Friday, August 11, 2023

Megill Returns To Citi, Mets Offense Can't Take Advantage Of Many Chances As Braves Roll


Charlie Morton pitching to Pete Alonso in the third inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Atlanta Braves, led by escape artist Charlie Morton, shutout the Mets, 7-0, on Friday night at Citi Field, as they improved their Major League-best record to 73-41. The Mets, who began their ten-game homestand by taking two of three from the Chicago Cubs, fell to 52-63.

The Mets had a late scratch in this one, as shortstop Francisco Lindor was pulled with what the team termed "right side soreness," and he will have imaging on Saturday. Lindor has played in all of the Mets' 114 games, and he hit .246 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI.

Tylor Megill striking out Michael Harris II in the third inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

Tylor Megill got the start for the Mets, and it was his second outing since his return from the minor leagues, and first at Citi Field since June 16.

The right-hander began his night by retiring the first two Braves hitters before he allowed a single to Austin Riley with two outs in the first inning. He then retired the next eight hitters, which gave the Mets' offense a chance to get to Braves starter Charlie Morton, who was uncharacteristically wild. 

In the first inning, he walked Brandon Nimmo and Pete Alonso, and struck out Daniel Vogelbach to end the inning. Then, in the second, he allowed singles to Mark Vientos and Rafael Ortega before he got Danny Mendick to bounce into a double play. Then, he allowed a two-out walk to Jonathan Arauz before Nimmo flew out to left field with two runners on base. In the third, with one out, Morton walked Jeff McNeil and Alonso and then struck out Vogelbach and got Vientos to pop out to shortstop. That was another two runners left on, and six overall in the first three frames.

Then, in the top of the fourth, with one out, Riley banged one off the right-center field fence for a double, and then Matt Olson got a single to left field that Ortega couldn't reach as he dove for it. Travis d'Arnaud then lined one to Nimmo in center field for the second out. Marcell Ozuna then dribbled one down the third-base line to load the bases. Eddie Rosario followed that with a hit to right-center that Nimmo couldn't get to, and it kicked off his leg, which cleared the bases and give the Braves a 3-0 lead.

Austin Riley, Matt Olson, and Marcell Ozuna after coming in to score in the fourth inning, as Tylor Megill heads back to the mound. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets had another golden opportunity in the bottom of the fourth. Morton walked Ortega to open the inning, and then he stole second before Mendick struck out looking and Arauz flew out to left. Nimmo followed with a walk to give the Mets two on and two out for Alvarez, but he flew out to right field to end the threat. By this point, Morton walked seven, allowed two hits, and the Mets left eight runners on base.

The Braves pulled away in the fifth when Michael Harris II led off with a single, Ronald Acuna, Jr. walked, Ozzie Albies got an RBI single, and Austin Riley hit a sacrifice fly to make it 5-0.

Atlanta tacked on another run in the sixth, as d'Arnaud singled and came in to score on a double by Rosario. 

That would chase Megill from the game, and his final line was: 5 1/3 innings, 9 hits, 6 runs, 5 earned, 1 walk, and three strikeouts. He fell to 6-6 and his ERA went up a tick to 5.64.

Morton went five for the Braves, and he allowed no runs on three hits and seven walks, with four strikeouts. He improved to 11-10 and lowered his ERA to 3.71.


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