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Young struggles early in Mets' 7-5 loss to Braves

By Charles Odum

Associated Press

Published: Friday, July 13 2012 11:00 p.m. MDT

Atlanta Braves right fielder Jason Heyward (22) is tagged out by New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada (11) as he tries to steal second base in the eighth inning of a baseball game, Friday, July, 13, 2012, in Atlanta.

John Bazemore, Associated Press

ATLANTA — Chris Young, who had not walked a batter in two straight starts, appeared to be finding his form in his return to the Mets' rotation.

The 6-foot-10 right-hander took a step back against the Atlanta Braves, when his poor start set the pace for an ugly night for New York's staff.

Young gave up five runs in only three innings and the Mets couldn't overcome an early five-run deficit in Friday night's 7-5 loss to the Braves.

Young (2-3) gave up five runs, six hits and three walks in three innings. His three walks came in the first inning, setting an ugly pace for Mets pitchers.

"Nothing was as sharp as it needed to be," Young said.

"I had trouble finding my rhythm early. You're going to have nights like that over the course of the season. I needed to do a better job limiting the damage. Had I done so, I think we could have won the game. I just dug us in too big a hole."

Young allowed no more than three runs in any of his first six starts this season. Making his return from shoulder surgery last May, he made his first start on June 5. Friday night was his shortest outing of the season.

"There are no excuses," Young said. "I need to be better and that's it."

Mets pitchers issued a season-high 11 walks and allowed 10 hits.

"A little frustrating," manager Terry Collins said. "Eleven bases on balls, 21 baserunners, you're not going to win many games.

"We've said it many, many times: When we pitch, we have a chance to win. And when we don't pitch it's tough for us, because we don't have a lot of power."

David Ross hit a three-run homer off Young in the third inning and Chipper Jones also connected.

Ross filled in for catcher Brian McCann, who was on paternity leave as his wife, Ashley, delivered a son on Friday. Ross said McCann sent a photo of the baby named, Colt.

"He wished me luck," Ross said. "I told him 'Don't worry about me.' His life is about to change. ... I'm glad to play well for him."

Ross had three walks, including a bases-loaded pass from Young in the first inning.

The Braves survived a crisis at shortstop. They chose to wait to replace rookie Andrelton Simmons, who broke his right little finger on Sunday and will be out at least a month. Atlanta then lost shortstop Jack Wilson with another pinkie injury.

"Well, the worse-case scenario happened," said manager Fredi Gonzalez, who said the team held off on making a move while exploring options through trades and in the minors.

Wilson dislocated the middle joint of his right little finger sliding while chasing a grounder in the fourth inning. Wilson's exit forced Martin Prado, the starter in left field, to play shortstop for the first time in four years.

The Braves said X-rays on Wilson were negative and he is day to day.

Gonzalez said he doesn't expect Wilson to be placed on the disabled list.

Jones hit his 49th career homer against the Mets in the sixth off Josh Edgin, who was making his major league debut.

Cristhian Martinez (4-1) pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth. He gave up one walk with two strikeouts in one inning.

Craig Kimbrel earned his NL-leading 26th save with three strikeouts in the ninth.

The third-inning homer by Ross gave the Braves a 5-0 lead, but the Mets scored four runs in the fourth to knock Tim Hudson out of the game.

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