Second basemen help pick up Pelf in walk-off
Emaus, Murphy, Turner have hand in four-run ninth inning
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- After the Braves flexed their firepower in a seven-run fourth inning off Mike Pelfrey, several Mets second-base hopefuls picked up their Opening Day starter in the ninth for an 8-7 walk-off win Monday at Digital Domain Park.
Brad Emaus drove in the first of four ninth-inning runs with a single, while Daniel Murphy followed outfielder Scott Hairston's RBI single with a game-tying one of his own. After another second-base candidate, Justin Turner, was hit by a Michael Broadway pitch to load the bases, pinch-hitter Luis Hernandez's infield single gave New York the victory.
Dan Uggla, Jason Heyward and Alex Gonzalez all contributed to the Braves' seven-run rally in the fourth inning.
After Gonzalez singled to start the frame against Pelfrey, Heyward plated him with a double. Uggla, Freddie Freeman, David Ross and Joe Mather then reeled off consecutive singles, giving Atlanta its first lead. A fielding error and a groundout later plated Freeman and Mather, before Gonzalez drove in the sixth and seventh runs with his second hit of the inning.
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By that point, Pelfrey was out of the game, surrendering seven runs -- four earned -- after retiring nine of the first 10 Braves batters he faced.
"That snowballed quick, I know that," Pelfrey said. "Early, I thought I was sharp."
Sharper was Braves starter Kenshin Kawakami, who allowed three runs -- one earned -- in three innings. Kawakami struck out three and walked one.
The only offense against him came courtesy of Jose Reyes, who drove in Josh Thole with a single in the third, and Jason Bay, who doubled home Reyes and Angel Pagan later that inning.
The Mets improved to 2-2-2 against the Braves this spring, with only one meeting remains between the teams, on Saturday.
Up next for the Braves: Atlanta will enjoy its only scheduled off-day of the exhibition season Tuesday and return to action Wednesday, when the club sends Tim Hudson to the mound to face Florida in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., at 1:05 p.m. ET. This will be the second time this month that Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez competes against the Marlins, the team he skippered during the previous four seasons. Chipper Jones, Brian McCann and most of the projected starters are expected to be in the lineup.
Up next for the Mets: Though most teams typically hold back their regulars on long Grapefruit League road trips, expect something similar to an Opening Day lineup when New York makes the 2 1/2-hour bus ride to Lakeland, Fla., on Tuesday for a game against Detroit. Of the Mets' projected starting eight, only Thole and Carlos Beltran will stay back in Port St. Lucie. Jon Niese will start against the Tigers, with three bullpen candidates -- Tim Byrdak, Mike O'Connor and Pedro Beato -- all scheduled to pitch in the 1:05 p.m. ET game.