When Kris Medlen couldn’t hold a multirun lead in the fifth inning Wednesday night, the Braves gave him another. And that time, Medlen made it stand.
Chris Johnson hit a two-out, three-run homer in the fourth inning, and Jordan Schafer used his speed to score the go-ahead run in the fifth in a 5-3 Braves win against the Mets at Turner Field.
“Two-out hitting is clutch hitting, and we’re glad we can do that,” Johnson said of that category in which the Braves have not excelled. “But we’re mainly just glad we got the win and evened the series, so we can try to get the W and win the series tomorrow.”
Medlen (4-7) was charged with six hits and three runs in seven-plus innings, only one runs earned because he committed a throwing error in the three-run fifth inning, on an ill-advised attempt to get an out at third base. He had seven strikeouts and walked none.
“I thought he did a nice job pitching,” said manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose qualifier was an indication of his displeasure over Medlen’s fielding decision. “He gave us a great opportunity to win the ballgame, and we did.”
Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 20th save, striking out David Wright and Marlon Byrd before Lucas Duda flied out to end the game.
After losing both games in a doubleheader Tuesday, the Braves bounced back to even the five-game series at two apiece. What had been a scheduled four-game series was expanded to five after the Braves and Mets were rained out May 4.
Atlanta will turn to its ace Mike Minor (8-2) in the series finale Thursday against left-hander Jonathon Niese (3-6).
The Braves have won 17 of their 22 home games and maintained a seven-game lead in the National League East, the largest division lead in the majors. They’ve won 17 of their past 23 games against the Mets.
Johnson staked Medlen to a three-run lead with his two-out homer in the fourth inning off Shaun Marcum (0-9). The margin seemed pretty comfortable the way Medlen had pitched to that point.