NEW YORK (AP) — John Gant, the rookie righty with the weird windup, earned his first big league win by beating the team that traded him away last summer, pitching the Atlanta Braves past the New York Mets 5-1 on Friday night.
Gant (1-1) threw two-hit ball for 6 2/3 innings, helping the Braves post their first three-game winning streak since mid-April. They started the day tied with Minnesota for the worst record in baseball.
Gant gave up one run, struck out five and walked two in his second start in the majors. The Mets might have been thrown off by his mechanics — he lifts his left leg as if he's going to begin his motion, but puts it down, comes to a full stop and then goes into a normal delivery.
Atlanta star Freddie Freeman kept up his extra-base hit barrage with an RBI double and also singled twice. Earlier this week, he went 10 for 18 with three home runs, a triple and two doubles in a four-game series vs. Cincinnati.
Hunter Cervenka protected a 4-1 lead in the seventh, relieving with the bases loaded and two outs and fanning pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores.
Matt Harvey (4-9) took another step backward after three strong starts, drawing a smattering of boos from the home crowd. Atlanta often swung at his first pitch and he gave up four runs, seven hits and two walks in six innings.
Gant never got above Double-A for the Mets before they traded him to the Braveslast July with another minor leaguer for Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe.
Gant debuted in the majors this year and made seven relief appearances — in between four trips to the minors — for Atlanta before getting a chance to start.
Along with his path and his pitching motion, Gant is quirky in other ways, too.
The 23-year-old takes little hops to clean off the rubber, rocks from side to side waiting for batters to get ready and tosses the ball up to himself during breaks. Before each inning, he puts his glove on the back off the mound, picks up the rosin bag, dusts his right arm and rubs the residue on his upper body.
Curtis Granderson hit a leadoff double in the first for the Mets, but Gant retired 17 of the next 18 batters. Granderson scored on a groundout by Yoenis Cespedes.
Ender Inciarte and Freeman hit consecutive RBI doubles with two outs in the third for a 2-1 lead. A.J. Pierzynski singled home a run in the fourth, making him 6 for 8 lifetime against Harvey.
Braves: 3B Adonis Garcia didn't play, a day after he left a game with a sore left ankle. He could be back in the lineup Saturday.
Mets: 3B Flores didn't start, a day after he was hit in the left hand with a pitch. ... C Travis d'Arnaud (strained rotator cuff) was set to DH for Triple-A Las Vegas on Friday night and catch the following two days.
Braves: RHP Aaron Blair (0-4, 7.59) tries again for his first victory in the majors. He lost to the Mets in his big league debut on April 24 and is winless in nine starts.
Mets: LHP Steven Matz (7-3, 2.71) has lost consecutive starts for the first time in his career and is winless in his last three outings. He's beaten the Braves twice this season and is 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA in three career starts against them.