Braves call up Blair for debut following 8-2 loss to Mets

ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Braves are turning to one of their top prospects to try to salvage another lost series.

The Braves' power drought continued in their 8-2 loss to the New York Mets on Saturday night. Following the game, the team announced right-hander Aaron Blair had been recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to make his major league debut in Sunday's final game of the series.

The Braves acquired Blair, center fielder Ender Inciarte and shortstop Dansby Swanson, the top overall pick of the 2015 draft, in an offseason trade that sent right-hander Shelby Miller and prospect Gabe Speier to the Diamondbacks. Blair was 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA in three starts at Gwinnett.

"Everybody that's seen him likes him," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

The Braves' emphasis on the future will become clearer as the losses mount this season. After opening the season with nine straight losses, they have another four-game losing streak.

The Braves were held without a homer for the 12th straight game. Atlanta is last in the majors with only three homers through 17 games — 22 fewer than the Mets. It is the team's longest drought since going 13 straight games without a homer in May, 1983.

Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman, who began the day hitting .167, had two hits, including a run-scoring double off Steven Matz in the third.

"It's slowly but surely coming," Freeman said of his swing. "I wish it came a little bit faster. I seem to be able to only hit lefties right now."

Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera hit back-to-back home runs off Ryan Weber in the ninth.

The Mets had 15 hits and have 23 homers in their last eight games.

"I think it's contagious more than anything else," Walker said. "... Nobody on this team on the offensive side of things feels like they need to carry the load. One through eight we feel like we've got a good chance every time we go out there."

David Wright hit a two-run double and Matz (2-1) allowed two runs on nine hits with eight strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings for his second straight win.

Jhoulys Chacin (0-1) allowed four runs, three earned, in 5 2/3 innings.


Greg Gibson replaced injured Jeff Kellogg as acting crew chief for games Saturday and Sunday. Kellogg was the home plate umpire when he was hit by a foul tip in the first inning on Friday night. He left the game after the inning. MLB spokesman Mike Teevan said Kellogg is considered day to day. Teevan didn't disclose the nature of Kellogg's injury.


The Braves optioned right-hander Casey Kelly to Triple-A Gwinnett and recalled left-hander Matt Marksberry from Gwinnett. Marksberry replaced Chacin in the sixth, allowed one run while recording two outs, and was optioned back to Gwinnett following the game.


Braves: OF Ender Inciarte, on the DL since April 9 with a strained left hamstring, may return in about two weeks. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Inciarte is hitting in extended spring training games but not running full speed. Gonzalez said the plan is to "ramp him up" in a few days.


Mets: RHP Jacob DeGrom will start Sunday against the Braves after missing one turn because of a sore right lat muscle and another start due to his son's health concern. DeGrom joined the team Saturday and said his son had a form of apnea that caused him to stop breathing after falling asleep. He said his son no longer has the problem.

Braves: Blair had 22 strikeouts in three starts for Gwinnett. He was Arizona's No. 2-rated prospect at the time of the trade.