ATLANTA — 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 on Tuesday.
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.
Pirates 4, Reds 0
CINCINNATI — Pedro Alvarez singled home a pair of runs in the first inning, and the Pittsburgh Pirates ended Mat Latos’ streak of 21 regular-season starts without a loss, beating the Cincinnati Reds.
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.
The Reds managed only 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, Michael Young tied a career high with three doubles and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Washington Nationals.
Lee (9-2) allowed two runs and five hits to win his fifth straight decision. The three-time All-Star lefty 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 solo homers 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.
The Phillies have won two in a row over the Nationals after returning from a 3-7 road trip that left them four games under .500.
Cubs 4, Cardinals 2
ST. LOUIS — Ryan Sweeney and Cody Ransom hit back-to-back homers in a four-run first inning and that was plenty for Jeff Samardzija, who pitched the Chicago Cubs over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Chicago started fast against Adam Wainwright (10-4) and broke a five-game losing streak in St. Louis.
Carlos Beltran hit his team-high 17th homer for the Cardinals, who lost for the third time in five games but still lead the majors with a 45-26 record.