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National League Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, June 20th (All times Eastern)
New York Mets (27-41) at Atlanta Braves (43-30), 7:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: New York - Jon Niese (3-6, 4.15) Atlanta - Mike Minor (8-2, 2.68)
(Sports Network) - The New York Mets try to hand the Atlanta Braves their first home series loss of the season on Thursday when the National League East rivals close out a five-game series from Turner Field.
One day after getting swept in a day/night doubleheader, Atlanta evened this lengthy set at two games apiece, as Chris Johnson hit a three-run homer, B.J. Upton came through with an RBI double and Kris Medlen tossed seven-plus solid innings in a 5-3 victory.
Medlen (4-7) was charged with three runs -- although just one was earned -- while scattering six hits and striking out seven. He has never lost (4-0) in 17 appearances against the Mets.
Craig Kimbrel notched his 20th save with a 1-2-3 ninth, Johnson and Upton each had two hits apiece and Jordan Schafer scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch from Shaun Marcum, who remains winless on the campaign for New York.
Marlon Byrd, Lucas Duda and John Buck each scored during a three-run fifth for the Mets, who had just six hits.
Marcum (0-9) was tagged for all five runs on six hits and four walks over 4 2/3 innings. He's the first Met to drop his first nine decisions since Anthony Young started the 1993 campaign 0-13.
"He's had some rough starts but he's also pitched very well at times," said Mets manager Terry Collins. "Today he just didn't throw as many strikes as he usually does."
Atlanta is 25-10 at home this season and hasn't lost a series in Dixie since dropping two of three to Philadelphia from Aug. 31-Sept. 2.
Trying to avoid that on Thursday will be lefty Mike Minor, who is 8-2 with a 2.68 ERA. Minor did not get a decision on Saturday against San Francisco, as he allowed five runs (4 earned) and seven hits in six innings of a 6-05 win.
"I thought I made decent pitches, and if they were hit a little bit harder, a little bit softer, it could've went the other way," Minor said.
Atlanta has won each of his last eight starts.
Minor beat the Mets earlier in the year and is 4-1 lifetime against them with a 4.73 ERA in eight starts.
New York, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Jon Niese, who has lost his last two decisions. Niese lost to Chicago on Saturday despite a decent showing that saw him allow two runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings. However, he did walk four batters and fell to 3-6 on the year to go along with a 4.15 ERA.
"He battled into the sixth inning and didn't want to come out and that's what I want," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Guys who don't want to come out of the game."
Niese has faced the Braves 13 times and is 6-4 with a 3.64 ERA.
Atlanta has won five of its nine matchups with the Mets this season.
06/20 10:26:30 ET
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