The solemnity that hung over the home clubhouse last night had little to do with a loss. Instead, the silence was owed to players thinking about the devastating injury that befell Tim Hudson.
The Mets’ 8-2 loss to the NL East-leading Braves at Citi Field Wednesday night became inconsequential after Hudson left the game with a fractured right ankle in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Hudson suffered the injury while covering first. Eric Young Jr. stepped on the back of the Braves starter’s foot while trying to reach on an infield hit. Replays showed that Hudson’s foot bent at almost a 90-degree angle. After laying prone for several minutes, Hudson was carted off the field.
“I saw his foot going for the base right there in the middle and as I came down I knew I didn’t get any of the base; I got all of his foot. I pretty much knew it was broke right when I did it,” Young said, while noting he talked to the Atlanta starter on the field immediately after the play and after the game as he received X-rays.
“He told me it wasn’t my fault, just one of those freak plays. Foot was in the middle of the bag and just hustling like I normally do and I couldn’t avoid him.”
Hudson, 38, will have surgery in Atlanta after the swelling in his ankle subsides, the Braves announced.
“I just hope he has a speedy recovery getting back and doing what he does,” Young said. I hope he can get back out there and do what he loves.”
Hudson (8-7) had dominated the Mets prior to the gruesome injury, yielding just four hits. He struck out nine in 7 2/3 innings and walked three. He was charged with both of the Mets runs, as he was responsible for Anthony Recker and Omar Quintanilla reaching in the bottom of the eighth even though both scored on Daniel Murphy’s double off of Luis Avilan.
“He pitched a great game tonight,” Young said.
Hudson’s outing was diametrically different than the one authored by Jeremy Hefner, who fell to 4-8 on the season after being pounded for six runs — five earned — on six hits in 4 1/3 innings by the muscular Braves. Hefner allowed home runs to Evan Gattis (solo shot in the second), Dan Uggla (three-run homer in the fifth) and Andrelton Simmons (two-run home run in the fifth), as his ERA rose from 3.93 to 4.17.
The right-hander has given up 16 hits, 14 runs — 13 earned — and four home runs in his last 6 1/3 innings of work.
“I’m not holding up my end of the deal,” Hefner said. “[I] just didn’t execute. All that stuff can be fixed.”
The Mets fell to 44-53 and are 11 games back of the Braves in the division. They are 10 1/2 back of NL wild-card co-leaders Pittsburgh and Cincinnati with a week to go before the non-waiver trade deadline. While the organization is not actively selling off pieces as in years past, Wednesday night’s performance will make it hard for organizational decision makers to view this team as a playoff contender.
“To [make] a playoff push, we have to win a lot of games in a hurry,” Hefner said. “My performance was unacceptable.”
The Mets received a scare in the fourth when David Wright appeared to injure himself when his bat broke and hit him in the head on his backswing. Wright tapped Hudson’s sinker to Andrelton Simmons to start a 6-4-3 double play, but the Mets third baseman only took a few steps out of the box before bending over in pain. He was attended to by manager Terry Collins and trainer Ray Ramirez, before walking off the field under his own power. Wright took the field for the next inning, and stayed in for the remainder of the game.
“I was watching the ball,” Collins said. “When I looked up and I [saw] David bent over at home plate I thought he blew a hamstring or something coming out of the batter’s box. I was a little concerned, obviously. David said he was OK. We’ll certainly check on him after the game and again tomorrow.”
Follow Mets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.