Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla (26) hits a two-run home run during the fourth inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on Thursday in New York. (Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY)
NEW YORK — David Wright highlighted a three-run sixth inning with a controversial RBI triple as the New York Mets pounded out 14 hits and gained a split of their four-game series against the Atlanta Braves with a 7-4 victory Thursday afternoon at Citi Field.
The Mets had already regained a one-run lead on Daniel Murphy’s RBI single through a hole in the infield to left field when Wright stepped in. Facing reliever Kameron Loe (0-1), Wright drove a 1-2 slider to the left-center field warning track and the ball appeared to hit a gate behind an advertisement in front of a standing-room only section.
Atlanta center fielder Reed Johnson didn’t chase after the ball and neither did left fielder Evan Gattis since they thought it was going to be a ground-rule double. Umpires ruled it a triple and Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez engaged in a brief argument before being ejected by third base umpire Chad Fairchild.
Wright’s career-high sixth triple gave the Mets a 6-4 lead and two batters later, he scored on John Buck’s RBI double.
The three-run sixth gave New York rookie Zach Wheeler (4-1) a third straight victory on a day where he struggled with the strike zone at times. Wheeler threw first-pitch strikes to just eight of 25 hitters and allowed four runs (three earned) and four hits over six innings.
Wheeler threw 53 of 95 pitches for strikes and his two worst pitches were a 3-1 fastball that Dan Uggla hit to left field for a two-run home run in the fourth and a 1-0 fastball that Freddie Freeman blasted to straightaway center field leading off the sixth.
David Aarsdma and LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless inning apiece. Bobby Parnell did the same in the ninth for his 20th save in 24 opportunities.
Buck had three RBIs as he capped New York’s four-run third against Atlanta starter Alex Wood with a two-run single. Marlon Byrd also had a run-scoring single and Justin Turner added an RBI groundout for the Mets, who improved to 12-8 in July.
Wood was recalled to make a spot start for Paul Maholm and allowed four runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings.