ATLANTA, GA (AP/WAVY) – A rare run-scoring hit from Bartolo Colon and the first home run of the season for Michael Cuddyer (Chesapeake, Great Bridge High School) helped give the New York Mets a boost going into their home opener.
Colon helped himself with his first RBI in a decade, Daniel Murphy hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the eighth inning and the Mets beat Atlanta 4-3 Sunday, sending the Braves to their first loss this season.
Cuddyer’s two-run homer in the first inning gave Colon the early lead, but the burly pitcher’s bloop single for a 3-2 lead in the fourth was the most-discussed hit.
“When he puts it in play, he gets a cheer, so when he gets a hit it’s a double cheer,” Mets manager Terry Collins said.
The Mets return from a 3-3 trip for their home opener against the Phillies on Monday.
Colon lost his batting helmet and broke his bat when he punched the single into shallow right field to drive in Wilmer Flores from third base. With his helmet left behind in the batter’s box, Colon grinned as he stood on first base following his first RBI since June 10, 2005, for the Los Angeles Angels against the Mets.
Colon, 41, said he wasn’t sure how long it had been since his last RBI.
“Maybe it was 20 years ago,” he said through a translator, bullpen coach Ricky Bones.
Colon’s hit ended a 0-for-37 slump and was his sixth career RBI. He was only 2 for 62 (.032) with the Mets last year.
“He was the jack of all trades today,” Cuddyer said. “He was fun to watch.”
Braves starter Alex Wood, who allowed three runs in 6 2-3 innings, said Colon “just wailed at a fastball and broke his bat and hit a bloop.”
Colon led 3-2 before Jonny Gomes’ seventh-inning homer just inside the left-field pole. Colon (2-0) allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings.
Juan Jaime (0-1) walked Curtis Granderson and Anthony Recker opening the eighth. Wilmer Flores sacrificed, and Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez ordered an intentional walk to Ruben Tejada, loading the bases.
Left-hander Andrew McKirahan, making his major league debut, threw two quick strikes before giving up Murphy’s fly ball.
Colon gave up a two-run triple to Andrelton Simmons in the second.
Jeurys Familia got two outs for his first save. Closer Jenrry Mejia, already on the disabled list, was suspended for 80 games Saturday following a positive test for the steroid Stanozolol.
Collins let Jerry Blevins record the first out in the ninth before turning the game over to Familia, who struck out Gomes and ended the game on Phil Gosselin’s flyout.
TOO MANY WALKS
Gonzalez said Jaime couldn’t afford to open the eighth with two walks.
“It’s the old saying: You can’t walk people,” Gonzalez said, adding the walks put McKirahan in a tough spot.
Mets: Collins said Murphy was “kind of fatigued a little.” Murphy had problems with his right hamstring in spring training. Collins said Murphy’s legs “are fine.” … Collins said RHP Bobby Parnell, recovering from Tommy John surgery last April, probably will begin his minor league rehab in the Florida State League at a time still to be determined.
Braves: LHP Mike Minor, on the 15-day DL with left shoulder soreness, had more discomfort while attempting to intensify his throwing program in Florida. He returned to Atlanta to be examined by team doctors and will be closely monitored as he tries to restart his throwing program.
Mets: Collins is expecting RHP Jacob DeGrom to have a memorable start against the Phillies on Monday. “I think it’s something he should remember for a long time,” Collins said. DeGrom allowed two runs in six innings in a 2-1 loss to the Nationals on Wednesday. RHP Aaron Harang (1-0) is scheduled to start for the Phillies.
Braves: RHP Shelby Miller, who received no decision while throwing five scoreless innings in Atlanta’s 2-0 win in the third game of an opening, three-game sweep at Miami, will face the Marlins for the second time in six days in Monday night’s series opener. Mat Latos will start for Miami.