Braves shut down by Colon in 4-0 loss to Mets

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ATLANTA (AP) - Fredi Gonzalez is still waiting for the Atlanta Braves‘ bats to catch up with the team’s pitching.

The Braves left the bases loaded in the ninth inning as they were shut out for the second time in seven games in Tuesday night’s 4-0 loss to Bartolo Colon and the New York Mets.

The Braves (4-3), hitting only .192, have managed more than two runs in only two games and couldn’t break through in their home opener.

Gonzalez said it’s a team-wide problem.

“You’ve seen some spurts, you’ve seen some guys coming out, getting good at-bats. Now we’ve got to put the whole line-up together,” Gonzalez said.

Colon combined with two relievers on an eight-hitter and Ruben Tejada drove in two runs with two hits for the Mets.

The Braves honored the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron’s 715th homer in a pregame ceremony attended by baseball commissioner Bud Selig. Al Downing, the former Dodgers’ left-hander who gave up the homer, attended the ceremony and threw out the first pitch.

There was little left to get excited about for the home sellout crowd of 47,144 until the ninth.

Justin Upton and Dan Uggla had back-to-back singles off Mets fill-in closer Jose Valverde. Evan Gattis, who returned after missing two games - and losing seven pounds - because of a stomach virus, hit a fielder’s choice grounder that forced Upton at third.

Valverde then fielded Andrelton Simmons’ grounder, turned and threw wide of second base for an error, leaving the bases loaded. Pinch-hitter Gerald Laird popped out to second base and Juan Lagares caught Jason Heyward’s shot to end the game.

“I knew I just missed it,” Heyward said. “I’d like to be in that spot every time. I’d like to come through.”

Heyward, who was 0-for-5, is hitting .107.

“It’s just a matter of time for him to start to get going,” Gonzalez said.

Valverde moved into the closer’s role as the replacement for Bobby Parnell, who had season-ending Tommy John surgery on Tuesday.

Colon (1-1) gave up six hits and no walks, struck out five and didn’t allow more than one baserunner in any inning until the seventh as he outpitched Atlanta’s Aaron Harang (1-1).

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