Gonzalez said.

    Valverde moved into the closer's role as the replacement for Bobby Parnell, who had season-ending Tommy John surgery on Tuesday.

    Colon (1-1) gave up six hits and no walks, struck out five and didn't allow more than one baserunner in any inning until the seventh as he outpitched Atlanta's Aaron Harang (1-1).

    Travis d'Arnaud said catching Colon, 40, is "a lot of fun."

    "He commands all his pitches," d'Arnaud said. "What else could you ask for from a pitcher?"

    Tejada scored on a wild pitch by Harang in the third and had run-scoring singles in the seventh and eighth innings.

    Harang was hurt by control problems in an otherwise strong outing. He allowed only two hits with nine strikeouts in six innings, but he gave up four walks, including two in the third. Tejada led off with a walk and eventually scored on Harang's wild pitch to David Wright.

    "I tried to put him away, a 2-2 count, I threw a slider in the dirt," Harang said. "It took an awkward bounce, got away from Evan.

    "Other than that I felt good. I kept them off-balance. We just weren't able to work anything up on Colon tonight."

    The Mets added two runs off Braves rookie Gus Schlosser in the seventh. Tejada and Young had run-scoring singles.

    Braves left-hander Luis Avilan left the game in the seventh with a left hamstring cramp after he dodged Daniel Murphy's broken-bat on a single. Avilan was limping and was unable to make a warm-up throw but said after the game he did not expect to miss any time.

    Collins asked for a review when Juan Lagares was called out at first base on a grounder to reliever Ian Thomas in the eighth. Following a 3-minute review, Lagares was ruled safe.

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