published Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Simmons, Gattis, Medlen lead Atlanta Braves past Mets 3-1

Atlanta Braves catcher Evan Gattis folows through with a home run in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets in Atlanta.
Atlanta Braves catcher Evan Gattis folows through with a home run in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets in Atlanta.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

ATLANTA — Evan Gattis is starting to get his groove back for the Atlanta Braves.

After playing three games in the minor leagues to correct his swing, Gattis returned to the majors and made an immediate impact.

“I felt fixed before leaving,” Gattis said. “It’s good to go there and really kind of put it into action. It was good to have a good night.”

Kris Medlen pitched seven strong innings while Gattis and Andrelton Simmons homered to help the Atlanta Braves win their second straight game with a 3-1 victory over the New York Mets on Tuesday night.

The Braves have won 20 of 24 at Turner Field to improve the major leagues’ best home record to 51-19.

Gattis, who was recalled earlier in the day after a three-game stint at Triple-A Gwinnett, tied it at 1-all with his 16th homer in the seventh.

After Mets starter Carlos Torres (3-3) walked Dan Uggla on nine pitches, Simmons hit his 13th homer to make it 3-1.

Medlen (12-12) allowed seven hits and one run while striking out nine.

Closer Craig Kimbrel converted his 34th straight save opportunity and improved to 44 for 47 this season. He struck out Juan Lagares and Matt den Dekker, allowed a single to Omar Quintanilla and retired pinch-hitter Justin Turner on a groundout.

New York has dropped three straight and nine of 13.

Torres gave up seven hits, three runs and one walk. He tied career highs with six strikeouts and seven innings pitched.

The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the sixth on Daniel Murphy’s RBI double with one out, but Medlen limited the damage on Josh Satin’s groundout and Lucas Duda’s strikeout.

In the seventh, New York manager Terry Collins let Torres bat with runners at first and third, but the pitcher struck out.

Torres lost the lead in the bottom half of the inning, unable to finish off Gattis and Uggla when both hitters fell behind with 0-2 counts.

“Look where he was in that point in the game, and he was cruising,” Collins said. “They’re dangerous so you can’t make any mistakes. He gave us a chance. We just couldn’t put up any runs.”

Medlen erased the first two runners in scoring position — Eric Young Jr. in the first and Duda in the fourth.

After Young tripled over Gattis’ head in left field in the sixth and scored on Murphy’s double, Medlen escaped further damage when Josh Satin grounded out and Duda took a called third strike.

“Whatever jam you get in, you always feel like you can get out of it,” Medlen said. “I’m always thinking positive. Whether other people do, I don’t know, but I’m always figuring out a way to get out of stuff. It’s something you learn as you mature in this game. I think I’ve figured how to battle, how to go at guys, and today I did a decent job of that.”

Duda doubled with two out in the fourth, getting stranded on d’Arnaud’s strikeout, but his average dropped to .169 in 59 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Gattis, who went 3 for 3, spent the previous three days at Triple-A Gwinnett to get some at-bats. The NL’s rookie of the month winner for April and May had slumped in August, but he seemed to correct his issues by going 6 for 13 in three games at Gwinnett.

Gattis took four pitches from Torres before crushing a cutter into the seats in left-center field. It was his first homer since the Braves’ 8-2 victory at New York on July 24 — a span of 70 at-bats.

“It’s good to square the ball up, first,” Gattis said. “It just ended up being a home run, you know.”

Atlanta has won 29 of its last 38 games and has rallied for 41 victories, best in the NL.

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