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PHI@ATL: Beachy fans four, holds Phils to two runs

The Braves have soared to a 15 1/2-game lead in the National League East, in part by beating up on teams within their division.

With Sunday's win over the Nationals, their 19th in their last 22 games, the Braves improved to 28-12 against Washington, Miami and Philadelphia. The Mets have been the exception, playing the Braves even through their first 14 meetings.

Atlanta will get the chance to change that on Tuesday night, when it opens a two-game set at Citi Field.

After Saturday's 15-inning loss to the Nats, the Braves had to alter their starting rotation. With Kris Medlen throwing 47 pitches over three innings of relief in that game, Brandon Beachy has been moved up to pitch on Tuesday.

Beachy is 2-0 with a 4.50 ERA in four starts since his return from Tommy John surgery. The right-hander struggled his first time out but has authored three straight quality starts since.

"Each time I've felt like I've moved a little bit in the right direction," he said. "Coming off the first one, just to put some zeros on the board over the next few, now I feel like I'm starting to work on sequences, throwing pitches and breaking balls for strikes and things like that. Hopefully, I keep moving in that direction."

The Mets will counter with rookie Zack Wheeler, who is 5-2 with a 3.43 ERA in 11 starts. The Georgia native already has faced the Braves twice, including in his Major League debut on July 18. He has given up three earned runs on eight hits over 12 innings in those outings, with seven walks and 12 strikeouts.

The 23-year-old blew away his previous career high in strikeouts on Thursday, racking up 12 K's against the Padres while walking one and giving up one run in six innings.

"I think he's made a vast improvement since he's been up here," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He's a very astute kid. You watch him, he pays attention. He's not walking around, enjoying his time. He's trying to get better."

Braves: Heyward going off at leadoff
• Outfielder Jason Heyward slammed two home runs on Saturday, including a game-tying shot in the ninth inning, continuing the tear he has been on since moving to the leadoff spot on July 27. Before going 0-for-1 off the bench on Sunday, Heyward was hitting .375 with a 1.076 OPS in 20 games over that span.

With both Heyward and Justin Upton resting on Sunday, Joey Terdoslavich started in right field, with B.J. Upton in center and Evan Gattis in left.

• Second baseman Philip Gosselin got his first Major League start on Sunday and collected his first two career hits. Gosselin was called up on Friday after Tyler Pastornicky tore his ACL, and he went 0-for-2 as a late-inning replacement in Saturday's game.

Mets: d'Arnaud to stay in Major Leagues
Following their 6-1 win over Minnesota on Monday, the Mets announced catcher Travis d'Arnaud will remain in the Major Leagues. D'Arnaud was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas on Saturday after John Buck left the team go on paternity leave.

Now that Buck's returning on Tuesday, the Mets had to send one of their catchers out. Instead of demoting d'Arnaud to the Minors, New York chose to option backup catcher Anthony Recker to Las Vegas.

Collins said the best way for d'Arnaud to improve is to keep him in the big leagues and allow him to learn from a veteran catcher like Buck. Recker, who was hitting .193 with five home runs and 16 RBIs, will likely be called back up once rosters expand on Sept. 1.

Collins said both Buck and d'Arnaud are going to see playing time.

"They're going to both play," Collins said. "Obviously Travis is going to be out there, but John Buck deserves playing time and he's going to get playing time."

In his three games with the Mets, d'Arnaud is 0-for-7 with five walks.

• With a solo home run in Monday's win over Minnesota, Marlon Byrd tied his career high of 20 homers in a season.

Worth noting
• The Braves' 15 1/2-game lead matches their largest of the season. Before this year, they had not held a lead that large since 2002, when they won the division by 19 games.

• The Braves are 4-3 at Citi Field this season.

• Beachy has never pitched at Citi Field and has faced the Mets only once, in 2011.

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