As has been the trend for most of the season, the Braves got off to a fast start. Ronald Acuña Jr. and Matt Olson led off the game with singles. After Austin Riley popped out, Sean Murphy connected on his seventh home run of the season to give Atlanta an early 3-0 lead.
Spencer Strider’s afternoon got off to a tough start as Brandon Nimmo greeted him with a triple off the wall in right to lead off the inning. Strider walked Starling Marte and then allowed a single to Francisco Lindor that scored Nimmo to make it 3-1.
Strider battled back and struck out Pete Alonso and then got Jeff McNeil to pop out to Ozzie Albies for the second out. He then walked Daniel Vogelbach, but struck out Brett Baty with the bases loaded with his 36th pitch of the inning to avoid further damage.
Spencer Strider's 2 1st Inning Ks. pic.twitter.com/5GUkL3rZIm— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 1, 2023
The Braves went right back to work against Denyi Reyes in the second. Michael Harris led off the inning with a single and then came around to score on a homer by Kevin Pillar that extended the lead to 5-1.
That would end Reyes’ afternoon as Buck Showalter summoned John Curtiss from the bullpen. However, he didn’t provide much relief as Acuña jumped on a 3-1 fastball and drove it into the third deck at Citi Field to extend the lead to 6-1.
Strider needed just 16 pitches to retire the side in order in the second, but again found himself in trouble in the third. Marte led off the inning with a single and then swiped second. Strider walked Lindor before Alonso connected for his 11th home run of the season to right center to cut Atlanta’s lead to 6-4.
Strider continued to labor as he hit McNeil with a pitch before Vogelbach lifted a fly to center that Harris initially broke back on and was unable to recover as it dropped in front of him. Strider then got Baty to pop out, struck out Guillorme and then got Nido to ground into a force out to end the inning.
Strider settled in from there retiring the last six hitters he faced with three strikeouts between the fourth and the fifth.
It certainly wasn’t Strider’s best day, but he battled through and gave the Braves five innings. He allowed five hits, four runs, three walks and struck out eight while throwing a career-high 107 pitches.
Dylan Lee took over in the sixth and was greeted rudely by Baty who launched a solo home run to right to cut Atlanta’s lead to 6-5. Lee then walked pinch-hitter Tommy Pham. Tomas Nido moved Pham into scoring position for the first out, but Lee got Nimmo to ground out to Matt Olson at first. Brian Snitker then summoned Collin McHugh from the bullpen who got Marte to fly out to right to strand the runner.
Atlanta’s offense went quiet after the second, but they got going again in the seventh. Acuña led things off with a floating double that landed between Nimmo and Marte in right center. Jake Brigham then walked Olson, but got Riley to fly out to right. He wouldn’t be as fortunate with Murphy who jumped on a hanging breaking ball and drove it out to left center for his second three-run shot of the game to extend the lead to 9-5.
The Mets weren’t going to go away quietly though. McHugh came back out to start the seventh and hit Lindor and Alonso to start the inning. McNeil followed with a single to right to load the bases with no one out. Vogelbach then sent a grounder to Olson who fired to second for one, but Vaughn Grissom’s throw back to McHugh covering was wild allowing two runs to score. Replay showed that McNeil slid wide of the bag and into Grissom, but the Braves elected not to challenge or argue the play.
McHugh stayed in and allowed a single to center by Baty. The Braves then went to Jesse Chavez who got Pham to ground to Grissom, who there to third to nab Vogelbach for the second out. Chavez then got pinch hitter Mark Canha to ground softly to first to end the inning.
Nick Anderson took over in the eighth and struck out Nimmo and Marte before getting Lindor to pop out. A.J. Minter entered in the ninth and struck out Alonso and then got McNeil to line out softly to Grissom for the second out. Minter wouldn’t escape unscathed though as pinch-hitter Eduardo Escobar took him deep for a solo home run to make it 9-8. However, he came back and got Baty to line out to Acuña in right to end the game.
With the win, the Braves improved to 19-9 on the season and secure a series win. Acuña finished with three hits and was a triple shy of the cycle. Murphy drove in a career-high six with his pair of home runs. Baty finished with two hits to lead the way for the Mets.
The second game of the doubleheader will start shortly with Charlie Morton facing off against Tylor Megill.