Posted: Sunday, September 18th 2011 at 7:19pm
Tejada's 4 RBIs help Mets slow Braves
By The Associated Press
Atlanta Braves' Chipper Jones, front, watches from the dugout in the eighth inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets on Sunday at Turner Field in Atlanta. New York win 7-5. / photo: Associated Press
ATLANTA -- The New York Mets were reeling when they arrived in Atlanta. They left with renewed confidence.
"We still show fight," pitcher Dillon Gee said after Sunday's 7-5 win over the Atlanta Braves. "We care. It just shows that we pull together and try to pull through the rough patches."
Ruben Tejada had four RBIs, Lucas Duda homered off Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning and the New York Mets slowed the Atlanta Braves' wild-card bid with a walk-filled victory.
Atlanta, which began the day with a 4 1/2-game lead over St. Louis in the NL wild-card standings, lost two of three to the Mets, who arrived with a six-game losing streak. New York went 6-4 at Atlanta this year, its first winning record at Turner Field since 2008.
New York showed the kind of tenacity that manager Terry Collins said was lacking during a 1-8 homestand that ended Thursday.
"Even late in the season, where we're not really playing for anything, (the Braves) want to win over there," Gee said, "so we want to come in and play the best we can."
Tejada put the Mets ahead 4-1 with a three-run double in a four-run fourth. After pinch-hitter Ronny Paulino's bases-loaded walk in the eighth against Jonny Venters (6-2) tied it at 5, Tejada singled to put the Mets ahead for good.
Duda's homer was just the second this year off Kimbrel, the NL saves leader.
"Craig's one of the best," Duda said. "Luckily, I just connected and it went out of the park."
Tim Byrdak (2-0) won despite allowing a go-ahead single in the seventh to Freddie Freeman, who had been on an 0-for-15 slide. Manny Acosta got four outs for his second save in five chances.
"We gave up the go-ahead run, but this team has been battling back all year, and that's exactly what we did today," Byrdak said. "To get a win out of it is great, but our job in the bullpen is to pick each other up down there."
Venters walked three in the eighth for Atlanta, which walked nine overall. The teams combined for 17 walks.
"The last time I faced him, all the pitches I swung at were balls," Paulino said of Venters. "I decided to be more selective this time. I know he has a good sinker, and you have to have a specific zone to look for. I didn't he threw it where I was looking for it."
Venters, who leads the majors with 81 appearances, insisted he isn't bothered by fatigue.
"I just didn't throw the ball over the plate today," Venters said. "No excuses. I just couldn't throw strikes. It's September. It's time to dig down deep. I cost my team the win. Just go out tomorrow and try to get it done."
Chipper Jones' RBI double put the Braves ahead in the third, but Brandon Beachy walked Gee with the bases loaded in the fourth and Tejada followed with a three-run double.
Atlanta tied it in the bottom half on Alex Gonzalez's solo homer, Michael Bourn's run-scoring single and Dan Uggla's RBI groundout.
A rookie making his first career appearance against New York, Beachy allowed five runs, five hits and four walks in 4 1-3 innings with eight strikeouts. Gee gave up four runs, eight hits and five walks in 4 1-3 innings. His ERA has climbed to 4.48 from 3.05 on June 10.
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