Duda, Flores lead Mets past Braves 3-2 for 10th straight
NEW YORK (AP) Consistent pitching, nifty defense and well-placed hits at just the right time. Lucas Duda and the New York Mets are playing so well they're practically giddy.
Duda hit a go-ahead single in the eighth inning that sent the Mets to their 10th consecutive victory Wednesday night, 3-2 over the Atlanta Braves.
''It's unbelievable, coming to the ballpark every day. Just a great feeling when you walk in the doors. It's just fun. There's no other word to describe it,'' a smiling Duda said. ''It's pretty special. It's hard to do.''
Wilmer Flores hit a tying homer and an RBI single for the Mets (12-3), on their longest winning streak since taking 10 straight in July 2008. Another victory in the series finale Thursday afternoon would match the team record of 11 in a row - last accomplished in 1990 - and complete a perfect 10-game run on their first homestand of the season.
Despite injuries to several key players, New York is off to its best start since the 1986 World Series champions opened 13-3.
''These guys have just taken off. I salute every single one of them,'' manager Terry Collins said. ''Pitching has been remarkable.''
Helped out by some slick defense, Mets starter Dillon Gee allowed only two runs in seven steady innings after the first pitch was delayed 31 minutes by rain.
Second baseman Ruben Tejada robbed Nick Markakis of a hit by leaping high for a snow-cone grab, and Gold Glove winner Juan Lagares ran down Jace Peterson's drive in deep center, reaching behind his head for a sensational catch.
''That was unbelievable,'' Gee said. ''That ranks up there with the best catches I've seen on the field.''
A frustrated Gee was the subject of trade speculation all winter and was ticketed for the bullpen until Zack Wheeler's season-ending elbow injury this spring. With his spot in the rotation perhaps in jeopardy, Gee had a chat with Collins between starts and delivered a quality outing.
''I think I just needed to talk and he was there for me and we talked about a lot of things. I think I was going about a lot of things the wrong way,'' Gee said. ''It comes down to me executing and resolving to stay out there.''
Flores tied it 2-all with a solo homer off reliever Cody Martin in the seventh.
Pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson drew a leadoff walk from Jim Johnson (1-1) in the eighth and went to third when Lagares chopped a hit-and-run single barely through the right side of the infield.
Duda singled to left for his latest clutch hit early this season.
''I feel like I executed a lot of pitches,'' Johnson said. ''It seems like a little luck went their way and it seems like it's been going their way.''
Buddy Carlyle (1-0) retired dangerous pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes with two on, and Jeurys Familia got three quick outs for his seventh save.
Eric Stults gave the Braves a solid start, yielding one run and four hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked none.
A.J. Pierzynski went 3 for 3 with a walk for Atlanta, and Andrelton Simmons had an RBI single. Ex-Met Eric Young Jr. tripled and scored on Alberto Callaspo's sacrifice fly.
''We played well tonight. But it's just one of those things where a team gets momentum and they kind of feed off of it,'' Stults said.
Braves: Minor league lefty Brady Feigl had Tommy John surgery Tuesday. Feigl was with Atlanta in spring training and appeared in one game for Triple-A Gwinnett this season.
Mets: RHP Matt Harvey has a mild left ankle sprain but will make his next scheduled start Saturday at Yankee Stadium, the team said. Harvey said he hurt the ankle in spring training when he ran into the wall while shagging flies. ... Backup catcher Anthony Recker has a bone spur in the back of his right elbow but is able to play, the Mets said. The spur might be removed after the season. In a move that was likely related, New York acquired minor league catcher Dan Rohlfing from Minnesota for cash. Rohlfing will report to Triple-A Las Vegas.
Gee has lasted at least five innings in 49 straight starts, the longest active streak in the majors and one shy of Dwight Gooden's club record.
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Batting leadoff for the first time in his career, Mets RF John Mayberry Jr. tripled his first time up but was stranded. Mayberry fanned his next two times, leaving him 6 for 14 (.429) with five extra-base hits against Stults.
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (2-0, 3.71 ERA) starts Thursday. Teheran beat the Mets 5-3 at Turner Field on April 11, allowing two hits in six innings. He is 4-2 with a 3.04 ERA against them.
Mets: RHP Bartolo Colon (3-0, 2.25 ERA) went seven innings for a 4-3 win April 12 in Atlanta. He is 5-2 with a 2.25 ERA in seven starts vs. the Braves. Simmons and Freddie Freeman are both 6 for 13 (.462) against him.