Heyward likely will return from a six-game absence and try to help Atlanta avoid a fourth defeat in five games Monday night at Citi Field.
A right hamstring strain has kept Heyward out of the lineup while B.J. Upton remains on the disabled list with a right adductor strain, causing manager Fredi Gonzalez to get creative with his outfield.
Gonzalez said Heyward, who normally plays right field, would play center until Upton returns. Justin Upton , normally in left, has been playing right.
"I just wanted to make sure my legs were 100 percent before I can go out there and attempt to (play), so having this extra day is great for me," Heyward said. "(Monday) we'll see where we're at, but I think I'm ready to go."
The NL East-leading Braves (55-43) have dropped four of six without Heyward, including Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox. Evan Gattis , starting in left, drove in the team's only run, but center fielder Reed Johnson was robbed of what would have been a game-tying homer in the eighth.
Brian McCann also was robbed of a potential run-scoring hit earlier in the game.
Heyward is 8 for 19 with a homer off Gee (7-7, 4.32), who should be looking forward to his first home start in 2 1/2 weeks.
The right-hander has posted a 2.83 ERA at home compared to a 5.46 mark on the road, though he ended his first half by giving up one unearned run in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-2 win at Pittsburgh on July 14.
Gee's worst home start came May 25, when he gave up five runs and eight hits in five innings of a 6-0 loss to the Braves, falling to 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA in his career at home against Atlanta.
He carried a 1-0 lead into the ninth inning June 17 at Turner Field, but allowed a walk-off two-run homer to Freddie Freeman .
The Mets (43-51) hope this contest ends with a more favorable result after beating Philadelphia 5-0 on Sunday for their third victory in four tries. David Wright and Marlon Byrd hit back-to-back homers in the first, and Juan Lagares added a three-run shot in the fourth.
New York scored 18 runs while taking two of three from the Phillies, and will look to continue its hot hitting against Braves starter Julio Teheran , who is in a bit of a slump.
Teheran (7-5, 3.35) has allowed 12 runs - nine earned - while pitching fewer than six full innings twice over his last three starts, most recently surrendering five runs in 5 1-3 innings of an 8-4 loss to Cincinnati on July 14. He had pitched at least six frames in each of his previous 10 outings while posting a 2.28 ERA.
The right-hander was solid in his first start against the Mets, giving up one run in 6 2-3 innings before New York rallied for a 4-2 win May 26.
These teams have split the first 10 meetings of the season.
|July 13, 2013||B.J. Upton||15-Day DL||Right adductor strain|
|July 11, 2013||Jason Heyward||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right hamstring|
|July 04, 2013||Jordan Schafer||15-Day DL||Right ankle contusion|
|July 02, 2013||B.J. Upton||Day-to-Day||Left game - left forearm spasms|
|June 18, 2013||Evan Gattis||15-Day DL||Oblique strain|
|June 18, 2013||Evan Gattis||15-Day DL||Oblique strain|
|New York Mets|
|July 13, 2013||LaTroy Hawkins||Day-to-Day||Sore right triceps|
|July 09, 2013||Shaun Marcum||15-Day DL||Thoracic outlet syndrome|
|July 08, 2013||Shaun Marcum||Day-to-Day||Right hand numbness|
|June 22, 2013||Lucas Duda||15-Day DL||Strained left intercostal|
|June 21, 2013||Jonathon Niese||15-Day DL||Partially torn left rotator cuff|
|June 20, 2013||Jonathon Niese||Day-to-Day||Left game - left shoulder discomfort|
NEW YORK (AP) -- Credit Jason Heyward with a save. His teammates sure are.
The 6-foot-5 outfielder made a diving, game-ending catch with runners on first and second after pinch-hitter Reed Johnson hit a go-ahead single with two outs in a two-run top half, leading the Atlanta Braves to a 2-1 victory over the New York Mets on Monday night.
"That was unbelievable," Johnson said.
Playing for the first time after missing six games with a strained right hamstring, Heyward was positioned toward right-center field when pinch-hitter Justin Turner sent Craig Kimbrel 's pitch to the opposite gap. Heyward raced across Citi Field's spacious outfield and made a flat out dive for the drive in the rain. He held up his glove to show he had the ball as he slid across the turf on his belly for the final out.
"I want to make every play I can," the Gold Glove outfielder said. "If I try to play it on the hop it probably gets by me. The safe way there was probably not the best."
The Braves appreciated the effort. Johnson, the left fielder, threw his hands in the air and jumped up. Starter Julio Teheran said he jumped, too, while watching in the clubhouse. Kimbrel threw his head back, then held his hands out wide - lip readers could see him saying, "Oh, my God!"
Astonishing? Not to Brian McCann .
"When he gets full tilt, he can fly," said the catcher, who started the Braves' ninth-inning rally with a single off Bobby Parnell .
Heyward was playing center field because B.J. Upton is on the disabled list.
"If he doesn't leave his feet, he ain't gonna catch that ball," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "But the son of a gun's 6-foot-6, 6-7, and he's not afraid to do that. We've seen him do that in right field, leave his feet. Wow, what a catch!"
The Braves were in position to win because they took advantage of catcher John Buck 's passed ball to score twice in the ninth.
Atlanta did not get a hit off Dillon Gee until Freddie Freeman led off the seventh with a single. But the NL East leaders ended their two-game skid against Parnell (5-5).
With shortstop Omar Quintanilla playing behind second base in a shift, McCann singled through the opening at short to open the ninth. Evan Gattis followed with a bloop single to right-center. David Wright then fielded Dan Uggla 's grounder and stepped on third before leaping over a sliding pinch-runner Jose Constanza . Buck's passed ball on a high fastball put runners in scoring position before Chris Johnson 's grounder tied it.
"We just got crossed up," Buck said of he and Parnell on the passed ball
Batting for reliever Jordan Walden , Reed Johnson lined a single to center for the lead - a day after he was robbed of an eighth-inning homer by the White Sox's Casper Wells in a 3-1 loss.
Kimbrel hit Buck with a pitch with one out in the rainy ninth, drawing the Mets fans ire as he tried to get comfortable in the steady downpour by walking off the mound after nearly every pitch. Pinch-runner Andrew Brown advanced to second on a wild pitch and Quintanilla drew a 10-pitch walk.
Turner, in his first game off the disabled list, then hit what he thought would at least tie it.
"I went up there and tried to take a good at-bat, and unfortunately ended up on the wrong end of a highlight reel," Turner said.
Kimbrel earned his 28th save. Walden (4-1) pitched the eighth for the Braves' first win in three games.
Teheran kept pace with Gee, allowing just Ike Davis ' RBI single in the fourth inning.
"I knew the other pitcher was pitching great, too. I just tried to keep the game close," Teheran said.
Teheran put runners on base in each of the first four innings, but picked off leadoff man Eric Young Jr. after walking him in the first. Teheran couldn't overcome Marlon Byrd 's leadoff triple in the fourth, though.
Byrd hit a sinking line drive to right field that went under the glove of a charging Justin Upton and rolled to the wall. Byrd raced around second and the fans' cheers began to swell but turned to a collective "aww" when he was held at third rather than try for an inside-the-park homer.
Davis followed with a sharp grounder under diving first baseman Freeman for the 1-0 lead. It was Davis' first RBI since he drove in two runs July 5, his first game back from the minors.
The Braves wasted a big chance in the seventh when Freeman led off with their first hit. Atlanta then loaded the bases with one out on a single by Gattis and Uggla was hit by a pitch.
Gee threw his gutsiest pitches of the night with the bases jammed. First Chris Johnson grounded to third baseman Wright, who rushed the slow bouncer and threw home for a fielder's choice. Then Gee tossed two pitches in the dirt that pinch-hitter Joey Terdoslavich chased for an inning-ending strikeout. Mets fans gave Gee a loud cheer as he walked off the field.
Gee was lifted after 96 pitches and seven innings, allowing two hits and three walks. He has tossed 13 2-3 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run.
NOTES: Mets rookie center fielder Juan Lagares was named NL player of the week. He went 7 for 10 with two doubles, one homer and five RBIs over his last three games. ... The Braves are putting LHP Paul Maholm (wrist strain) on the 15-day DL. Rookie Alex Wood will make his second big league start in his place. ... Atlanta CF B.J. Upton (leg muscle strain) ran for the first time since going on the DL July 14, retroactive to the 13th. Gonzalez said Upton likely will not be ready to be activated when eligible this weekend.