Braves try to get bats going versus hapless Mets

The Atlanta Braves hope to get their struggling offense going on Friday night when they play host to the New York Mets in the first of three straight meetings.

The Braves have lost six of their past eight games and are hitting just .201 over their last seven while averaging 2.7 runs per contest.

After getting blanked 2-0 by the Washington Nationals on Wednesday, the Braves had to settle for a split of the four-game series thanks to Thursday's 3-1 setback to the Nats.

Dan Uggla hit his fifth homer of the season and Kris Medlen fell to 1-4 on the season despite giving up just three runs and striking out eight over seven innings of work.

"It was tough because we've had guys go out there and throw quality innings for us," said Braves third baseman Chris Johnson. "As an offense, we wish we could get them some runs. Hopefully we can pick our bats up a little bit."

Given the recent struggles by the offense, Mike Minor will try to avoid a repeat of his last start when he takes the hill on Friday.

Minor won three of his first four decisions this year with a 1.80 earned run average before getting tagged in a loss at Detroit on Sunday. The left-hander was hammered for six runs on six hits and a pair of walks over 6 2/3 innings. He did throw his second-longest outing of the season, but gave up a pair of homers after not yielding any in his previous three contests.

Minor, 25, saw his ERA lift to 3.13 on the season and will try to turn things around against the Mets, who he is 3-1 against lifetime in six starts despite a 6.03 ERA. He did throw 6 1/3 scoreless innings when he last faced them on Sept. 29 at home in a 2-0 win.

The Mets are looking to string together consecutive wins for the first time since April 12-13, having snapped a six-game losing streak with Wednesday's 7-6 win over the Miami Marlins.

Jordany Valdespin hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth inning off the bench, while David Wright had three hits despite playing with a stiff neck. He hit his third homer of the season and also scored three times.

"That's why he's the captain because he rises when you need him," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Wright. "He's the guy everybody looks at to lead the way and today he did it again."

John Buck added a two-run double among his three hits, while Dillon Gee got the win even though he gave up four runs over five innings of work.

Shaun Marcum would like similar luck as he faces off against the Braves in his second start of the season and third appearance overall.

The right-hander, signed this past offseason as a free agent, opened the campaign on the disabled list due to a neck injury before making his season debut on Saturday in a loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. Marcum yielded three runs over just four innings and 71 pitches.

"I felt like I had a lot more left in me," Marcum said of his short outing.

That seemed to be the case as Collins turned to the 31-year-old two days later for a relief appearance versus the Marlins, but Marcum allowed two runs over 1 2/3 innings to take the loss in the 15-inning contest.

Marcum, who has a 7.94 ERA on the season, is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in three career meetings with the Braves.

The Braves won 12 of 18 versus the Mets a season ago, winning seven of nine at home.