Despite a stellar MLB debut from left-handed pitcher Sean Newcomb, Atlanta’s offense was stifled through the first seven innings and the Braves’ bullpen fell apart late as they lost game one of a doubleheader with the Mets, 6-1.
Newcomb’s debut was just about all any Braves fan could’ve asked for as the final line for the 23-year-old was 6 1⁄3 IP, 4 H, 1 R (0 ER), 2 BB (I BB), 7 K. He threw 96 pitches, 70 of which were strikes.
Unfortunately for him, New York’s Robert Gsellman had one of his best starts of the season as he allowed just three hits and struck out four while issuing a pair of walks over 6 2⁄3 shutout innings.
With Atlanta’s Luke Jackson pitching in relief in the top of the eighth inning in a 1-0 game, Michael Conforto was hit by a pitch and Yoenis Cespedes singled to left to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Jackson then threw a wild pitch, allowing Cespedes and Conforto to advance to second and third. Wilmer Flores flew out to center for the first out of the inning, allowing Conforto to tag up and extend New York’s lead to 2-0.
Brandon Phillips led off the bottom of the eighth inning with with a solo home run to left field, cutting Atlanta’s deficit to 2-1. The Braves proceed to put runners on first and second with one out away, but a Matt Kemp strikeout followed by a Rio Ruiz groundout ended the inning.
In the top of the ninth, Jackson struck out Rene Rivera before hitting Neil Walker, giving up a double to Juan Lagares and intentionally walking Conforto to load the bases with one out for Cespedes. Cespedes then hit a grand slam to center, opening up a 6-1 lead for the Mets.
After hitting 92 mph, 95 mph and 93 mph on the radar gun with his first three pitches in the top of the first inning, Newcomb came back with an 80 mph breaking ball for his first career strikeout.
He proceeded to strike Conforto out looking and induce a Cespedes groundout to complete a three up, three down opening frame.
With two away in the bottom of the first, Nick Markakis reached on an Asdrubal Cabrera fielding error. In the ensuing at-bat, Tyler Flowers reached on another Cabrera error, putting runners on first and second for Matt Adams. Adams drew a walk to load the bases, but Danny Santana grounded out to first to end the threat as New York got out of the inning unscathed.
Flores led off the top of the second inning with a single to left. Cabrera then reached safely on a throwing error committed by Newcomb as he overthrew second base on an attempted force out, putting runners on the corners with nobody out. T.J. Rivera flew out to center in the ensuing at-bat, allowing Flores to tag up and score an unearned run.
Atlanta threatened once again in the bottom of the third inning as Phillips doubled to right with one out and advanced to third on a Markakis groundout, putting the tying run 90 feet away. Flowers proceeded to fly out to left, however, as Gsellman preserved the shutout.
In the bottom of the fourth, Santana reached on a beautiful bunt single with one away. Ruiz then drew a walk, putting a runner in scoring position once again. The Braves were unable to capitalize as Dansby Swanson lined out and Newcomb struck out to end the inning.
Game two of the doubleheader is set to begin just after 6:00 p.m. ET as Matt Wisler and Steven Matz are both set to make their first starts of 2017 with their respective clubs.