After Julio Teheran and Jacob deGrom waged a pitcher’s duel through eight scoreless innings Saturday night, it was the Bud and Bartolo show in another pitching clinic for most of Sunday afternoon, and this time, the Atlanta Braves won the subsequent battle of bullpens. Big time.
Bud Norris had a season-high eight strikeouts in seven scoreless innings of a 5-2 win against the New York Mets at Turner Field, where Adonis Garcia’s three-run homer capped a four-run eighth inning against the Mets’ bullpen. The Braves won for the eighth time in 11 games, and earned a split of the four-game series.
Freddie Freeman had another three-hit game, including a first-inning homer and third-inning double, and the Braves won for the fifth time in their past seven games against the second-place Mets, who still lead the season series 7-6. The Mets won 1-0 on Kelly Johnson’s 11th-inning homer Saturday.
After the Mets scored two runs in the ninth on three hits, including two doubles against Alex Ogando, Braves closer Arodys Vizcaino came in to get the final out and converted his 10th save in 12 opportunities.
Norris (3-7) allowed just four singles and no walks and improved to 2-1 with a 2.15 ERA in five starts since returning to the starting rotation, including four consecutive team wins. He was 1-4 with an 8.74 ERA in five April starts before losing his spot in the rotation and moving to the bullpen.
Bartolo Colon gave up a two-out, first-pitch solo homer Freeman in the first inning, then only five more hits and one walk in his seven innings of work. Freeman was 3-for-3 against him, and improved to 13-for-27 in his career against the 43-year-old right-hander.
Colon left with the Mets trailing 1-0, and the Braves teed off on left-hander Antonio Bastardo, who faced three batters and gave up two singles, a walk and a balk, and Verrett, who gave up a homer to the first batter he faced, hot-hitting Garcia, pushing the lead to 5-0.
Norris, after getting into a groove and making big strides over 12 relief appearances, was thrust back into the rotation after Mike Foltynewicz was scratched from a June 4 start at Dodger Stadium.
Norris worked five strong innings in that game against the Dodgers and has remained in the rotation since, steadily increasing his trade value while helping to steady a youthful Braves rotation — like the Braves had in mind when they signed the veteran to a one-year, $2.5 million deal in November.
Before Sunday, Colon, an aging 5-foot-11, 285-pound miracle of a strike-throwing machine, was 5-0 with a 2.63 ERA in six starts against the Braves since the beginning of the 2015 season. He needed only 19 pitches to get through the first two innings, despite allowing two extra-base hits in the first.
GAZETTE COVERAGEEnsure access to everything we do, today and every day, check out our subscribe page at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe
More from The Daily Gazette: