ATLANTA— It wasn’t an easy decision to order a pinch-hitter for Julio Teheran after the right-hander allowed only one hit in seven scoreless innings.
Pedro Ciriaco’s clutch hit made that tough call by Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez look good.
Teheran outlasted Matt Harvey in an impressive matchup of right-handers, Ciriaco’s pinch-hit single in the seventh scored the only run and Atlanta shut out the New York Mets 1-0 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.
Harvey (7-5) matched Teheran through six scoreless innings before giving up Ryan Lavarnway’s two-out double and Ciriaco’s run-scoring single up the middle.
Teheran had thrown only 78 pitches and Atlanta’s bullpen has struggled this season, so it wasn’t an easy call for Gonzalez to bring Ciriaco off the bench.
“I knew for sure if it was a runner on first base I would have let Julio hit,” Gonzalez said. “But once we get into scoring position, we’ve got to take a shot at it. We did and (Ciriaco) made me look good.”
The Mets have lost five straight and scored no more than one run in four of the losses. It has made for a series of disappointments for New York’s starting pitchers.
“We’re getting used to it, really,” said Mets manager Terry Collins. “Some pretty good pitching and we can’t score. It’s a little frustrating for everybody. But Matt pitched a great game.”
Teheran (5-3) improved to 4-0 at Turner Field. He allowed two walks — both to Curtis Granderson — with five strikeouts.
He has a 2.35 ERA in home games and a 7.17 mark on the road.
“It’s different when we play at home and I’ve got the motivation of the fans,” Teheran said.
Right-hander Jim Johnson pitched out of a ninth-inning jam for his fourth save. Closer Jason Grilli was unavailable after earning saves in the first two games of the series.
Granderson led off the ninth with a single to right field and moved to second on a bunt single by Juan Lagares. The runners held on Lucas Duda’s fly ball to left field. Michael Cuddyer hit into a double play to end the game.
Eric Campbell snapped a 0-for-18 drought with a two-out double off Nick Masset in the eighth. Left-hander Dana Eveland struck out pinch-hitter John Mayberry Jr.
The game’s defensive highlight came in the second when center fielder Cameron Maybin raced toward second base before making a diving catch of Kevin Plawecki’s shallow fly ball.
ALL EVEN AGAIN
The Braves (35-35) returned to .500 for the first time since June 2 with their first sweep of the Mets since June 30 through July 2, 2014.
Lavarnway, a backup catcher making only his second start, just missed a homer on his key double. The drive bounced off the yellow stripe at the top of the left-field wall. He said he heard about it when he returned to the dugout.
“Everyone is like ‘The weight room is right over there,’” Lavarnway said.
Mets: C Travis d’Arnaud, day to day with a hyperextended left elbow that forced him out of Saturday night’s game, was sore but available if needed off the bench. … IF Ruben Tejeda, who bruised his left ankle sliding into third base, also was available off the bench. … RHP Jeurys Familia (left groin tightness) was held out for the second straight day.
Braves: 1B Freddie Freeman (sprained left wrist) was unable to swing the bat before the game and was to be re-examined while missing his fourth straight start. Even with an off day on Monday, the lack of progress could push Freeman closer to the DL.
Mets: Following an off day on Monday, the team’s road trip moves to Milwaukee, where LHP Jonathon Niese is scheduled to start on Tuesday night. Niese is 4-3 in seven career starts against the Brewers.
Braves: A tough road trip against the Nationals and Pirates begins on Tuesday night when LHP Alex Wood will face Washington. Wood is 0-1 with a 6.17 ERA in two career starts against the Nationals.