Some sloppy defense and a dominant performance by Max Scherzer helped send the Atlanta Braves to a 6-2 loss in Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader.
After Max Fried and Scherzer put up zeroes in the first two innings, the Mets got something going in the third. Tomas Nido led off the inning with double over the head of Eddie Rosario in left. Brandon Nimmo tried to move him over, but popped up the bunt attempt for the first out. Fried then walked Starling Marte to put runners at first and second and that would come back to haunt him. Fransisco Lindor lined a single to load the bases and then Pete Alonso blooped yet another single to right field to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.
Darin Ruf followed with a grounder to Matt Olson at first who threw to second for the second out. Fried was unable to handle Dansby Swanson’s throw to first and the ball skipped away. Two more runs scored on the play to make it 3-0. Fried was shaken up on the play as he appeared to bang his head on the turf while trying to throw home. He stayed in the game and got Eduardo Escobar to fly out to center to end the inning.
Scherzer allowed two hits over the first four innings. The Braves threatened in the fifth as Travis d’Arnaud led off the inning with his second double of the game. After Marcell Ozuna struck out, Michael Harris reached on an infield single to put runners at the corners. Ehire Adrianza grounded sharply to second and Luis Guillorme threw home in time to cut down d’Arnaud at the plate. Ronald Acuña Jr. struck out to strand the runners.
After the rough third, Fried retired seven straight before Pete Alonso reached on an infield single to start the sixth. Ruf followed with a slow roller to Austin Riley who fielded it on the run, but his throw was wide at first and got past Olson to put runners at second and third. Fried got Escobar to fly out to Acuña in shallow right for the first out. Mark Canha then grounded to Riley who thew home. d’Arnaud had to reach up for the throw and then tried the tag on just as Alonso crashed into him. Alonso was originally called out on the play, but the Mets challenged and the call was overturned.
What a ridiculous tag by Travis d'Arnaud pic.twitter.com/iWb6bmc9L2— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) August 7, 2022
Fried struck out Luis Guillorme and got Nido to ground out to Olson to end the inning with no further damage. That would be it for Fried who deserved a better fate. He allowed six hits and four runs, although just two were earned, to go along with a walk and five strikeouts. He threw 93 pitches with 65 going for strikes.
While Fried was good, Scherzer was dominant. He struck out the side in the seventh giving him 11 for the game. He allowed just four hits and didn’t walk a batter while throwing 108 pitches.
The Braves finally got on the board in the eighth as Adrianza hooked a one-out double off of Mychal Givens into the right field corner. Acuña followed with a hustle double of his own to make it 4-1. Givens got Swanson and Olson to ground out to strand the runner.
The Mets added two more in the bottom half of the inning against Jackson Stephens as Tyler Naquin singled home Eduardo Escobar to make it 5-1. After a ground out by Guillorme, Nido pushed a bunt up the first base line that scored Naquin to make it 6-1. Trevor May retired the first two hitters in the ninth, but then allowed a solo home run to Contreras to make it 6-2. May recovered and got Ozuna to fly out to left to end the game.
Atlanta falls to 64-45 and are now 5.5 games back in the NL East standings. The series will wrap up Sunday with another prime pitching matchup between Spencer Strider and Jacob deGrom.