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    Atlanta «3
    N.Y. Mets2

    Braves 3, Mets 2

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    PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) - Jonathon Niese is happy with his new changeup.

    Niese allowed six hits - all singles - in 5 1-3 scoreless innings Saturday as the Mets lost to an Atlanta Braves' split squad 3-2.

    "I felt good," Niese said. "I want to go out there and pound the zone and throw strikes with all my pitches. I got to use some changeups in situations that were 1-2. Some worked, some didn't. All-around it felt good."

    Niese struck out three, walked none and hit a batter - Braves starter Kris Medlen. He threw 49 of 72 pitches for strikes and induced two double plays, both times with sinkers.

    "It's pretty amazing - six innings, all six leadoff hitters got on and he pitched a six-inning shutout," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "You'll find that very seldom. It was an outstanding job. He mixed up all his pitches and really pitched good."

    Niese, 11-11 with a 4.40 ERA last season, used his changeup in different counts, including the first pitch of at-bats. He said at times he threw the changeup away to let hitters know he had it, then came back with a four-seam fastball inside.

    "The biggest thing with pitching is being confident with your pitches, trusting your pitches and right now I really trust my stuff," Niese said. "That helps me know that I can just pound the zone."

    In three spring training starts, Niese has a 2.61 ERA in 10 1-3 innings with nine strikeouts, nine hits and just one walk.

    "I think it's time for Jon Niese to step into what everybody thinks he's going to do and that's be a big winner in the big leagues because he's got the stuff," Collins said. "He's certainly has as good stuff as there is in this league."

    While Niese has a spot in the Mets' rotation, Medlen is expected to work out of the bullpen for the Braves. After missing almost all of last season recovering from elbow-ligament replacement surgery, the 26-year old gave up one hit in four shutout innings, struck out four and walked one.

    Medlen had thrown just two innings in each of his first two outings.

    "I just wanted to keep the pitch count down, throw strikes and get ahead of guys," Medlen said. "I have no hesitation at all, no restrictions. My confidence is pretty high right now, but I'm still pitching exactly the way I used to. I'm attacking hitters and being aggressive and letting my fielders work."

    Daniel Murphy had two hits, including a two-run single in the sixth against Sean Gilmartin. David Ross hit a go-ahead, two-run double in a three-run eighth inning off Ramon Ramirez that also included Matt Diaz's RBI single.

    Martin Prado, Jason Heyward and Ross each had two hits for the Braves. Heyward also stole a base.

    NOTES: The Mets celebrated St. Patrick's Day by wearing green jersey tops and green hats with orange lettering and numbers. The Braves also wore green hats and the bases were outlined in green. ... Braves SS Andrelton Simmons made a nice play to finish a double play in the second inning. Justin Turner made a hard slide at second base, which appeared to catch Simmons' foot. Simmons lost his balance and spun around, but still was able to get the ball to 1B Freddie Freeman. ... Mets top prospect Zack Wheeler threw 2 2-3 innings in a minor league game against St. Louis. Wheeler, whose fastball was clocked as high as 97 mph, walked three, hit a batter and struck out one.

     
    Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
     
     
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    Atlanta Braves
    HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
    Andrelton Simmons, SS5010013 .231
    Martin Prado, 3B4120011 .378
        Joe Terdoslavich, 3B0000000 .263
    Jason Heyward, RF4020001 .214
        Adam Milligan, PR-RF0100000 .000
    Freddie Freeman, 1B4010003 .147
        Brandon Drury, 1B0000000 .000
    Matt Diaz, LF4011001 .194
        Mycal Jones, PR-CF0100000 .000
    David Ross, C4022003 .211
        Jairo Asencio, P0000000 .000
        Todd Redmond, P0000000 .000
    Drew Sutton, 2B4000013 .348
    Luis Durango, CF-LF4020011 .529
    Kris Medlen, P0000000 .000
        Sean Gilmartin, P1000000 .000
        Troy Snitker, C1000001 .000
    Totals35311304  
    Batting
    2B - David Ross (1, Ramirez)
    SH - Kris Medlen (1)
    RBI - Matt Diaz (3), David Ross 2 (2)
    2-OUT RBI - Matt Diaz (3), David Ross 2 (2)
    SB - Jason Heyward (1, 3rd base off Rauch/May)
    Team LOB - 7
    Fielding
    DP - Sutton-Simmons-Freeman
    Atlanta Braves
    PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
    Kris Medlen 4100140 1.13
    Sean Gilmartin (W,1-0) 3422200 3.00
    Jairo Asencio (H,1) 1100120 3.86
    Todd Redmond (S,1) 1000010 7.50
    Pitches-Strikes - Kris Medlen 24-20, Sean Gilmartin 22-14, Jairo Asencio 12-8, Todd Redmond 5-5
    Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kris Medlen 3-4, Sean Gilmartin 5-4, Jairo Asencio 1-0
    Batters Faced - Kris Medlen 13, Sean Gilmartin 15, Jairo Asencio 5, Todd Redmond 3
    New York Mets
    HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
    Andres Torres, CF4000012 .273
        Cesar Puello, CF0000000 .333
    Daniel Murphy, 2B3022000 .320
        Josh Satin, 1B1010000 .250
    Jason Bay, LF2000111 .250
        Adam Loewen, PR-LF0000100 .333
    Ike Davis, 1B3000013 .217
        Frank Francisco, P0000000 .000
        Chuck James, P0000000 .000
        Ramon Ramirez, P0000000 .000
       a- Lucas Duda, PH1000012 .231
        Danny Herrera, P0000000 .000
    Justin Turner, 3B3000103 .192
        Vinny Rottino, PR-3B0000000 .143
    Mike Baxter, RF4010013 .308
    Lucas May, C2000010 .278
        Mike Nickeas, C2000011 .294
    Jordany Valdespin, SS2110000 .360
        Omar Quintanilla, SS2000001 .182
    Jonathon Niese, P1000000 .000
        Jon Rauch, P0000000 .000
       b- Ronny Cedeno, PH-2B2110100 .313
    Totals3226247  
    a-struck out for Ramirez in the 8th
    b-singled for Rauch in the 6th
    Batting
    RBI - Daniel Murphy 2 (3)
    SB - Mike Baxter (3, 2nd base off Gilmartin/Ross)
    Team LOB - 7
    Fielding
    DP - Valdespin-Davis, Murphy-Valdespin-Davis, Cedeno-Quintanilla-Satin
    E - Jonathon Niese (1, Missed catch of throw)
    New York Mets
    PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
    Jonathon Niese 5.1600030 2.61
    Jon Rauch 0.2000000 9.53
    Frank Francisco (H,1) 1000000 7.20
    Chuck James (H,3) 0.2222000 8.10
    Ramon Ramirez (BS,1; L,0-1) 0.1211010 11.25
    Danny Herrera 1100000 0.00
    HBP - Medlen (by Jonathon Niese)
    Pitches-Strikes - Jonathon Niese 28-27, Jon Rauch 3-2, Frank Francisco 3-3, Chuck James 4-4, Ramon Ramirez 5-5, Danny Herrera 3-3
    Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jonathon Niese 6-6, Jon Rauch 2-0, Frank Francisco 1-2, Danny Herrera 2-0
    Batters Faced - Jonathon Niese 22, Jon Rauch 2, Frank Francisco 3, Chuck James 4, Ramon Ramirez 3, Danny Herrera 3
    Game Information
    Attendance - 6019
    Game Time - 2:22
    Temperature - 79
    Umpires - Home - Angel Hernandez, First Base - Jerry Meals, Second Base - UMP Nonindividual, Third Base - D.J. Reyburn