But with the New York Mets heading to Philadelphia to begin a three-game series on Friday, Wright hopes his team can keep grinding out some wins.
“We’ve had our struggles here in Atlanta,” Wright said. “But to come in, sweep that double-header and be able to win the rubber match today—in those close games, it comes down to bullpen, defense and timely hitting, and we’ve got all three of those.”
Wright hit two solo homers, New York’s bullpen pitched five-plus scoreless innings and the Mets overcame an injury to starter Jonathon Niese in a 4-3 victory over the Braves on Thursday night.
Niese left the game in the fourth with left shoulder discomfort and the Mets trailing 3-2, but the Mets’ bullpen shut down Atlanta for the next 5 2-3 innings.
LaTroy Hawkins (2-0), New York’s third pitcher, earned the victory after allowing two hits and striking out two in two innings.
The Mets have won four of six, thanks in part to a bullpen that’s 1-0 with a 1.55 ERA over the last nine games.
New York, at 28-51, is 12 1/2 games behind Atlanta in the division, but Wright knows that’s better than being even further back.
“It’s a good feeling to come in here and take this series against this team,” Wright said, “because they’re obviously one of the elite.”
Mike Minor (8-3) allowed nine hits, four runs and two walks in six-plus innings for the Braves. The left-hander struck out six.
Wright, who went 3 for 4, has 32 homers against Atlanta—his most against any opponent—including 18 at Turner Field.
“He’s a really good hitter,” Minor said. “I threw a fastball over the middle of the plate. You can’t do that. It was up and over the middle and then a hanging curveball that was up and over the middle.”
In his last 14 games, Wright is hitting .407 with four homers and eight RBIs since June 5. It was his 20th multihomer game and second this season.
Those runs came off Niese, who winced in the fourth after making a pitch to Tyler Pastornicky Niese motioned to the dugout that he was hurt and was done for the night after Collins visited the mound.
Niese, who gave up eight hits and three runs with five strikeouts in 3 1-3 innings, will fly to New York on Friday and visit an orthopedist. He said he felt fine until facing Pastornicky.
“It’s never good when you have to leave a game, but on a good note, the doctor (at Turner Field) did some tests and everything was negative,” Niese said. “It just felt really weak. I think the tendinitis kind of flared up again.”
Wright gave the Mets a 1-0 lead in the first with his 10th homer and led off the fourth with his 11th to cut Atlanta’s lead to 3-2.
Andrew Brown’s pinch-hit homer to lead off the Mets’ fifth tied to score at 3-all.
David Aardsma replaced Niese and pitched out of a jam with runners on first and second when Justin Upton lined out. After Hawkins faced four batters in the fifth and four in the sixth, Brandon Lyon faced the minimum in the seventh.
The Mets took a 4-3 lead in the top of the seventh. Quintanilla doubled on the 10th pitch he saw from Minor and scored from second when pinch-hitter Josh Satin doubled down the right-field line to chase Minor.
“The solo home runs kept us in the game, gave us a little momentum, but it came down to the bullpen, defense and that big hit by Satin,” Wright said.
NOTES: Niese missed a turn in the rotation with tendinitis in his left shoulder late last month, but avoided the disabled list. He received 12 days of rest before making his next start June 9, a no-decision against Miami in which he allowed two earned runs in 6 2-3 innings. … Braves 3B Johnson committed three errors, including two on the same play in the ninth. … Niese’s road ERA rose to 6.66 in five starts this year. … On a bobble-head night for B.J. Upton, the promotion’s namesake went 0 for 5 with two strikeouts. Upton, who signed a five-year $75.25 million contract that’s the biggest in franchise history, is batting.169 in his first season with Atlanta.