Three-Run Game-Winning Homer Sinks Braves, 7-6, Against Mets

Ervin Santana Hurls Two Innings For Braves

Thursday, March 20, 2014
Zach Wheeler went 5 1/3 innings for the Mets
Zach Wheeler went 5 1/3 innings for the Mets
- photo by Tim Evearitt
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- With a growing chorus of critics trailing his every move, Ruben Tejada broke out in a big way for the Mets on Thursday, and Anthony Recker hit a game-winning three-run homer in a 7-6 win against the Braves.

Tejada finished 3-for-3 with a double, a run scored and an RBI, increasing his Grapefruit League average from .120 to .214. New York led for most of the game as a result, but Justin Upton's two-run double off Scott Rice in the seventh briefly gave the Braves the lead until Recker's big hit ended it.

Entering the game with more defensive errors (four) than hits (three), Tejada's struggles had prompted continued calls for the Mets to sign free agent Stephen Drew, trade for Nick Franklin or Didi Gregorius, or convert Wilmer Flores into a full-time shortstop.

All the while, Terry Collins publicly supported his shortstop. The manager's first real bit of vindication came in the first inning Thursday, when Tejada redirected an Ervin Santana pitch into left field for a single. Two innings later, he doubled off Cory Gearrin and scored on Chris Young's single, before knocking in a run of his own with a single off David Bromberg in the fifth.

Making his Grapefruit League debut, Santana allowed one run in two innings. Atlanta's goal is to have the right-hander join the rotation by the end of the second week of the regular season.

Though the Braves staked Santana to an early lead on B.J. Upton's RBI single and Ernesto Mejia's solo homer in the first, the damage against Mets starter Zack Wheeler would have been worse had Juan Lagares not robbed Justin Upton of an RBI extra-base hit. It was the latest in a string of highlight-reel catches for Lagares, who finished 1-for-2 and departed after being hit on the left shoulder by a pitch in the seventh.

Wheeler lasted 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs. The Braves drew within one on Ramiro Pena's RBI single off Kyle Farnsworth in the seventh.

Up next: 

One split-squad team will host the Tigers on Friday afternoon at 1:05, while the other plays the Orioles in Sarasota, Fla., at 1:05. Julio Teheran will oppose Justin Verlander in a matchup of Opening Day starters at Disney. Gonzalez has indicated he plans to officially announce Teheran as his Opening Day starter on Friday. Gus Schlosser will start for the split-squad team that will play the Orioles. Schlosser is bidding to begin the season in Atlanta's rotation or bullpen.

--- Source:

Stolz Tied For Fourth In State Match Play

KNOXVILLE -- Zac Stolz from Chattanooga is tied for fourth after the first round of the 11th Tennessee Match Play Championship at the Holston Hills Country Club. Stolz shot 4-under 68 on Thursday. Brentwood's Brendon Caballero leads the tournament after the first day with an 8-under 64. Alcoa's Ron Waters leads the State Senior Match Play with a 67 in the first rond. 11th ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Ranked No. 6 In Class 4A Poll

Signal Mountain's Eagles have been ranked No. 6 in Murphy Fair's Class 4A preseason high school football poll. The poll was recently announced in Fair's Tennessee High School Football magazine. Despite heavy graduation losses, the Falcons of Fulton High School in Knoxville are still the solid choice of 4A coaches to again repeat as state champions in their classification. ... (click for more)

EPB Files With FCC To Expand TV, Phone, Internet Offerings Outside Electric Service Area

 EPB announced Thursday that it has filed a petition to the FCC "in an effort to respond to neighboring communities’ requests for access to the company’s gigabit enabled high-speed Internet service." Officials said, "EPB offers high-speed Internet access, video programming and voice services using a fiber optic communications network that allows the company to deliver these ... (click for more)

Black Creek Developers Say They "Followed The Rules" On $9 Million TIF: To Continue Project

The developers of the Black Creek project at Aetna Mountain said Thursday they "complied precisely by the rules when we applied for and received approval of the TIF district." Doug Stein said the group plans to continue on with the project, which he said earlier would include the creation of a small town on a huge undeveloped tract on the mountain above Black Creek (formerly ... (click for more)

Pickle Ball? - And Response

Collegedale has done some wonderful things for its residents.  The Greenway is a perfect example of money well spent on helping to give her residents the opportunity to improve their lives, at least from a health standpoint. Having taught at Wolftever Creek for a decade plus, I was fortunate to have opportunity to take my classes on walks from time to time.  It provided ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The NCAA’s “Division IV”

Jonathan Jensen and Brian Turner are two very smart guys. Not long ago the two sports researchers at Ohio State authored a story that appeared in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports that focused on the most successful college football teams in the country and, earlier this week, a writer named Ben Cohen broke it down in understandable terms for a fascinating Wall Street ... (click for more)