Curtis Granderson's grand in New York Mets' victory over Atlanta Braves

By Stan Awtrey, The Sports Xchange  |  April 23, 2016 at 1:31 AM
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ATLANTA -- While the New York Mets were in the midst of an offensive surge, Curtis Granderson has been struggling.

But his performance Friday showed why manager Terry Collins kept writing the veteran right fielder's name in the lineup.

Granderson, who entered the game hitting .175, went 3-for-5 with two home runs, including a grand slam, and New York Mets defeated the Atlanta Braves 6-3 on Friday at Turner Field.

"It's the same thing he did last year," Collins said. "He's starting to see the ball better and he's starting to get the barrel of the bat on the ball. He's going to do what he always does. You'll look up at the end of the year and he'll be where he always is."

Granderson hit a grand slam in the second inning and a solo homer in the fourth -- both against Atlanta starter Bud Norris. It was the 19th multi-homer game of his career and sixth grand slam.

"Granderson has the ability to leave the ball park and put a number up," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

The offensive outburst benefited New York starter Matt Harvey (1-3), who broke a three-game losing streak. He allowed two runs on seven hits and one walk and struck out five in five innings.

"It was a step forward," Collins said. "Hopefully he'll grow from it and gets better. In certain situations he misses bats, but right now he's having a hard time putting them away."

Jeurys Familia pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his fourth save.

Norris (1-3) was lifted for a pinch hitter after allowing five runs in four innings. He allowed five hits and two walks, with four strikeouts.

"Unfortunately I made two mistakes to the wrong guy tonight," Norris said. "It's kind of frustrating. I've got to get better and pitch deeper in the game."

The Atlanta bullpen got a lift from long reliever Casey Kelly, who made his Braves debut and allowed one run over three innings.

The Mets struck first against Norris in the second inning. He issued two one-out walks and loaded the bases by throwing wildly to third on Harvey's sacrifice bunt. Granderson then smacked a line drive into the right field seats to give the Mets a 4-0 lead.

The Braves cut the lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the second on an RBI single by Kelly Johnson and a run-scoring double from Mallex Smith.

Granderson hit a solo homer in the fourth, this one a high fly into the seats in right, to put the Mets ahead 5-2.

New York scored a run in the seventh on doubles by David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes, who has an extra base hit in seven straight games. Cespedes left the game in the eighth after aggravating the bruise on his right leg on the slide into second base.

The Braves added a run in the seventh on an RBI single by Adonis Garcia, but stranded two runners when lefty Jerry Blevins struck out A.J. Pierzynski to end the rally.

There was a 56-minute rain delay in the middle of the eighth inning.

Home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg was struck in the mask by a foul ball in the first inning and had to leave the game. First base umpire Alan Porter moved behind the plate and the game was administered with a three-man crew.

NOTES: The Braves haven't homered in 10 straight contests, their longest stretch since 1983. ... Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said reliever Alexi Ogando was not available Friday. The right-hander had worked the previous four consecutive games. ... Hall of Famer John Smoltz tore down the No. 73 sign on the Turner Field wall that designates the number of home games remaining in the facility. Smoltz was chosen to commemorate his 3,000th career strikeout on April 22, 2008. ... Matchups for the second game of the series Saturday feature New York LHP Steven Matz (1-1, 7.27) against Atlanta RHP Jhoulys Chacin (0-0, 2.38).

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