Gsellman strong in Mets win over Braves
ATLANTA — A midseason trip to the minor leagues may have be partially responsible for helping New York Mets rookie Robert Gsellman get back on track.
Gsellman learned a new grip for his changeup when he was sent down to Double-A for a rehab assignment this summer. He used that pitch, changed speeds and worked the corners effectively on Sunday when he mystified the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park.
The right-hander allowed only three hits over seven strong innings and pitched the Mets to a 5-1 win over the Braves.
“I’m just trying to finish strong for these guys so we can have some good momentum heading into next spring and just keep it rolling,” Gsellman said.
Gsellman (7-7) gave up one unearned run and struck out three in his longest stint since May 29. Gsellman pitched ahead in the count most of the game and completed seven innings for the third time this season.
“He got some guys rolling over, conserved pitches and didn’t get behind guys in a lot of counts,” New York manager Terry Collins said. “I thought he was outstanding.”
Gsellman improved to 3-0 in his career against the Braves. He has allowed only one unearned run and six hits in his last 13 2/3 innings against the Braves.
“He was hard to get a hold of,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “We weren’t swinging real good at him. He changes speeds and moves the ball around. He’s pretty tough. He pitches.”
Jerry Blevins pitched a scoreless eighth inning, striking out two. A.J. Ramos worked around a single and a walk to pitch a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation.
New York won two of the three games in the series and improved to 9-6 against Atlanta.
Gsellman allowed only one runner to reach second base — that on Freddie Freeman’s first-inning double — until the seventh inning. That’s when the Braves scored their lone run as New York shortstop Amed Rosario committed errors on back-to-back plays. Jace Peterson drove Johan Camargo home with an infield grounder.
“I thought I worked well out of it,” Gsellman said. “Tried to pick up Rosario. We all make mistakes. You’ve got to pick up your teammate sometimes.”
Atlanta starter Julio Teheran (11-12) allowed two runs in the first inning and nothing afterward. He pitched six innings and gave up three hits, four walks and struck out seven. The loss snapped Teheran’s four-game winning streak.
“The first inning was a little trouble for me,” Teheran said. “After that, I calmed myself and got my rhythm. It’s hard to start a game 2-0.”
Both New York runs came quickly in the first inning. Nori Aoki walked and scored on Jose Reyes’ triple. Teheran walked the bases loaded with one out and got Rosario on a fielder’s choice that scored Reyes.
Other than Aoki’s triple in the second, a ball that was misplayed by left fielder Peterson, the Mets had little success against Teheran. He retired the last six batters in order, three by strikeout.
“I didn’t want them to score anything else and give the team a chance to score a couple runs,” Teheran said. “Even though I got the loss, I thought I did pretty good.”
Atlanta reliever Sam Freeman pitched a scoreless seventh. Rookie left-hander A.J. Minter got the next four outs, striking out three, but was lifted in favor of Jose Ramirez, who was called on to face a series of right-handed batters.
The move backfired. With the bases empty, the Mets scored three times off Ramirez. Rosario beat out an infield single, stole second and scored when Phil Evans launched the ball over the head of center fielder Ender Inciarte for an RBI double.
Asdrubal Cabrera then smacked a pinch-hit homer to straightaway center field, his 13th, to give the Mets a 5-1 lead. The hit extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
NOTES: Sunday’s loss mathematically eliminated Atlanta from postseason contention. ... New York 2B Jose Reyes tripled in the first inning to pass Darryl Strawberry for second most extra-base hits in franchise history. ... New York RF Nori Aoki walked in his first plate appearance and has reached base safely in 18 consecutive games dating to Aug. 20. ... New York rookie Phil Evans got his first big-league start on Sunday. He played third base and went 1-for-4 with his first career RBI. ... Atlanta was without LF Matt Kemp (hamstring) for the second straight game. He remains day-to-day. Jace Peterson got the start. ... The Braves hosted Latin Heritage Day on Sunday with the club wearing “Los Bravos” uniforms. Popular ex-Braves player Javy Lopez threw out the first pitch. ... The Braves are off on Monday and begin a three-game home series on Tuesday against Washington. The Mets continue their road trip on Monday with a three-game series in Miami.