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Morning Briefing: No letdown for Mets in Atlanta

ATLANTA --

FIRST PITCH: Despite a 140-minute rain delay at the outset during which Michael Cuddyer entertained his teammates with magic tricks, then a late-night game in a mostly empty stadium, the New York Mets avoided a letdown within a series-opening win in Atlanta on Thursday.

“I’m very proud of them,” manager Terry Collins said after the Mets opened a season-high 7½-game lead over the second-place Washington Nationals.

The Mets’ magic number is down to 16.

Collins said he was surprised the game took place given the ankle-deep standing water in the outfield before the grounds crew began their work, plus a stream flowing from the dugout into the hallway heading to the visitors’ clubhouse.

“I’ll tell you what, I’ve never come here where we don’t play a game. I don’t care what time it starts,” Collins said. “Everybody else is getting postponed. We play. Eleven o’clock, it doesn’t matter.”

Left-hander Steven Matz (2-0, 1.89 ERA) opposes right-hander Matt Wisler (5-6, 5.81) on Friday at 7:35 p.m. ET.

Matz departed Sunday’s start in Miami after 81 pitches with a blister on his left middle finger. He threw a bullpen session on Wednesday at Nationals Park and pronounced himself ready.

Wisler takes the spot of Manny Banuelos, who was scratched with elbow discomfort.

The Mets will wear first-responder caps pregame in remembrance of those departments’ contributions on 9/11 and during the aftermath.

FRIDAY’S NEWS REPORTS:

  • Bartolo Colon ran his scoreless streak to 31 innings before having it snapped and the Mets avoided a letdown with a 7-2 win against the Braves on a damp night at Turner Field. Colon set the major league record for consecutive scoreless innings by a pitcher age 42 or older, passing Cy Young and Warren Spahn (27). Colon came within five outs of matching R.A. Dickey’s franchise record of 32 2/3, which was set in 2012, during the knuckleballer’s Cy Young season. Jerry Koosman had a 31 2/3-inning streak in 1973. Colon’s scoreless streak is tied with Dwight Gooden in 1985 and Tom Seaver in 1971 for the third-longest in franchise history. “I’m really proud and surprised myself that at this stage of my career I can still do that type of stuff and perform,” Colon said through an interpreter. “I’m really happy and proud more than anything at helping the team win.” Colon is 13-1 against the NL East and 1-10 against the rest of baseball this season. He also had an RBI single on Thursday. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Record and at MLB.com.

  • Pitching coach Dan Warthen was admitted to a local Atlanta hospital before Thursday’s game after experiencing a rapid heartbeat. He remained hospitalized overnight. Warthen is in good spirits, but is not expected in uniform Friday. Bullpen coach Ricky Bones is handling Warthen’s pitching-coach duties.

  • Derek Evers at Vice spent time with Matt Harvey while the pitcher promoted Axe hair products at a West Village salon.

  • Columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post assesses Yoenis Cespedes’ NL MVP chances. Spoiler alert: They’re slim. Jared Diamond in the Journal, Benjamin Hoffman in the Times and Marc Carig in Newsday also review Cespedes’ candidacy.

  • Columnist David Lennon in Newsday reviews the planned rotation juggling down the stretch, which should include extra rest for Jacob deGrom and Jonathon Niese.

  • Critic Phil Mushnick in the Post addresses Harvey’s innings cap.

  • Ruben Amaro has been fired as general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies.

  • Binghamton was rained out Thursday in its Eastern League playoff series. Both the B-Mets and Savannah play Game 2 of their opening-round series on Friday, trying to bounce back from losses in their openers.

  • From the bloggers … Mets Report looks at the team’s black-cat moment of 2015. … Legends on Deck thinks the Mets are better with Cespedes. … Blogging Mets puts together a possible playoff roster for the Mets.

BIRTHDAYS: Frank Francisco turns 36.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

YOU’RE UP: Which four pitchers would you include in a postseason rotation?