Braves score big for blowout win over Mets
McCann, LaRoche, Diaz go deep in rout
NEW YORK -- In its first season, Citi Field has gained a reputation as one of the foremost pitcher's parks in the league. And the Braves might have believed it had they not watched the Mets splash nine runs on the scoreboard here in Tuesday's series opener.
It turns out that offense at Citi Field may not be so difficult after all. A day after that outburst, the Braves returned the favor, mashing three homers and 18 hits in a 15-2 rout of the Mets.
"We responded awesome," catcher Brian McCann said.
Just as the Mets dropped an eight-run inning on the Braves in Tuesday night's loss, the Braves scored eight times in the second inning off Bobby Parnell. Four consecutive singles started things before McCann launched a deep three-run homer over the wall in right-center. The Braves sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning, rapping out eight hits in total.
They were not done. Parnell lasted just three innings, then the Braves pounced on the underbelly of the Mets' bullpen -- most notably in the sixth, when Adam LaRoche and Matt Diaz homered off long man Tim Redding.
Both have been uncommonly hot. With his 3-for-5 night, LaRoche upped his average to .389 since rejoining the Braves. And Diaz, with two hits, four RBIs and a walk, has three home runs in his past four games.
"It's funny. It comes in bunches for me," Diaz said. "I might not hit another homer the rest of the year, but it's been a fun ride while it's been going."
Fun for all of them. Perhaps the Braves were venting their frustrations of the night before. Or perhaps, as Diaz intimated afterward, they were simply doing everything in their power not to fall flat again. Whatever the case, the Braves set season highs in runs and hits, becoming the first team since the Yankees in 2006 to score at least eight runs in an inning a day after serving them up.
"I've never seen anything like that," Diaz said. "It wasn't anything like payback -- 'Ooh, we'll get them.' But last night was tough. It could have crushed us."
It did not. Instead, every regular other than Chipper Jones recorded at least one hit, and the early lead allowed manager Bobby Cox to rest regulars Jones, McCann and Garret Anderson for multiple innings. As much as it was a redemptive game, it was also a healing game.
Then there was Jair Jurrjens. Lost in all the offense was the fact that, cold as he was on the dugout bench between long innings, Jurrjens pitched plenty well enough to win his 10th game.
"You get cold, and then you warm up again," Jurrjens said. "I was just trying to throw strikes."
Take the sixth, for example. After LaRoche and Diaz homered in another lengthy top of the inning, Jurrjens served up a leadoff triple to Daniel Murphy. Then he proceeded to fan Jeff Francoeur, freeze Fernando Tatis and saw off Omir Santos' bat on an inning-ending groundout.
It was Jurrjens' final inning, and also his most impressive. Pitching with a sizable lead for nearly the entire evening, Jurrjens allowed two runs in six innings, striking out four and walking one.
Considering the offense, he didn't have to do much. And so he did enough.
So did Reid Gorecki, who entered the game for Anderson in the fifth. Making just his second big league appearance and taking his first Major League hacks, Gorecki singled up the middle to plate Ryan Church -- another three-hit man -- in the ninth.
Afterward, Cox delivered a signed scorecard to the rookie.
"It's heartening to see a kid like that do that," Cox said.
"I got an RBI, got my knock," said Gorecki, who grew up on Long Island rooting for the Mets. "I'm feeling pretty good."
And his teammates were feeling pretty good as well, dispensing of the Mets in rather symmetrical fashion. On Tuesday the Mets scored eight runs in an inning. On Wednesday the Braves turned the trick. On Tuesday the Mets won big. On Wednesday the Braves returned the favor.
That, however, was where the symmetry ended. The Mets are going nowhere slowly, playing out the balance of a season lost to injury. The Braves, meanwhile, are trying to claw their way back into the divisional and National League Wild Card races, as long as both doors remain ajar.
On that front, they gained no ground. Though they did so without as many fireworks as the Braves, the Phillies and Rockies won for the second consecutive night, keeping the Braves a safe distance back on both fronts.
So in that sense, no, it was not a productive night -- just a wildly encouraging one.
"We responded well tonight," McCann said. "It was a big win."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.