Braves 5, Mets 4: Mets Lose Second Straight to Braves as Jay Bruce’s Struggles Continue

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Mets Manager Terry Collins pulling reliever Josh Smoker, who allowed the go-ahead run in the sixth inning, on a bases-loaded walk.

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Kathy Willens/Associated Press

In perhaps the biggest moment of Tuesday’s 5-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves, Jay Bruce was not on the field or at the plate for the Mets. Yet most of the questions posed to Manager Terry Collins after the game centered on Bruce, the slumping right fielder who was brought to New York on the Aug. 1 trading deadline to spark a playoff push.

Bruce understood why Collins, in the midst of a Mets rally that fell just short, had turned instead to Eric Campbell, a little-used bench player. Bruce has hit .176 in 40 games since he became a Met. Collins did not start Bruce on Sunday or Monday, hoping the mental break would jump-start his bat. Instead, Bruce went 0 for 3 on Tuesday, and when the Mets were rallying in the eighth inning, Collins made a tough choice.

“It’s one of the worst things you can do as a manager, pinch-hit for a star, especially one of the elite power hitters in the game,” Collins said….

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