|Allan Winans pitching to Pete Alonso in the first inning. Photo by Jason Schott.|
The Mets suffered the latest in a series of tough days in their 2023 season on Saturday at Citi Field, as they were swept by the Atlanta Braves in a doubleheader, losing the opener, 21-3, before being shutout in the nightcap, 6-0.
The Braves improved their Major League-best record to 75-41, while the Mets fell to 52-65.
BRAVES 21, METS 3: The Mets sent Denyi Reyes to the mound, in his second start of the season, with his first one ironically coming in the first game of another doubleheader against Atlanta, on May 1.
Atlanta jumped out to the early lead, as Ronald Acuna led off the top of the first inning with a single, stole second base, and came in to score on an RBI single from Austin Riley on a hit he dunked in front of right fielder D.J. Stewart.
Allan Winans, who was a Mets farmhand that Atlanta picked up in the Rule 5 Draft in 2021, got the start for the Braves, and he had a first inning that resembled how Charlie Morton navigated through his start Friday.
Rafael Ortega led off with a walk, and then with two outs, Pete Alonso drew an intentional walk before Daniel Vogelbach was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Abraham Almonte struck out to end the inning.
Atlanta added to their lead in the second inning when Eddie Rosario doubled, and came in to score on a two-out double from Nicky Lopez.
The Braves began to pull away in the fourth when Lopez got another RBI single and Ozzie Albies laced a hit into right field that also landed in front of Stewart and brought in two to make it 5-0.
Reed Garrett came on for the Mets with two runners on and two outs in the fifth, and got Lopez to ground out to shortstop.
In the sixth, he walked Acuna, Jr., and Riley, and then he allowed a bomb to right center-field by Matt Olson for a three-run homer that blew it open, at 8-0. That was the first of two home runs on the day for the Braves' first baseman, as he hit a solo shot in the eighth off Josh Walker that made it 12-0 at the time. That extended his league-leading marks to 42 home runs and 105 RBI.
|Matt Olson greeted by Marcell Ozuna after crossing the plate on his three-run homer, as Ronald Acuna, Jr., and Austin Riley also celebrate. Photo by Jason Schott.|
Braves catcher Sean Murphy hit a solo homer later in the inning, his 19th of the season, to make it 13-0 before the Mets finally got on the board in the series with three runs in the bottom of the eighth on a Vogelbach home run.
Atlanta put up eight runs in the ninth inning against Danny Mendick, the Mets' second baseman who came in to pitch, to make it a football-like score, at 21-3. In this era of analytics, in which cold hard numbers determine everything, you can't accuse a team of "running up a score" anymore because a computer won't account for the difference between .298 and .300 being a guy beating a ball into the ground with his team up 14-3.
Winans threw seven shutout innings, in which he allowed just four runs and two walks, with nine strikeouts, to earn his first career victory.
BRAVES 6, METS 0: Braves starting pitcher Spencer Strider matched Winans in the nightcap with seven shutout innings, as he allowed three runs and four hits, with six strikeouts, to improve to 13-4 on the season. Add in Charlie Morton's five shutout innings on Friday night, the Mets have not scored a run against Atlanta starters in this series.
Jose Quintana got the start for the Mets in this one, and he threw four shutout innings at the start before Marcell Ozuna doubled and scored on a Kevin Pillar single in the fifth.
The left-hander went six innings, in which he allowed just that one run on four hits and three walks, with four strikeouts, but he took the loss to fall to 0-4, with a 3.03 ERA (earned run average) as he still seeks his first win as a Met.
The Braves pulled away against Mets reliever Drew Smith in the eighth. Ozzie Albies was hit by a pitch and then came in to score after second baseman Danny Mendick made an error on a smash by Austin Riley and center fielder Tim Locastro send a wild throw to third base, which allowed Albies to score. Then, after Matt Olson walked, Marcell Ozuna laced a two-run double to center field to make it 4-0 Atlanta.
In the ninth, with Phil Bickford on for the Mets, Ozzie Albies blasted a two-run homer to right field, his 28th of the season, to make it 6-0 Braves, which would be the final.