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Where There’s Smoker, Grandy’s on Fire

Given the pitching matchup and the location of today’s game, tonight’s game wasn’t a guarantee. That went double when you consider the game was at the Mets own House of Horrors in Turner Field that is thankfully closing at the end of the season. Before it closes, the Mets have some demons to exercise. They did just that tonight despite a slow start. 

The Mets had a chance to score off Julio Teheran in the first, but they couldn’t cash in. A Curtis Granderson walk loaded the bases with one out. However, the Mets wouldn’t score as Wilmer Flores hit into the inning ending 6-4-3 double play. It was a giant missed opportunity. 

Instead if having a lead, the Mets would soon trail in the game. Matt Kemp lead off the second with a solo home run off Robert Gsellman

The Braves would then expand on their 1-0 lead with a big fifth. Gsellman had almost navigated through a Dansby Swanson leadoff single.  He stood on third with two outs when Adonis Garcia singled him home. The Braves then proceeded to load the bases. Nick Markakis hit a two run single to right to give the Braves a 4-0 lead. Once again the tales of Jay Bruce‘s arm were greatly exaggerated. 

In reality, the main difference between this Gsellman start and his others was the Braves took advantage of their opportunities. In Gsellman’s short career, he has consistently played with fire. Tonight, he got burned. 

The Mets would begin the comeback in the sixth. Yoenis Cespedes hit a comebacker off Tehran which seemingly broke the spell. The insanely hot Granderson followed the Cespedes single with a two run homer to make it 4-2. It was the Mets first runs off Teheran in 29 innings. 

The Braves wouldn’t expand on this lead due to a truly great Josh Smoker appearance. 

Smoker inherited a mess in the sixth. Jose Reyes made a nice play to ball Swanson hit down the third base line off Jim Henderson. However, Reyes’ arm wasn’t strong enough to get the speedy Swanson. Worse yet, James Loney‘s arm wasn’t strong enough to get Jace Peterson who went from first to third on the play. Ultimately, it didn’t matter as Smoker was terrific. 

Smoker first struck out A.J. Pierzynski. Then he got Ender Inciarte to hit into the inning ending 3-6-3 double play.  The appearance might’ve been Smoker’s best in his short career. It did give the Mets a chance to win. 

While it wasn’t as impressive as Smoker’s effort, Hansel Robles got out of a jam in the seventh to keep the Braves from tacking on to their 4-2 lead. At the time, it seemed like nothing more than a nice recovery for Robles. As it turns out, Robles would get the win. 

The Mets loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth off Mauricio Cabrera. The bases shouldn’t have been loaded as Reyes hit what could’ve been a double play ball that Swanson booted. It would’ve been a tough turn with Reyes’ speed, but at a minimum, the lead runner should’ve been out. 

In any event, Cespedes came up with the bases loaded, and he put together a terrific at bat hitting a deep sacrifice fly to right scoring Alejandro De Aza. The ball was deep enough to permit Reyes to go to third. Granderson followed with a bloop that seemingly stayed up forever, and still Kemp could not get to it. Just like that tie game. 

The Mets took the lead on a Kelly Johnson pinch hit RBI double.  

Bruce was then intentionally walked by Cabrera before he departed in favor of Jose Ramirez. Ramirez then plunked the pinch hitting Michael Conforto to make it a 6-4 game. In the inning the Mets batted around with only two hits, but it was enough to score four runs. 

This set up the formula the Mets wanted. No, not Eric Campbell at first base due to all the lineup machinations, even if he did make two great plays at first in the eighth. The Mets were able to fog with Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia to close out the 6-4 win. 

The Mets had this chance because Granderson is playing like the Granderson of old. With him contributing like this each and every night, the Mets are certainly capable of repeating performances like tonight. 

Game Notes: Gavin Cecchini was the sole non-catcher bench player who didn’t get into the game. 

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