The good news: Matt Kemp showed up to play.
The bad news: the rest of the offense, not so much.
Kemp crushed two homers into the cold, soggy Queens night off of Mets starter Matt Harvey, but the Braves were unable to muster much else offensively. Meanwhile, the Mets knocked around Jaime Garcia, making his Braves debut, to the tune of four runs in six innings, and scored a couple more off of reliever Chaz Roe, to pull away and claim a series victory.
The game actually started off at an extremely snappy pace. Both Garcia and Harvey worked through the fourth inning having made fewer than 50 pitches, and, at first glance, it looked like the game might actually rival one of those legendary under-two-hour-contests you occasionally hear about.
Both teams got one-out singles in the second, and both starting pitchers then erased those runners on double plays immediately thereafter. Garcia also allowed a double to Yoenis Cespedes in the fourth, but was able to get a groundout from lefty-killer Wilmer Flores to keep the game scoreless.
The game didn’t stay scoreless for long: Matt Kemp proceeded to obliterate a Matt Harvey dead-red-down-the-pipe-other-metaphor-here fastball way into left center to untie the game. Unfortunately, the Mets didn’t take that affront lightly, striking for two runs to gain the lead in the bottom of the frame. Neil Walker hit a one-out single and Jay Bruce drew a walk, setting up a Travis d’Arnaud double into the left-center field gap on a hanging breaking pitch scoring both runners.
Garcia evaded further damage in the fifth, but ran into more trouble in the sixth, allowing a one-out walk to Cespedes, and yielding a monster home run inside the left field foul pole to Flores on a slider that didn’t quite slide its way outside of the strike zone. Garcia also allowed a double later that inning, and ended his Braves debut with the following line: six innings, six hits, four runs (all earned), two walks, zero strikeouts.
The Braves got a bit of momentum back in the seventh. Matt Harvey, who was having a breeze working through Atlanta hitters without the Kemp surname, struck out both Dansby Swanson and Freddie Freeman to begin what was his last inning of work. Unfortunately for Harvey, he then ran into the Kemp buzzsaw (Kempsaw?):
That was Harvey’s last pitch, and Jerry Blevins came out and struck out Nick Markakis to end the inning.
The Mets got a couple more runs in sloppy fashion off of Chaz Roe, the first Braves reliever of the night. With one out, Roe beaned Michael Conforto and then allowed two groundball singles, pushing the deficit to 2-5. Roe then got Cespedes to ground a ball off the end of the bat right at Freeman, who threw to Swanson at second for an out. Unfortunately, Swanson’s return throw to first zagged a bit, and Roe was unable to corral it in his glove despite a diving effort. Swanson got charged with a throwing error, and, more importantly, the Mets scored another run on the play.
The Braves actually managed to bring the tying run to the plate in the eighth, thanks to a one-out single from Adonis Garcia, an infield single from Tyler Flowers that went off of pitcher Fernando Salas’ glove, and then another infield single by Ender Inciarte that Asdrubal Cabrera couldn’t handle behind the pitcher’s mound. (Emilio Bonifacio, who is inexplicably the first bat off the bench, flew out for the second out of the inning in the middle of that sequence, but we’re not talking about that.) Unfortunately, Salas struck out Swanson on four pitches to end the threat.
The Braves also went down quietly in the ninth, as fill-in closer Addison Reed retired Freeman, Kemp, and Markakis in order to end the game.
Eric O’Flaherty pitched a scoreless eighth for the Braves, a nice bounceback from his struggles on Opening Day. Matt Kemp was the only Brave to reach base twice, and he actually spent no time on the bases, courtesy of his two homers.
The Braves were incredibly aggressive all night: they saw just 113 pitches, garnered no walks, and struck out eight times. The Mets, meanwhile, drew two walks and only struck out twice.
Atlanta will look to even its record as they head to Pittsburgh next. That game is scheduled for a 1:05 pm ET start, but with the weather being nasty, who knows what’ll happen. If the game does get played, the presumed pitching matchup would be Mike Foltynewicz versus Ivan Nova.