With the win, the Mets completed a doubleheader sweep, marking the first time they’d pulled that feat against the Braves since winning both ends of a twinbill against Atlanta on Sept. 6, 2006, at Shea Stadium.
Wheeler gave up only four hits and struck out seven while consistently reaching the upper 90s on the radar gun.
He struggled a bit with his control, walking five, but got out of every jam.
It was a long day that gave New York’s long-suffering NL fans hope for a brighter future, led by two of baseball’s most dynamic young pitchers.
In Game 1 of the doubleheader, 24-year-old Matt Harvey (6-1) struck out a career-high 13 to lead the Mets past the Braves 4-3.
Wheeler’s performance was especially sweet since it came not far from where he grew up and came to prominence as a high school star at East Paulding High in Atlanta’s northwest suburbs before going in the first round of the 2009 amateur draft.
He was cheered on by dozens of family and friends, who roared loudly from their seats behind the Mets dugout.
Also watching from a second-row seat behind home plate was former Braves star Chipper Jones, who has the same agent as Wheeler and tweeted him a good luck message before his first start.
Wheeler was shaky in the first, walking two while throwing 23 pitches — only eight for strikes.
Catcher Anthony Recker strolled to the mound to offer encouragement, and pitching coach Dan Warthen trotted out when Wheeler overthrew a pitch to B.J. Upton, the ball sailing far out of the strike zone.
But Upton grounded out to end the threat, and the 23-year-old right-hander — the first child of the 1990s to play for the Mets — steadied himself by striking out the side the next inning.
Recker, hitting just .158 coming into the game, broke up the scoreless duel between Wheeler and Paul Maholm (7-6) in the seventh, crushing his second homer of the season over the center-field wall to put the Mets ahead 2-0.
The Braves responded with a run of their own in the bottom half on Justin Upton’s sacrifice fly against Brandon Lyon.
But New York broke it open with a four-run rally in the eighth against Anthony Varvaro, taking advantage of some shaky defense.
The Braves made two errors on one play when Varvaro’s pickoff throw to second base was low, skidding into center field, and B.J. Upton let it slide under his glove while racing into back up the play.
Marlon Byrd came all the way around to score by the time Upton retrieved the ball.
Juan Lagares added an RBI single and Omar Quintanilla finished off the Braves with a two-run hit.
It was a tough day for Upton. In the fifth, he collided with younger brother Justin after catching a fly ball to left-center.
Both were knocked to the ground but weren’t hurt. B.J. gave his sibling a playful shove on their way back to the dugout.
The Braves and Mets continue the five-game series tonight.