For one night anyway, the Mets turned the tables on the Braves.
After being outscored 40-10 in losing three of a four game series at Citifield earlier this month, the Mets had their hitting shoes on as they pounded out 14 hits enroute to an 10-4 win over the Braves at Truist Park Monday night.
The Mets (59-67) have won 7 of 9 and it was actually their second straight win over their nemesis in the NL East and their first this season in Atlanta. “It’s a hard place to win because they’re really good,” Mets Manager Buck Showalter said after the game.
Francisco Lindor continued his second half surge as he had two hits, including a home run and three runs batted in, while D.J. Stewart homered and also drove in a run with a safety squeeze bunt.
Braves starting pitcher Allan Winans, a former Mets draft pick, who faced them nine days ago and tossed seven scoreless innings, was roughed up for seven runs on 9 hits in 4 1/3 innings pitched. “We made some adjustments to him [Winans] and did a better job this time,” Showalter said after the game.
The Mets were trailing 4-3 when they erupted for four runs in the fifth.
With one out, Brandon Nimmo walked and Lindor singled. Jeff McNeil continued to swing a hot bat as he drove in Nimmo with a single to right. Pete Alonso and Daniel Vogelbach followed with run scoring singles to make it 6-4. McNeil is hitting .329 in August with 13 RBIs in 21 games.
Stewart’s surprise bunt came after left hander Brad Hand replaced Winans.
With one out and Alonso on third and Vogelbach on first, Stewart tried to bunt the first pitch but it went foul. On the second pitch, Stewart laid down the bunt towards the first base side and Alonso scored on the sacrifice to make it a 7-4 lead. “I mean that’s a good pitcher out there, left on left,” Stewart said. “They were playing back with ‘Vogie’ at first base so just trying to get it down, make them field it on that [first base] side, get an extra run there.”
Lindor’s 23rd home run with two on in the sixth batting right handed against Hand, blew the game open as the Mets grabbed a 10-4 lead. Since July 22nd, Lindor is hitting .349 and has raised his average from .226 to .254, not easy to do at this stage of the season.
Rafael Ortega hit his first home run as a Met and Alonso’s 95th RBI of the season were some of the other offensive highlights.
Mets starter David Peterson gave up two solo home runs to Marcell Ozuna and was charged with four runs on 7 hits while walking two and striking out four in 4 2/3 innings pitched.
Peterson was given a boost by his defense in a first inning that featured three fine defensive plays in the outfield.
With Acuna Jr on first, Nimmo robbed Michael Harris Jr with an all out diving catch of a sinking line drive in right center field. If that ball gets past Nimmo, it’s definitely 1-0 and maybe even a 2-0 Braves lead. Peterson then induced a double play ball from the red hot Austin Riley and the Mets had a moral victory by keeping the high scoring Braves off the board in the first inning.
Atlanta’s outfield defense frustrated the Mets first two batters of the game. Nimmo led off the game with a drive to left center field that appeared to be headed for extra bases, but former Met Kevin Pillar made a terrific running catch. The next batter was Lindor, who drove the first pitch from Winans to deep center field where it was hauled in by Braves center fielder Michael Harris Jr at the center field wall.
Marcell Ozuna, who had been 0 for 12 against Peterson, hit two solo home runs off of the left hander. The second one in the fourth gave the Braves a 4-3 lead before the Mets retook the lead again.
Peterson was three outs away from qualifying for a win, but with two out, he walked Matt Olson, who he had struck out twice previously, on a 3-1 pitch.
Showalter was not going to allow Peterson to face Ozuna a third time so Phil Bickford was brought in and he struck out the Braves DH to end the inning.
Bickford got the win with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Sam Coonrod, Adam Ottavino and Drew Smith tossed scoreless ball over the final three innings to secure the win.
The Mets were getting good swings against Winans and it paid off in the second.
With one out, Stewart, who has been on a power surge, golfed a 1-0 slider from Winans into the right field seats for his 6th home run and a 1-0 lead. Stewart is making the most of his extended playing time. The home run gave him 5 HRS in 18 at bats.
After Omar Narvaez singled, Ortega’s first home run as a Met made it 3-0. The home runs by Stewart and Ortega were the first given up by Winans in his brief Major League career.
This latest surge is too little, too late as far as saving the season but the Mets are showing a little something by playing hard down the stretch.
“They’re a good team. They [Atlanta] beat us seven times last year, we beat ‘em six,” Showalter said. “This year it’s been a little more of a challenge. Wasn’t the same number of games but this year it’s been different, doesn’t mean you quit competing and don’t keep trying to win games.