The Braves’ bats hit a trio of solo home runs off of Jacob deGrom and did more damage against the Mets’ bullpen en route to taking the first game of a pivotal series against the New York Mets on Friday night.
With the win, the Braves improved to 98-59 on the year and moved back into a tie with the Mets atop the NL East.
The Mets did manage a few baserunners against Max Fried in the top of the first after Brandon Nimmo struck out swinging to begin the game. Pete Alonso laced a single up the middle and was replaced at first by Francisco Lindor, who hit a grounder down the third base line that Riley made a nice play on to get Alonso at second. Fried got Canha to ground out to keep the frame scoreless.
Max Fried, Pretty 74mph Curveball. pic.twitter.com/3XWFxuXue4— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 30, 2022
deGrom retired the Braves in order in the bottom of the first on a groundout and two strikeouts.
In the top of the second, another great Riley play was bookended by two less-than-great plays by Eddie Rosario in left field, which led to the Mets scoring the game’s first run. First, Rosario seemed to lose a Jeff McNeil fly ball in the lights, and Eduardo Escobar tattooed a single over Dansby Swanson’s head to put runners on first and second with no outs. In his first Major League at-bat, Francisco Alvarez grounded into a double play to Riley that erased the men on first and second but allowed McNeil to advance to third, and McNeil scored on a Luis Guillorme line drive that Rosario just misplayed. A Tomas Nido flyout to Ronald Acuña Jr. ended the inning.
The New York lead didn’t last long, though, as Riley and Olson went back-to-back in the bottom of the frame to give the Braves a 2-1 advantage.
With a lead, Fried settled in and retired 10 consecutive Mets over the third, fourth, and fifth innings.
Max Fried, Nasty 76mph Curveball. pic.twitter.com/DqqFLeM3mN— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 1, 2022
Atlanta looked to potentially add to its lead in the bottom of the third when Orlando Arcia led off with a single and advanced to second on an Acuña Jr. groundout, but a Swanson strikeout and an Arcia TOOTBLAN ended the threat. deGrom matched Fried’s performance in the fourth and fifth, sitting down the Braves in order.
Fried ended up having to leave the game earlier than anticipated after becoming suddenly ill during the bottom of the fifth inning, and he exited having allowed one run on four hits with three strikeouts and no walks in 5.0 innings pitched and did ultimately earn the win. The bullpen picked him up, though, as Collin McHugh, Raisel Iglesias and AJ Minter combined to give up just one run on three total hits over the next three frames, and that one run came in the form of a Nido homer off of Minter in the eighth.
The Braves finally broke through in the sixth when Swanson hit a one-out towering shot to left-center field, good for his 100th career home run, to increase the lead to 3-1.
The Mets went to their bullpen after the stretch, and Atlanta was able to plate a pair of runs off of Tylor Megill to bring the score to 5-1. Olson hit a leadoff single, and Travis d’Arnaud followed it up with a double off the wall in center field, setting up a Rosario sac fly to score Olson. d’Arnaud came around to score on the inning’s second double off the wall, this one to left center off the bat of Arcia. Trevor May entered the game and struck out Acuña Jr. to end the frame, but the damage had already been done.
Kenley Jansen let things get a little interesting in the ninth, loading the bases with one out courtesy of a Canha HBP, McNeil single, and Escobar walk. However, Jansen struck out Alvarez, who ended his debut day hitless, followed by Tyler Naquin on a nine-pitch at-bat to strand the runners and earn his 38th save of the season.
The pivotal series continues tomorrow when Kyle Wright takes on Max Scherzer at 7:20PM.