Braves look to remain hot as they host Mets

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

(AP) -- The Atlanta Braves will lean on rookie pitcher Mike Soroka to help keep the team's hot streak intact on Monday, when they open a three-game home series against the New York Mets.

The Braves are 6-1 on their current homestand after taking two of three games from the Philadelphia Phillies. Atlanta has won nine of its last 10 games, including Sunday's 15-1 win.

The Mets dropped three of four games to the St. Louis Cardinals over the weekend, including a 4-3 loss on Sunday, and are 5-5 over their last 10 games.

Soroka (7-1, 1.92) will face New York's Zack Wheeler (5-4, 4.87) in the series opener.

Soroka is coming off his worst start of the season. He allowed five runs on five hits in five innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 12. It was only the second time in 11 starts he has allowed more than two runs in a game. Two starts ago, against the Miami Marlins on June 7, Soroka pitched eight-plus innings and allowed one run.

Soroka will be making his third career start against the Mets. He is 2-0 with a 0.73 ERA in 12 1/3 innings in two previous starts. He beat the Mets 2-0 on June 13, 2018, when he worked 6 1/3 scoreless innings and allowed one hit with one walk and nine strikeouts.

Wheeler was roughed up in his last start by the New York Yankees. He allowed a career-high nine runs on 10 hits with a walk and six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. It was the first time since April 7 that he failed to complete six innings.

Wheeler has had trouble with gopher balls. He has given up 13 homers in 88 2/3 innings this season, one shy of his total from a year ago that was amassed in 182 1/3 innings.

"Any time you're giving up more homers, it's just execution," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "It's getting the ball where you want to. You leave it in the middle against the wrong people, they're going to have a chance to do some damage."

In 11 career starts against the Braves, Wheeler is 6-3 with a 3.19 ERA. In his most recent start against Atlanta on April 12, Wheeler threw six innings and allowed two runs on six hits with three walks and eight strikeouts in six innings.

Wheeler, who is a native of metro Atlanta, will face a Braves lineup that has been scoring a lot of runs. Atlanta scored 15 runs on Sunday and have scored nine or more runs in 12 games.

Among the hottest players has been third baseman Josh Donaldson. He was 3-for-4 -- his second straight three-hit game -- and belted a two-run homer on Sunday. He was 7-for-13 with three homers and six RBIs in the three-game series against the Phillies.

Atlanta pitcher Sean Newcomb said he was just sore and bruised after being hit by a 102-mph line drive off the bat of Philadelphia's J.T. Realmuto on Saturday. Newcomb passed the league's concussion protocol, showing no other effects.

"He's sore obviously, but all the tests were good," Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. "He made it through the night good and felt good coming in. ... We're fortunate we dodged a bullet there."

--Field Level Media

Updated June 17, 2019

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