Morton earns 100th win, Stroman hurt as Braves blank Mets
NEW YORK (AP) — Charlie Morton struck out 11 in seven innings of one-hit ball for his 100th major league win, and the Atlanta Braves beat the banged-up New York Mets 3-0 on Tuesday night for their second consecutive shutout against the slumping NL East leaders.
Mets starter Marcus Stroman exited in the second with a sore left hip, the latest blow to a depleted team decimated by pitching injuries lately.
Dansby Swanson hit a three-run homer and Morton (7-3) became the 19th active pitcher to reach 100 wins, hitting the milestone 13 years, 8 days after getting his first one with the Braves. In between stints with Atlanta, the veteran right-hander notched 89 wins for Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Houston and Tampa Bay.
“Took me a really long time,” Morton said with a laugh. “Glad I got there and got there with this group. This is a special night.”
The 37-year-old Morton has 54 wins since the start of the 2017 season, which he ended by getting the final 12 outs of the Houston Astros’ World Series-clinching victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“I've had four surgeries, I've missed a lot of time to injury, I’ve dealt with numerous failures, had so many opportunities that were given to me that probably weren’t given to other guys in my situation,” Morton said. “The long and short of it’s been such an awesome experience, not only the successes but the failures. And to still be here and be on a great team and have a chance to go to the playoffs again — just really fortunate.”
Stroman, who lasted at least six innings in each of his previous eight starts, walked one in a hitless first but left after throwing just three pitches to Austin Riley in the second.
Mets manager Luis Rojas said Stroman was undergoing further testing.
“On one of the pitches, he landed and he felt that he hyperextended it a little bit,” Rojas said. “He wanted to stay but I think it was wise to come out, just be cautious. You can hurt something else just by not being as deliberate with your delivery using your hips. So we’ll reassess how he is (Wednesday).”
The Mets used four relievers one night before right-hander Tylor Megill is expected to make his big league debut. Megill, who is 2-1 with a 3.35 ERA in eight starts between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Syracuse, will pitch in place of Joey Lucchesi, who was injured Friday and will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery Thursday.
Swanson went deep in the third for the Braves, who have won two of three in the four-game series. New York has dropped six of eight overall, totaling only 13 runs and getting shut out four times during that span.
Morton, who carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning of his previous start against St. Louis, held the Mets hitless until pinch-hitting pitcher Jerad Eickhoff reached on an infield single with two outs in the fifth. That was one of just two hits for the punchless Mets — James McCann had a two-out double in the ninth.
“It’s hard to win games in the big leagues,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It hasn’t been easy sledding for Charlie, either. He’s been through adversity and things, different stuff. And to keep going at it like he is right now is just a testament to him and how he takes care of himself."
Morton walked two and plunked a pair of batters.
A.J. Minter tossed a perfect eighth and Will Smith worked the ninth for his 15th save.
Atlanta gave Morton all the support he needed in the third against reliever Yennsy Díaz (0-1). With one out, Ozzie Albies singled and went to second when Abraham Almonte walked. Both runners advanced on Riley’s groundout before Swanson homered to left.
IN A PINCH
With infielder Jonathan Villar (calf) and catcher Tomas Nido (wrist) nursing injuries sustained Monday, the Mets used starting pitchers David Peterson and Eickhoff as pinch-hitters. Peterson struck out in the third.
It was the second time the Mets used two pitchers as pinch-hitters in a game. Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz pinch-hit against San Diego on July 27, 2017.
Eickhoff was New York's starting pitcher in the second game of Monday’s doubleheader. The hit was his first since Aug. 25, 2017.
Braves: LHP Max Fried (blister), who had been scheduled to start Wednesday, was placed on the injured list. Snitker said he hopes Fried will only need the minimum stay. … OF Guillermo Heredia (right wrist inflammation) was scratched a little more than an hour before the first pitch and replaced in the lineup by Ender Inciarte.
Mets: RHP Dellin Betances (right shoulder) had his rehab assignment moved to Triple-A Syracuse.
Braves: RHP Kyle Wright (0-0, 4.15 ERA) was promoted from Triple-A to take Fried’s spot in the rotation. Wright made his lone big league appearance this year on April 16.
Mets: Megill will become the 12th different starter for New York this season.
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