MLB

Mets-Braves Preview

Matt Harvey bounced back from a poor stretch with a stellar performance. The Atlanta Braves are hoping for the same from Julio Teheran.

Harvey tries to help the New York Mets avoid their longest slide of the season in the finale of this three-game series with the Braves on Sunday.

Harvey (7-4, 3.32 ERA) went 1-3 with a 7.20 ERA over four starts, causing great concern after he missed all of last year recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Any fears were allayed Tuesday after the right-hander tossed seven scoreless innings in a 3-2 win over Toronto, one of the majors' top offensive teams. Harvey also helped himself with a run-scoring double.

"Kind of had my slider back, which was nice. That helped with commanding my pitches," Harvey said. "For me, it was just being able to locate."

He certainly did that in his only visit to Atlanta on June 18, 2013, striking out a career-high 13 while allowing three runs and three hits in seven innings of a 4-3 victory.

Replicating that effort may not be enough since the Mets (36-34) are hitting .183 with six runs while dropping the first four on an eight-game trip after Saturday's 6-4 loss.

The Braves (34-35) are looking to get back to .500 behind Teheran (4-3, 5.07), who has a 1.80 ERA while winning two of his last three home starts against the Mets.

The right-hander struggled in a 6-3 loss at New York on April 23, matching his career high with five walks and allowing four runs in 4 1-3 innings.

He enters this matchup with an 0-2 record and 6.97 ERA in his last five outings after being tagged for six runs and a career-high 13 hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 9-4 loss at Boston on Tuesday.

"Just a bump. It's nothing huge. He'll be all right," first baseman Chris Johnson told MLB's official website. "He's a talented guy, he works hard, too. I don't think anybody is worried about this being who he is. We know it's not."

The Braves are particularly concerned with Teheran's struggles versus left-handed hitters, who are batting .326 against him compared to last year's .239 mark.

"(Lefties) still got to him last year a little bit, but it wasn't at the pace they're doing right now," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Whether it's pitch selection or command. Looking at the video through the course on the Jumbotron, it's balls right down the middle. It's balls down the middle of the plate that we need to locate.

"We just got to figure out getting back the old Julio Teheran."

Andrelton Simmons has feasted on the Mets' pitching, going 19 for 39 (.487) with five doubles in 11 games this year. The shortstop has six hits in this series after equaling his career high with four to go with one RBI Saturday.

A.J. Pierzynski was 3 for 4 - falling a homer shy of the cycle - and scored three times. He collided with Travis d'Arnaud at the plate in the sixth, knocking the Mets' catcher out of the game with a hyperextended left elbow while scoring the decisive run.

D'Arnaud, who had a solo homer and a two-run single, returned last week from a broken hand that landed him on the disabled list for seven weeks. If he's out, New York would turn to rookie backup Kevin Plawecki, who is 5 for 10 against the Braves.

The Braves shipped infielder Phil Gosselin to Arizona late Saturday night and acquired Bronson Arroyo and 2014 first-round pick Touki Toussaint. The 38-year-old Arroyo has not pitched since undergoing Tommy John surgery last July 18, while the 19-year-old Toussaint was 2-2 with a 3.69 ERA in seven starts for Class A Kane County.

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