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Mets Pitchers Put Down Braves Twice

Atlanta Braves right fielder Jason Heyward watches from the dugout in the ninth inning in the second baseball game of the doubleheader against the New York Mets Tuesday, June 18, 2013, in Atlanta. The Mets won 6-1. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

Atlanta Braves right fielder Jason Heyward watches from the dugout in the ninth inning in the second baseball game of the doubleheader against the New York Mets Tuesday, June 18, 2013, in Atlanta. The Mets won 6-1. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

Atlanta (ap) — Zack Wheeler lived up the hype in his major league debut, pitching six scoreless innings to lead the New York Mets to a 6-1 victory over the first-place Atlanta Braves and a doubleheader sweep yesterday.

Wheeler gave up only four hits and struck out seven while consistently reaching the upper 90s on the radar gun. He struggled a bit with his control, walking five, but got out of every jam.

It was a long day that gave New York’s long-suffering NL fans hope for a brighter future, led by two of baseball’s most dynamic young pitchers. In Game 1 of the doubleheader, 24-year-old Matt Harvey (6-1) struck out a career-high 13 to lead the Mets past the Braves 4-3.

John Buck homered for the Mets in the first game, and Anthony Recker went deep in the second game. Bobby Parnell got four outs in the opener for his 10th save.

Recker, hitting just .158 coming into the game, broke up the scoreless duel between Wheeler and Paul Maholm (7-6) in the seventh, crushing his second homer of the season.

Atlanta rookie Alex Wood (0-1) lost his first career start in the doubleheader opener, lasting only three innings.

Pirates 4, Reds 0

Cincinnati — Pedro Alvarez singled home a pair of runs in the first inning, and Pittsburgh ended Mat Latos’ streak of 21 regular-season starts without a loss.

Latos (6-1) hadn’t lost a regular-season game since last August, setting a club-record streak of avoiding defeat. He couldn’t overcome Pittsburgh’s three-run first inning.

Charlie Morton (1-1) was better during his second start since returning from elbow surgery. He gave up three singles and threw 61 pitches in 5 1-3 innings, starting the Pirates toward their NL-leading 12th shutout.

Latos had nine of Cincinnati’s 17 strikeouts, which matched the club’s nine-inning record. The Reds also had 17 strikeouts on opening day, but that came in a 13-inning loss against the Los Angeles Angels.

Cincinnati’s lineup managed four hits while getting shut out for the second time in their last four games.

Phillies 4, Nationals 2

Philadelphia — Cliff Lee struck out nine in eight impressive innings for Philadelphia, and Michael Young tied a career high with three doubles.

Lee (9-2) allowed two runs and five hits to win his fifth straight decision. The three-time All-Star left-hander lowered his ERA to 2.53 and helped the Phillies move into a second-place tie with the defending NL East champion Nationals.

Jayson Werth and Jeff Kobernus hit homered for Washington.

Ross Detwiler (2-5) took the loss in a game that started one hour, 10 minutes late because of rain. He allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings.

Jonathan Papelbon worked the ninth for his 14th save a night after blowing his first of the season and then getting the win.