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Mets earn doubleheader sweep of Braves

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Mets earn doubleheader sweep of Braves

ATLANTA -- Zack Wheeler lived up to the hype, just like Matt Harvey had for the New York Mets in his major-league debut last season.

Wheeler, New York's top prospect, pitched six scoreless innings and the Mets completed a sweep of the Atlanta Braves with a 6-1 victory Tuesday night in the second game of a split doubleheader.

Harvey (6-1) took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and struck out a career-best 13 as the Mets won the afternoon game 4-3.

Wheeler, who grew up just outside Atlanta and was pitching before a large group of family and friends, gave up four hits, walked five and struck out seven before departing after 102 pitches.

"It was definitely an experience," Wheeler said. "I had some jitters going at first, but then I settled down."

Harvey had allowed three hits over 5 1/3 scoreless innings in his debut last July 26 during a victory at Arizona, striking out 11 and walking three. Less than a year later, he's has been one of the best pitchers in the National League.

"They're going to enjoy these young guys for a long time in the same rotation," manager Terry Collins said of Mets fans. "(Those two) are going to win some games for you."

Wheeler finished his first game strong, striking out Dan Uggla and getting Chris Johnson to pop up after a single by B.J. Upton and walk to Brian McCann in the sixth.

"I was really impressed with the way he competed," Collins said. "I thought it was important to get through a big inning."

Then Anthony Recker gave the Mets the lead in the seventh with a two-run homer. The backup catcher picked on a 3-1 slider from Paul Maholm and blasted his second home run of the season over the center-field fence.

Maholm (7-6) allowed nine hits, walked two and struck out seven.

Atlanta scored in the bottom of the inning, but the Mets got four runs in the eighth against Anthony Varvaro on four hits, two walks and a pair of errors.

Marlon Byrd had three hits for the Mets and was 5-for-7 with two walks in the doubleheader.

Wheeler, who turned 23 on May 30, had been in the spotlight with Harvey since being acquired from San Francisco for veteran outfielder Carlos Beltran before the trade deadline in 2011. The sixth overall pick in the 2009 draft out of East Paulding High School northwest of Atlanta was 4-2 with a 3.93 ERA in 13 starts for Triple-A Las Vegas, striking out 73 in 68 2/3 innings.

Wheeler walked two in the first inning while throwing just eight of his 23 pitches for strikes and passed two more in the third inning after allowing a double to Uggla in the second. Johnson had a two-out single in the fourth, and a double play after a leadoff hit by Andrelton Simmons in the fifth gave Wheeler his first inning facing just three batters.

Simmons had two hits, walked twice and stole two bases.

In the afternoon game, Harvey didn't allow a hit until Jason Heyward's squib down the first-base line leading off the seventh inning, and he had a stretch of six straight strikeouts.

"He loves to face huge challenges," Collins said. "And with all the attention to Zack, he might have said, 'I'm still the guy here.'"

Just one of the three hits off Harvey left the infield and he had a knee-buckling breaking ball to go with a fastball that reached 100 mph.

"It's definitely one of those games where I thought (a no-hitter) was possible a little bit more than the other ones," said Harvey, who had taken two no-hit bids into the seventh inning earlier this season. "I was striking out a lot of guys, and they weren't putting the ball in the outfield too often. Anytime that's going on, you think in the back of your mind that this is possible."

"Guys like that, with that kind of stuff, they're going to flirt with no-hitters from time to time," Heyward said. "It's not going to be a surprise to anybody."

But the Mets had to hold on as the Braves finally began to solve the 24-year-old right-hander. Bobby Parnell struck out Johnson with the bases loaded to end the eighth inning and worked around a single in the ninth to record his 10th save.

"It was a just a rough 24 hours," said Upton, ignoring that the Braves had won the rain-plagued series opener in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

The teams were back on the field for the 1:10 p.m. first game less than 12 hours after the Braves' walk-off 2-1 victory on Freddie Freeman's walk-off two-run homer at 1:22 a.m.

It was the first time a team had finished three games on the same date since 1996, when Cincinnati did it at Atlanta and in Miami.

NOTES: Braves C/LF Evan Gattis, who leads all major-league rookies with 14 homers and 37 RBIs, was placed on the disabled list with a right oblique strain suffered when he tried to check his swing in the seventh inning Monday. ... INF Tyler Pastornicky was recalled by the Braves from Triple-A Gwinnett to take Gattis' roster spot. ... Mets INF Justin Turner was placed on the DL and RHP Scott Atchison activated. Turner, mired in an 8-for-50 slump, has a left intercostal strain. Atchison, who had been on the DL since May 14 with elbow inflammation, injured his groin before he could pitch in the seventh inning Tuesday night. ... It rained hard shortly after the conclusion of the afternoon game, but the skies cleared before the start of the nightcap. ... The doubleheader was necessitated by a May 4 rainout.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130618/mets-6-braves-1