The Mets fell to the Braves 6-2 in the opening game of a weekend series against Atlanta at Citi Field. It was a matchup of two good starting pitchers, as Jacob deGrom faced off against Mike Soroka. The latter found himself three runs to the good early, as the Braves struck first on a two-run shot by Austin Riley in the second inning. deGrom left a pitch smack in the middle of the plate and was punished for it by the Braves’ young slugger. The Braves scratched out another run off deGrom in the third, when Ronald Acuña Jr. led off the inning with a base hit and promptly stole second base to put himself in scoring position. Ozzie Albies grounded out to second, advancing Acuña to third and Josh Donaldson drove him in with a sacrifice fly to lengthen the Braves’ lead to 3-0.
That was all the Braves would manage off deGrom, as he notched his first 1-2-3 inning in the fourth and settled in from there. But it was enough, as the Mets’ offense was stymied by Soroka over the first six innings of the game. Soroka was perfect through the first 3 1⁄3 innings until Pete Alonso delivered the Mets’ first hit—a solo homer that put the Mets on the board to make the score 3-1.
Wilmer Font came in the game in relief of deGrom and pitched a rare 1-2-3 inning out of the bullpen, assisted by a nice diving grab by Amed Rosario to nab a scorching line drive by Acuña. It made up for an earlier play in the third inning after Donaldson’s sacrifice fly, in which a throw from Tomas Nido attempting to catch Freddie Freeman stealing nicked off Rosario’s glove and went into center field, allowing Freeman to advance to third base. deGrom did not allow the run to score, but it certainly did force him to throw more pitches under duress, perhaps shortening his outing somewhat.
The Mets’ best chance for a comeback came in the bottom of the seventh after Font managed to hold the Braves where they were. Todd Frazier and Dominic Smith laced back-to-back singles to lead off the inning, putting runners at the corners with nobody out. Soroka was able to get Rosario to strike out swinging, but then Tomas Nido smacked a base hit to right field to plate Frazier and bring the Mets within a run. This ended Soroka’s day and Brian Snitker turned to former Met Anthony Swarzak to hold the one-run lead for the Braves. With the way things are going for the Mets, it almost seemed inevitable that the bullpen arm who could not be relied upon in this situation in a Mets uniform would come through against them as a Brave. And he did. J.D. Davis came to the plate as the pinch hitter for Jacob deGrom and hit a slow roller up the third base line that he was able to beat out for an infield hit to load the bases. But Swarzak escaped by the skin of his teeth. He was able to strike out the Mets’ best contact hitter in Jeff McNeil. Pete Alonso then hit the ball sharply, but right at the left fielder Riley to put an end to the threat.
The close game didn’t last long, as this night in the Russian roulette of Mets relievers, it was Robert Gsellman who wasn’t able to get the job done. Freddie Freeman led off the inning with a base hit, and Nick Markakis soon followed with a one-out single that advanced Freeman to third base. Gsellman was able to get Brian McCann on a swinging strikeout, but then loaded the bases on a hit-by-pitch. The Mets challenged the hit-by-pitch, but upon replay review the ball did indeed appear to graze the shirt sleeve of Austin Riley and the call was upheld. Johan Camargo then delivered the final blow—a bases-clearing double that put the Braves in front 6-2, which is where they would remain.
The Mets got the first man on in the bottom of the eighth off A.J. Minter, as Robinson Cano led off the inning with a single—his second hit of the game. Michael Conforto struck out, but then Todd Frazier hit a very similar dribbler that J.D. Davis beat out the inning before and was ruled safe at first base on the play. However, the Braves challenged the call and Frazier was ruled out upon replay review, making Josh Donaldson’s great barehand play on the slow grounder stand up. Dominic Smith then struck out swinging to end the inning.
Both teams were retired 1-2-3 in the ninth, as Stephen Nogosek pitched the final inning of relief for the Mets and Luke Jackson closed things out for the Braves. The Mets look to snap their losing streak, which now stands at six games, this afternoon with Steven Matz facing off against Julio Teheran. The Mets will also celebrate the 1969 World Champion team with a special on field ceremony before the game.
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Win Probability Added
Big winners: Tomas Nido, +11.4% WPA, Dominic Smith, +11.2% WPA
Big losers: Jeff McNeil, -23.5% WPA, Robert Gsellman, -19.7% WPA, Amed Rosario, -16.2% WPA, Jacob deGrom, -12.0% WPA, Michael Conforto, -11.2% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -28.8% WPA
Total batter WPA: -21.2% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Dominic Smith singles to put runners at the corners with no one out in the seventh inning, +16.1% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Robert Gsellman gives up a bases clearing double to Johan Camargo in the eighth inning, -18.3% WPA