September 21, 2015: Niese Leads Shutout of Braves

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Date: September 21, 2015
Mets starter: Jonathon Niese
Mets: 4
Braves: 0
Winning pitcher: Jonathon Niese
Key player(s): Jonathon Niese, Michael Conforto, Daniel Murphy
Key play: Conforto’s home run, Murphy’s double

The Mets faced the Braves on a Monday night at Citi Field. The teams played the opener of a series in front of 26,362 fans on hand. Jonathon Niese and three relievers teamed up for a shutout in a 4-0 Mets win over Atlanta.

Niese retired the side on three straight infield ground balls in the top of the first inning. Curtis Granderson drew a walk against the Braves’ Shelby Miller to lead off the bottom half. Daniel Murphy and Yoenis Cespedes followed with singles to load the bases and Lucas Duda popped out to shortstop Andrelton Simmons. Travis d'Arnaud hit a grounder on which third baseman Adonis Garcia threw to second baseman Daniel Castro for an out on Cespedes. Granderson scored on the play, but Murphy got caught between bases and was tagged out by Simmons for an inning-ending double play.

Niese set down all three batters on infield grounders again in the top of the second. With one out in the bottom half, Michael Conforto slugged a home run to increase the Mets’ lead to 2-0. Wilmer Flores singled and was caught stealing second base on catcher A. J. Pierzynski’s throw to Simmons. Niese and Granderson drew back-to-back walks and Murphy flied out to left fielder Nick Swisher to finish off the inning. The Braves failed to score after loading the bases in the top of the third. Miller then gave up only a double to Cespedes in the bottom half.

Niese and Miller each pitched two-hit scoreless ball from the fourth inning to the sixth. Mets’ reliever Addison Reed retired the side in order in the top of the seventh and pinch-hitter Michael Cuddyer singled against Atlanta’s Andrew McKirahan to begin the bottom half. Granderson singled to advance pinch-runner Eric Young to third base and went to second on an error by center fielder Cameron Maybin. Murphy hit a double to bring home Young and Granderson with the Mets’ third and fourth runs of the game. Braves’ reliever Brandon Cunniff retired Cespedes on a grounder to Simmons and issued an intentional walk to Duda. Cunniff then threw a called third strike past d’Arnaud and got Kelly Johnson on a line drive to Castro that closed out the inning.

Mets’ reliever Tyler Clippard gave up just a single to pinch-hitter Pedro Ciriaco top of the eighth. Alanta’s Daniel Winkler struck out the side in a scoreless bottom half and New York’s Jeurys Familia retired Garcia on a ground ball to shortstop Ruben Tejada to start the top of the ninth. Pierzynski singled and Swisher grounded out to second baseman Johnson. Familia then struck out Maybin to end the game. The Mets had a shutout victory.