The Mets’ Five-Game Duel With The Braves

The New York Mets just wrapped up an electrifying five-game series against the Atlanta Braves, an important showdown for both sides as they continued to vie for the lead in the National League East.

After the Braves 14-game win streak from June 1-15, the Mets’ division lead narrowed from 10 1/2 games to 4. Nonetheless, New York has held their ground, preventing Atlanta from overtaking them. The rivals met for a three-game set at Truist Park from July 11-13, with the Mets taking two games out of three.

Despite the Braves inching within a half-game of first place on July 23, the Mets did not subside. New York went on a seven-game win streak from July 24-August 1, pushing Atlanta back to 3 1/2 games.

The Mets entered the series at 66-38, while the Braves were hot on their trail at 63-42. A series win was key for New York, as it would ensure that Atlanta would be no closer than they were prior to their impending battle.

Having said that, here is how the Mets’ five-game duel with the Braves unfolded.

Game 1: Mets 6, Braves 4

The Mets got to Braves starting pitcher Kyle Wright early on, scoring five runs in the first three innings.

In the first inning, with runners on first and second, Pete Alonso singled to drive home Starling Marte. One inning later, Tyler Naquin hit his first home run as a Met, sending a fly ball to right field.

New York’s barrage of runs continued into the third inning, as Alonso’s two-run shot to left field extended the Mets’ lead to 4-0. Later that inning, Daniel Vogelbach homered for the second consecutive game, pushing the score to 5-0 Mets.

The Braves would respond in the fifth inning, as rookie Michael Harris II singled to right field to send home Travis d’Arnaud. Atlanta then pulled within two after Ronald Acuña Jr.’s two-run home run, cutting New York’s lead to 5-3.

The Mets fired back in the sixth, as Naquin’s second home run widened their lead to 6-3.

Both bullpens were called upon in the seventh, with Adam Ottavino replacing Mets starter Carlos Carrasco and Tyler Matzek coming in for Wright. Despite an RBI single from Harris, Ottavino struck out Acuña to end the inning with New York still ahead.

Over the final two innings, Edwin Díaz struck out three and allowed one hit to seal a 6-4 win for the Mets, giving Díaz his 24th save of the season.

Series score: Mets 1, Braves 0

Team records: Mets – 67-38; Braves – 63-43

Game 2: Braves 9, Mets 6

Atlanta’s offense made quick work of Mets starting pitcher Taijuan Walker, forcing him out of the game in the second inning.

Matt Olson began the Braves’ attack in the first inning with a double, allowing Dansby Swanson to score from second base. After Austin Riley was hit by a pitch, Eddie Rosario hit a three-run home run to right field, giving Atlanta a 4-0 lead.

The second inning began with a solo home run by Michael Harris II, increasing the Braves’ lead to five runs. Immediately after Harris’s home run, Ronald Acuña Jr. singled, stole second base, and scored on Swanson’s RBI single.

Following the Braves’ sixth run, Olson sent Swanson to third base with a single. Olson would be the final batter Walker faced, as Trevor Williams entered the game in relief of Walker.

Swanson then made it 7-0 Braves after Riley grounded into a force-out, with Olson out at second base. Atlanta expanded their lead to 8-0 with an RBI double from Rosario, sending Riley from first to home.

Game 2: Braves 9, Mets 6 (continued)

The Mets’ offense arose in the second inning, with Tyler Naquin singling and Luis Guillorme and Tomás Nido both reaching via walk. Brandon Nimmo then singled to center field, with Naquin scoring New York’s first run of the game. However, the inning ended after Harris threw out Guillorme at home plate as he tried to score.

Although there were several baserunners for both sides, the scoreboard remained unchanged in the third and fourth innings. Williams and Braves starter Ian Anderson held the opposing offenses in check, preventing any scoring and striking out four batters over the two innings.

New York re-emerged in the fifth, with Jeff McNeil’s ground ball single sending Francisco Lindor home to cut the deficit to six. This would be it for Anderson, as he was pulled from the game in favor of Dylan Lee.

The pitching change prompted Mets manager Buck Showalter to substitute Naquin for trade deadline acquisition Darin Ruf, who bats well against left-handed pitching. Showalter’s decision paid off, as Ruf hit an RBI double that scored two runs.

Ruf replacing Naquin was directly followed by Eduardo Escobar pinch-hitting for Guillorme. This substitution also succeeded, as Escobar singled to left field, sending Ruf from second to home. The Mets pulled within three, cutting the Braves lead to 8-5.

In the ninth inning, Atlanta added to their lead with a home run by William Contreras, putting them ahead by four. McNeil countered with a homer of his own later that inning, but Braves closer Kenley Jansen ended the Mets’ comeback bid shortly afterward.

Series score: Mets 1, Braves 1

Team records: Mets – 67-39; Braves – 64-43

Game 3: Mets 8, Braves 5

Games 3 & 4 of the Mets’ five-game duel with the Braves were played as a doubleheader on Saturday.

Following David Peterson’s shutout first inning, the Mets struck first against Braves starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi. Pete Alonso hit an opposite-field single, bringing home Starling Marte. Daniel Vogelbach quickly added to New York’s lead, hitting a single of his own to score Francisco Lindor.

The Mets led 2-0 until the bottom of the third when Jeff McNeil sent Lindor home from second. Three innings later, Lindor hit a three-run home run to center field; this was reduced to a two-run double upon an umpire review, giving the Mets a 5-0 advantage.

New York held Atlanta scoreless until the top of the seventh when Ronald Acuña Jr. singled to send home Orlando Arcia. After Adam Ottavino came in to replace Seth Lugo, Matt Olson sent Acuña home with a single to cut the Braves’ deficit to three.

Later in the seventh, the Mets countered with a James McCann single, scoring Mark Canha from second base. Brandon Nimmo kept the line moving with another base hit, and Marte allowed Luis Guillorme to advance to home. Lindor’s sacrifice fly let McCann score, creating an 8-2 lead for New York.

Yoan López came in to close out the game, getting Swanson out on a fly ball before the Braves tacked on a few more runs. Olson singled to get Austin Riley home, with Robbie Grossman doubling to score Olson. This forced Buck Showalter to bring in Edwin Díaz for the last two outs after a six-out save two days earlier.

A William Contreras groundout permitted Travis d’Arnaud to come home from third base, but Díaz struck out Eddie Rosario to end the game.

Series score: Mets 2, Braves 1

Team records: Mets – 68-39; Braves – 64-44

Game 4: Mets 6, Braves 2

In Game 4 of the Mets’ five-game duel with the Braves, the Mets kept their momentum going in part two of the doubleheader.

To start the game, both Max Scherzer and Max Fried prevented any scoring from happening, despite Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso reaching base in the opening inning. Travis d’Arnaud was the Braves’ only baserunner through the first three innings, doubling in the second.

The Mets broke through in the third inning with a base hit to right field, scoring Tomás Nido. On the next play, Dansby Swanson’s mistimed throw to first base allowed two runs to score.

Fried, unable to get Darin Ruf out at first, lost his balance and fell as he threw towards home plate. The throw was too late, as Marte and Lindor both scored to increase the Mets’ lead to 3-0. Fried was not injured by the fall and remained in the game.

Scherzer and Fried then exchanged scoreless fourth and fifth innings, with the score still 3-0 Mets. Then, in the sixth inning, Buck Showalter contested the call that Alonso was tagged out at home plate. His challenge was successful, which overturned the out and grew the Mets’ lead to 4-0.

Two innings later, the Braves scored on a Ronald Acuña Jr. double, sending home Ehire Adrianza. However, the Mets were unfazed, scoring two more runs on a Tyler Naquin single and a sacrifice bunt by Nido.

Trevor May finished the game for New York, pitching for the second time since returning from the injured list. William Contreras hit another home run, but it was all for naught, as the Mets won, 6-2.

Series score: Mets 3, Braves 1

Team records: Mets – 69-39; Braves – 64-45

Game 5: Mets 5, Braves 2

The Mets entered the finale of their five-game duel with the Braves with a chance to take four out of the five games.

Jacob deGrom made his long-awaited return to Citi Field, dominating in the game before exiting after 76 pitches. deGrom retired each of the first 17 batters, striking out 12 of them. In doing so, deGrom set the record for most strikeouts through a pitcher’s first 200 starts (1,523), eclipsing Yu Darvish’s previous mark of 1,517.

On offense, New York sent a statement early on. Pete Alonso doubled in the third inning, allowing Brandon Nimmo and Francisco Lindor to score.

Later in the inning, Mark Canha hit a line-drive double, which scored Alonso and Daniel Vogelbach. Braves manager Brian Snitker removed starting pitcher Spencer Strider from the game, with Strider lasting just 2 2/3 innings. The Mets ended the third inning with a 4-0 lead.

In the fifth inning, Jeff McNeil scored on a wild pitch by Braves relief pitcher Collin McHugh, expanding the Mets’ lead to 5-0.

Back on defense, deGrom’s outing ended after Dansby Swanson hit a two-run home run. This broke up deGrom’s no-hit bid, which had lasted 5 2/3 innings.

Austin Riley got the final hit of the game, singling off of Joely Rodríguez in the seventh inning. Nevertheless, Rodríguez retired each of the next six batters, striking out four of them.

Edwin Díaz then struck out the side in the ninth inning, closing out the Mets’ five-game duel with the Braves.

Series score: Mets 4, Braves 1

Team records: Mets – 70-39; Braves – 64-46

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