Friday, August 5, 2022

Braves Blast Off To Big Lead, Hold Off Mets Late


Atlanta's Eddie Rosario waiting on the pitch he would deposit into the seats for a three-run homer in the first inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets nearly pulled off a massive comeback, but they fell, 9-6, to the Atlanta Braves on Friday night in the second game of this five-game set at Citi Field.

The Braves improved to 64-43, and are now back to 3 1/2 behind the Mets, who dropped to 67-39.

The Braves came out swinging against Mets starter Taijuan Walker, as Dansby Swanson laced a one-out double, and then Matt Olson hit a double of his own into the left field corner to bring him in and make it 1-0 Atlanta.

While Olson was up, Walker fell off the mound delivering a pitch, and it might have tipped that something was off, and after he doubled, it spiraled from there. 

Austin Riley was hit by a pitch, and then the big blast came from Eddie Rosario, a three-run home run to right field to make it 4-0 Braves.

Walker then got Marcell Ozuna to fly out to deep left field, and then Williams Contreras bounced one to third, on Walker's 30th pitch, that appeared to end the inning, but it went under Luis Guillorme's glove. Orlando Arcia grounded to second base to end the long inning.

In the bottom half of the first, Brandon Nimmo greeted Braves starter Ian Anderson with a double to left field, and then with two outs, Pete Alonso hit a blast to right that looked like it could have been his 30th home run of the season, but Ronald Acuna, Jr., made a leaping catch to keep the Mets off the board.

The Braves picked up right where they left off against Walker in the second, as Michael Harris II hit a solo home run to make it 5-0, and then Acuna, Jr., singled, stole second, and Swanson singled him home to make it 6-0. 

Olson followed with a single, and that knocked Walker out of the game, and since there were no outs in the inning, he only recorded one inning pitched. 

Trevor Williams was first out of the bullpen, and he got Riley to hit into a fielder's choice, which brought in Swanson, and then Rosario ripped a double to bring in Riley and make it 8-0, and that closed the book on Walker, whose final line was: 1 inning pitched, seven hits, eight runs (all earned), 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 2 home runs.

Williams then got Ozuna to pop out to second and Contreras flew out to right to keep it at 8-0. 

The Mets had a big chance in the bottom of the second, as Tyler Naquin got a two-out single, followed by a pair of walks from Guillorme and Tomas Nido, which turned the lineup over and brought Nimmo up with the bases loaded. 

Nimmo laced a single to center to bring in Naquin to get the Mets on the board, but for some reason, third base coach Alex Cora sent Guillorme too, and he was thrown out by Harris II at the plate easily, so the Mets only cut the Braves' lead to 8-1. If Guillorme had stayed at third, it would have been Starling Marte up with the bases loaded.

Atlanta loaded the bases in the third, but Williams got out of it by getting Riley to ground into a force out. In the bottom half, Marte led off with a single and Daniel Vogelbach drew a two-out walk, but Jeff McNeil struck out to end the inning.

In the fifth, Anderson started to lose it, as he gave up a one-out single to Lindor, then threw one way up and in to Alonso, which got away from Contreras, so Lindor went to second. 

Alonso singled, making it first and third with one out for Vogelbach, who struck out, but McNeil followed with a single to make it 8-2. 

That chased Anderson from the game, even though he was just one out away from being in line for a victory, and in came left-handed Dylan Lee.

The Mets sent up another new acquisition, Darren Ruf, for Naquin, who had two homers Thursday and a single in this one. The gutsy move paid off, as Ruf crushed one into the corner for a two-run double. Then, Eduardo Escobar, another pinch-hitter, singled in Ruf, making it 8-5 Atlanta. Tomas Nido flew out to right to end the four-run inning.

The final line for Anderson, who entered with a record of 9-6 and a 4.99 ERA, was: 4 2/3 innings pitched, 7 hits, 4 runs (all earned), 4 walks, 3 strikeouts.

Trevor Williams exited after the fifth, and his four shutout innings, in which he scattered four hits and a walk, with two strikeouts, enabled the Mets to get back in the game.

Joely Rodriguez was next out of the Mets bullpen, and he worked around a Riley single to pitch a scoreless top of the sixth.

The Mets made it interesting in the sixth against Braves reliever Collin McHugh, who came up through the Mets system and pitched for the Brooklyn Cyclones in 2009. He came in with one out, and struck out Marte before allowing a single to Lindor and a walk to Alonso.

Atlanta turned to left-hander A.J. Minter, which forced the Mets, playing the matchups, to swap out Vogelbach for Mark Canha, who struck out looking to end the inning.

The Mets turned to Mychal Givens in the seventh for his second appearance since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. This one was a lot better than his debut in Washington Wednesday, as he pitched a scoreless inning, working around a walk to Contreras and getting Harris II to hit into a double play to end the inning.

The Braves tacked on a massive insurance run in the ninth when William Contreras hit a solo shot into the bullpen in right field to make it 9-5 Braves.

Jeff McNeil got that run back with a solo shot of his own, his sixth homer of the season, off Braves closer Kenley Jansen, who did not earn a save since he entered with a 4-run lead.

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