NEW YORK (AP) — To even get back on a major league mound, Mike Foltynewicz made quite a comeback.
Diagnosed with potentially life-threatening blood clots in his right shoulder, he had surgery last September to remove part of a rib. Then, after starting this season in the minors, he got the call from the Atlanta Braves on Monday night.
The potent New York Mets were poised to face him.
David Wright, Yoenis Cespedes and Lucas Duda hit home runs in the first inning as the Mets teed off, beating Atlanta 4-1 for their ninth win in 10 games.
“I don’t want to look at that as an excuse, this is my first time back off a blood clot or anything,” Foltynewicz said.
“I was ready. I was ready for this game. It was probably the best I’ve felt all year coming in to the game,” he said.
The 24-year-old right-hander with a hard fastball was 1-2 with a 2.05 ERA in four starts for Triple-A Gwinnett when he was called up earlier in the day.
The Braves reshuffled their roster, making seven moves in all.
Foltynewicz was 4-6 in three stints with Atlanta last year.
“I might have maybe got a little too amped up in the first inning, maybe rushed through the first nine batters,” he said. “Not taking my breaths, not thinking about what to throw, and it was the first time out there in a long time, in front of a big stadium, big mound and all that.”
The Braves have hit just five homers all season, by far the fewest in the majors for the team with the worst record in the big leagues.
The Mets hit their home runs in a span of 16 pitches — Atlanta has totaled just two in its last 20 games.
“I don’t know if it was something that, it was first start in a while in the big leagues, but just looking at the balls that were hit, even some of the outs were even hit hard in the first inning, were middle of the plate, center-cut fastballs,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
“You have to throw 110 (mph) for these guys to miss that,” he said.
A few weeks shy of his 43rd birthday, Bartolo Colon (2-1) pitched eight scoreless innings. He coasted to his 220th career victory, breaking a tie with Pedro Martinez for the second-most among Dominican-born pitchers and trailing only the 243 by Hall of Famer Juan Marichal.
Colon gave up seven hits, six in the first three innings, walked none and struck out seven. He threw 99 pitches — 77 strikes — in the longest outing by a Mets starter this year. He was 4-0 against Atlanta last season.
“You want to see young pitchers, young kids who are watching games on TV, it’s not about velocity, it’s about making balls move, it’s about command,” Gonzalez said. “He pounds the strike zone. I think at one point I looked up and he had I think 80 pitches and almost like 70 strikes. It was something crazy.
“We always use him as an example when we face him,” he said.
Foltynewicz started out fine, striking out leadoff man Curtis Granderson. After that, it got rough in a hurry.
Wright connected with one out and Michael Conforto singled. Cespedes, who had a golf club stretched across his locker before the game, then launched a long drive to left-center for his eighth home run. Duda followed with a liner off the facing of the second deck in right.
When Asdrubal Cabrera doubled later in the inning, Foltynewicz walked with his head down to back up the play.
Foltynewicz was taken out when Cespedes came up with two on and two outs in the fourth.
Braves utilityman Kelly Johnson and reliever Eric O’Flaherty got their 2015 NL championship rings from Mets general manager Sandy Alderson and chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon before the game. Johnson was traded from Atlanta to the Mets last July and wound up playing in the World Series. O’Flaherty didn’t pitch in the postseason.
Braves: 2B Reid Brignac was hit in the face when Wright’s grounder deflected off second base and skipped up. Brignac was examined and stayed in. He was promoted from Triple-A before the game.
Mets RHP Matt Harvey (2-3, 4.76) faces RHP Matt Wisler (0-2, 4.26). Harvey lost his first three starts this season before winning at Turner Field on April 22. Wisler beat the Mets in his big league debut last June with eight sharp innings.