ATLANTA (AP) — Seven innings of Bartolo Colon's dominance only made Jose Valverde's ninth-inning escape look even scarier.
Colon combined with two relievers on an eight-hitter, Ruben Tejada drove in two runs with two hits and the New York Mets beat the Atlanta Braves 4-0 on Tuesday night.
Valverde loaded the basses in the ninth before Jason Heyward flied to the warning track in center field to end it.
Colon, 40, gave up six hits and no walks, struck out five and didn't allow more than one baserunner in any inning until the seventh as he outpitched Atlanta's Aaron Harang (1-1).
Travis d'Arnaud said catching Colon (1-1) is "a lot of fun."
"He commands all his pitches," d'Arnaud said. "What else could you ask for from a pitcher?"
Tejada scored on a wild pitch by Harang in the third and had run-scoring singles in the seventh and eighth innings.
The Braves honored the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron's 715th homer in a pregame ceremony attended by baseball commissioner Bud Selig. Al Downing, the former Dodgers' left-hander who gave up the homer, attended the ceremony and threw out the first pitch.
There was little left to get excited about for the home crowd until the ninth.
Justin Upton and Dan Uggla had back-to-back singles off Valverde. Evan Gattis, who returned after missing two games — and losing seven pounds — because of a stomach virus, hit a fielder's choice grounder that forced Upton at third.
Valverde then fielded Andrelton Simmons' grounder, turned and threw wide of second base for an error, leaving the bases loaded. Pinch-hitter Gerald Laird popped out to second base and Lagares caught Heyward's shot to end the game.
"I knew I just missed it," Heyward said. "I'd like to be in that spot every time. I'd like to come through."
Heyward, who was 0-for-5, is hitting .107.
Mets manager Terry Collins said the Braves had aggressive swings in the ninth because Valverde was throwing strikes.
"The ninth inning is a tough inning," Collins said.
"You've got a club like the Braves who swing the bats and this guy attacks the strike zone. They're gonna get some hits. When he starts missing is when he gets in trouble. When he throws strikes he gets outs because you've got to swing."