When Mets starter Shaun Marcum struggled in his June 19 start against the Braves, Carlos Torres proved his worth with four strikeouts in 2 1/3 dominant innings of relief just a few days after being promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas. It was a performance that earned the praise of Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez at the time.
Torres will make his second start since replacing Marcum in the rotation as the Mets look to pull even in the four-game series on Tuesday night at Citi Field against Atlanta starter Kris Medlen.
After making 10 appearances out of the 'pen, primarily in long relief situations, Torres allowed one earned run over five innings and struck out five in a 4-2 loss to the Pirates the Saturday before the All-Star break. It was Torres' first Major League start since 2010.
"He pitched an outstanding game, and he's going to be a good addition," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Torres after the loss. "I know we need to get him lengthened out a little bit more, but he threw the ball great."
Medlen has seen his own rotation spot called into question as the Braves have been weighing their options for getting Brandon Beachy and rookie Alex Wood into the rotation by the end of the month. The Braves sent Wood down to Triple-A Gwinnett just before the All-Star break to get stretched out for a future starting role, and on Wednesday, Beachy will make his final rehab start before making his return from Tommy John surgery.
In the meantime, Medlen has seen the mechanics issues that plagued him early in the season reemerge, making the 27-year-old right-hander the most likely candidate to return to a bullpen role. He has allowed a combined 10 runs on 17 hits in his last two starts.
"I'm not giving up many hits with my changeup," Medlen said after lasting just four innings in a 4-2 loss to the Reds on July 12, his shortest start of the season. "It's been all my fastball with location and the same exact things I've been dealing with."
Braves: Maholm to the DL, Wood will start finale
• The Braves decided on Monday to send Paul Maholm to the 15-day disabled list with a left wrist contusion after Maholm left his start early last weekend, but an MRI confirmed the left-hander had not suffered a fracture that would keep him from returning to the rotation on Aug. 5.
While Maholm recovers, Wood will get the first opportunity to take over in the rotation when he is recalled from Triple-A to make the start in Thursday's series finale in New York. Wood made his first big league start against the Mets on June 18, lasting just three innings in a 4-3 loss.
"It's his second start in the big leagues," manager Fredi Gonzalez said on Monday. "I think this will be a little more comfortable start."
• Jason Heyward returned to the lineup with a flourish on Monday night after missing six games with a strained right hamstring, making a game-saving diving catch in center field with two outs and two runners on base in the ninth. Heyward went 0-for-3 at the plate with a walk.
• Julio Teheran picked off Eric Young Jr. at first base on Monday night to extend his impressive lead over the rest of the Major Leagues. Teheran has eight pickoffs this season; no other pitcher had more than four entering Monday's action.
Mets: Lagares named NL Player of the Week
• For his 7-for-10, five-RBI performance at the plate in the first series after the All-Star break, center fielder Juan Lagares was named the National League Player of the Week before Monday's game. That recognition does not change Collins' plan to give Kirk Nieuwenhuis the majority of starts in center with a right-handed pitcher on the mound.
"It's a nice situation to be in when you've got young players who you're trying to get in the lineup," Collins said on Monday. "Only nine guys can play. When you've got a situation as we have in center field where you want to get both those guys some playing time, right now the best way to do it is see who might match up best against the pitcher."
Lagares did not start on Monday, but he replaced Nieuwenhuis in the seventh inning, going 0-for-2 with a strikeout and a groundout.
• General manager Sandy Alderson said catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud would likely play in a Gulf Coast League on Wednesday, which would be his first game action since fracturing a bone in his left foot on April 17. d'Arnaud was hitting .250 with one home run and eight RBIs in 36 at-bats for Triple-A Las Vegas when he sustained the injury.
• The Mets are 15-11 since taking three of five from the Braves in a mid-June series at Turner Field.
• On Monday, the Mets lost their fifth game of the year when leading after eight innings, and their record in one-run games dropped to 17-18.
Eric Single is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.