Surprising Torres pitches Mets past Braves

Jerry Beach, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- A clause in Carlos Torres' contract forced the New York Mets to promote him from Triple-A Las Vegas on June 15. A little more than a month later, the Mets can't imagine life without him.
Torres pitched in and out of trouble Tuesday night in earning his first win as a starter in almost four years and Ike Davis' RBI double fueled a three-run, tie-breaking rally in the sixth inning of the Mets' 4-1 win over the Atlanta Braves in front of 24,355 at Citi Field.
Torres exercised an out clause in his contract on June 14 that would have made him a free agent if the Mets didn't bring him to the big-league club within 48 hours. All he's done since then is post a 0.94 ERA in 28 2/3 innings -- the lowest ERA of any National League pitcher who has thrown at least 20 innings.
"I'm literally just trying to find what I can do to help this team," Torres said. "And right now it's starting and getting some innings in."
The Mets moved Torres -- who hadn't won as a starter since he was with the White Sox on Sept. 3, 2009 -- into the rotation earlier this month when Shaun Marcum was lost for the season due to thoracic outlet syndrome surgery.
Torres has one win and has allowed one run in each of his two starts. Marcum went 1-10 with a 5.29 ERA in 14 games and allowed one run or less just once in 12 starts.
"It's a big boost, because (when) we lost Shaun Marcum, we needed somebody to step up," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "And he's stepped up for us."
Torres stepped up plenty of times Tuesday night, when he tied a career high by striking out six batters and surrendered the one run despite allowing seven hits and two walks in six innings. The Braves had just one 1-2-3 inning against Torres but stranded eight runners, including six in scoring position.
"He does a good job at executing pitches when he needs to -- whether it's needing a ground ball or a punch-out -- executing those pitches to be effective in those situations," Mets catcher John Buck said. "I think that's why he's had success in any role."
The Braves took a quick lead when Andrelton Simmons homered on Torres' second pitch, but Mets centerfielder Juan Lagares ended the inning by throwing out Jason Heyward as he tried to score from second on Evan Gattis' single.
Torres hit Dan Uggla leading off the second and Chris Johnson followed with a ground-rule double that would have scored Uggla if the ball didn't bounce over the fence. But Torres got out of the jam by getting Kris Medlen to ground to third, retiring Simmons on a fly out to shallow left and inducing Heyward to fly out to left.
"Our team defense did a tremendous job today, throwing guys out (and) getting to balls," Torres said. "Sometimes you have to get a little lucky -- ball bounces over for a ground-rule double instead of (Uggla) scoring a run. So I'll take the lucky times too."
Four innings later, Torres ended his night by striking out Johnson and Medlen after surrendering a one-out single to Uggla, who stole second on Johnson's strikeout.
"He made his pitches," Uggla said. "I don't want to say 'that's about it,' but that's what he did. When we got guys on in scoring position, he did what he had to do to get out of it."
The Mets made a winner out of Torres by chasing Medlen (6-10) with a four-hit flurry in the sixth.
Daniel Murphy and David Wright singled before Wright was forced at second when Johnson made a nice diving play of Marlon Byrd's grounder.
Davis followed with an RBI double off the base of the right-field wall to score Murphy. Buck then singled home Byrd to end Medlen's night. Juan Lagares greeted David Carpenter with a sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 4-1.
Torres had a game-tying RBI single in the third and Buck and Wright had two hits apiece for the Mets (44-52), who received three innings of hitless relief from four pitches. Bobby Parnell notched his 19th save by striking out two in a perfect ninth.
Uggla had two hits for the Braves (56-44).
Medlen allowed four runs on seven hits and one walk while striking out four over 5 1/3 innings.
NOTES: Collins said before the game that RHP Jenrry Mejia would be recalled from his rehab assignment with Double-A Binghamton to start the first game of Friday's doubleheader against Washington. Mejia has been on the disabled list with a strained right elbow all year but is 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA in two starts since joining Binghamton. ... The Mets placed Marcum on release waivers on Tuesday. The move saves the Mets $1 million in incentives Marcum would have reached by remaining on the DL for an injury unrelated to his right arm. ... Though he is expected to miss at least two weeks with a left wrist contusion, Braves LHP Paul Maholm probably won't officially be placed on the 15-day disabled list until Thursday, when Atlanta will recall LHP Alex Wood to take Maholm's spot in the rotation. ... Simmons' leadoff homer was his third of the season and of his career. It was also the second leadoff homer against the Mets in the last four days. Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins homered on RHP Zack Wheeler's fourth pitch Saturday.

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