Tough night for Mets, Parnell against Braves
Reliever turned starter allows nine runs on nine hits
NEW YORK -- It was a case of simple physics on Wednesday night at Citi Field. Newton's third law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
The Mets experienced the execution of that reciprocal action in their 15-2 loss to the Braves. One game after New York battered Atlanta's Derek Lowe for eight runs in the fourth inning, the Braves did the same to Bobby Parnell in an eight-run second inning.
Atlanta tacked on six more runs over the final seven frames.
"I felt like I pitched good, that my pitches were there," Parnell said. "Seeing-eye singles. My game plan is to make them hit the ball -- sometimes they get through. I'm going to take the same game plan into the next game."
Parnell's third big league start was a step back from his outstanding second one, against the Giants last Friday, when he gave up three hits and struck out seven in six scoreless frames. This time around he lasted just three innings, surrendering nine earned runs on nine hits. It tied the most runs a Mets starter has allowed this season, and set the record for the most yielded by a Mets starter in a home game.
The Braves opened the second inning with four consecutive singles to plate two runs. Parnell had a chance to get out of it without further damage, but Omar Infante and Garret Anderson each legged out two-out run-scoring infield singles to shortstop Anderson Hernandez. Hernandez's throw was low on Infante's hit, and he hesitated on Anderson's grounder because Luis Castillo was not covering second base.
Manager Jerry Manuel called it a "failure of communication."
After a walk to Chipper Jones and a wild pitch made it 5-0, Brian McCann blasted a three-run homer over the bullpens in right field. It was his 14th home run of the season.
"[Parnell] was leaving some pitches up," said Matt Diaz, who added a two-run homer in the sixth inning off Tim Redding. "Once you see the guys in front of you start taking advantage and getting hits to fall, you kind of go up there expecting to. And the more you expect to hit, it's crazy, the more it seems to happen."
Sixty of the 71 pitches Parnell threw were fastballs, and Manuel said afterward that he would like to see his converted reliever trust his slider and changeup more, even when he finds himself in a jam.
"He's still in that mode of, 'When I'm in trouble, I've got to throw harder,' " Manuel said. "He's still growing. He's going to have outings such as this every now and then, and he'll learn from them."
Parnell seemed to take that message to the mound in the third, where he started throwing his changeup more often. Still, he gave up another run, this one on a two-out double by Infante.
Other than the advantages of secondary pitches and the tertiary laws of physics, there wasn't a lot the Mets could learn from this one. Nelson Figueroa, Redding and Sean Green combined for six innings out of the bullpen but gave up six runs in the process. Every Braves regular scored at least one run, and all but Jones contributed a hit. Infante, Adam LaRoche, Yunel Escobar and former Met Ryan Church contributed three each.
In all, the Braves became the second team in three nights to rap out 18 hits against Mets pitching. The Giants accomplished the feat in their 10-1 win at Citi Field on Monday. It was a season-high for both teams.
Jair Jurrjens was effective if unspectacular on the mound for Atlanta, allowing eight hits and two runs in six innings. Reserve Wilson Valdez scored both runs for the Mets -- the first on Castillo's third-inning single, the second on Angel Pagan's fifth-inning double.
Once the Mets were behind by nine runs, Manuel went to his bench. Valdez stayed in the game for Castillo after the third inning, Andy Green replaced Gary Sheffield after the fifth and Jeremy Reed stepped in for Jeff Francoeur after the sixth.
Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.