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Hot streak cools as Braves drop series opener to Mets, 6-3

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MLB: New York Mets at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves entered a weekend homestand with the New York Mets as one of the hottest teams in baseball. Brian Snitker’s team was riding a three-game winning streak and, beyond that, the Braves had reeled off seven victories in eight games prior to Thursday evening. On the heels of a positive start to the series opener, optimism was high but, at the end of the night, Atlanta fell to New York by a final score of 6-3.

The Braves struck first, as Freddie Freeman stroked a ground rule double with two outs in the first inning, setting the stage for Ronald Acuña to give the home team the lead.

From there, though, it was all Mets, and the visitors made their first dent to the scoreboard in the second inning. Braves starter Kevin Gausman navigated a 1-2-3 frame in the first but quickly ran into trouble, walking the first batters of the second inning. He did induce a ground-out but, immediately, Amed Rosario put the Mets on top with a three-run blast to center.

There was some positive mojo on the way, with Johan Camargo contributing a one-out home run to slash the margin to 3-2.

Things were quiet after that long ball, with the two teams trading empty innings until the sixth. Then, Gausman allowed two consecutive two-out singles and he was relieved by Wes Parsons. Though the run was charged to Gausman, it was Rosario (again) that produed an RBI single and the Braves were in a 4-2 hole with only three innings to play.

In the seventh, Jonny Venters was called on at the outset and, well, that move didn’t work out in grand fashion. The veteran left-hander walked Brandon Nimmo and, on cue, allowed a two-run blast to Pete Alonso that gave the Mets a comfortable, four-run lead.

The Braves did threaten in a major way in the seventh inning, albeit unsuccessfully. Dansby Swanson and Tyler Flowers contributed singles and, after a walk to pinch-hitter Matt Joyce, the bases were loaded for Ozzie Albies and Josh Donaldson. Then, Albies swung through a pair of fastballs to strike out and, when Donaldson grounded into a force play, that was the end of that.

More positively, Atlanta did add a run later and it came with a monster swing from a certain outfielder.

The comeback bid wouldn’t fully materialize, though, as the Braves failed to scratch again in the ninth on the way to the three-run final margin.

After a light-out effort in his first start of the season, Gausman wasn’t fantastic on Thursday. He finished 5.2 innings, allowing four earned runs, and Gausman issued four hits and three walks along the way.

Offensively, Acuña was the clear standout, with three hits (two for extra bases) in his four plate appearances to continue his scorching hot recent performance. Elsewhere, Camargo and Freeman did their part with extra-base hits of their own, but the overall offense wasn’t up to the challenge in this particular spot.

The Braves and Mets will square off again on Friday evening, with Sean Newcomb and Zack Wheeler taking the ball for their respective teams. Stay tuned.