It was a back-and-forth affair featuring an eighth inning rally that saw a bullpen surrender five runs, turning the tide of the game—only this time, it was not the Mets bullpen taking on water. The team rallied from a 5-3 deficit in that eighth inning, earning a desperately needed victory. The win snapped a brutal seven-game losing streak, avoiding a sweep at the hands of the first place Braves.
The teams exchanged single runs in the first inning, as Ronald Acuna, Jr. led off with a single, promptly stole second base, then came around to score on a Josh Donaldson double. The Mets answered right back, as newly-minted All-Star Jeff McNeil led off with a single, advanced to second on an errant pick-off attempt, then came around to score on a J.D. Davis RBI single.
Acuna struck again in the top of the third, this time with a majestic 437-foot blast to right-center to give the Braves a 2-1 lead. Again the Mets would respond immediately, this time bunching together a walk, three singles and a sacrifice fly to jump back in front 3-2 after three.
Noah Syndergaard—making his first start since being activated from the IL—and the bullpen were unable to hold the lead. Syndergaard got in trouble in the sixth, walking the first two batters in the inning. He almost worked out of it, but a Johan Camargo bloop single plated the tying run. After walking Tyler Flowers to load the bases, Syndergaard yielded to Chris Flexen, who induced a ground out from pinch-hitter Matt Joyce to keep the game tied.
Flexen unfortunately got in trouble quickly in the seventh, as three straight Atlanta hits—culminating with a two-run Freddie Freeman—gave the Braves a 5-3 lead. After the Mets went relatively quietly in the seventh, it seemed as if the week’s narrative of losing games in which they once held a lead would painfully continue.
However, Todd Frazier led off the eighth with a home run to cut the lead to 5-4. This was immediately followed by a Robinson Cano hit by pitch and an Amed Rosario single, putting two on with none out.
Tomas Nido’s sacrifice attempt failed miserably, with the Braves getting the force out a third, and Wilson Ramos flew out to right. With the Mets one out away from squandering their chance, the Braves summoned A.J. Minter. Michael Conforto worked a walk off of the lefty, bringing McNeil to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded. The All Star’s third hit of the game plated two runs, giving the Mets a 6-5 lead. His fellow first-time All Star Pete Alonso promptly followed with a two-run double down the left field line, giving a beleaguered bullpen a bit more breathing room.
Edwin Diaz game in for the ninth and pitched a very welcome perfect inning, securing the save and helping the Mets end an acutely painful seven-game losing streak and salvaging the end of a long week and what was originally designed to be a celebratory weekend.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Jeff McNeil, +63.2%, Todd Frazier +30.1, J.D. Davis, +11.5%
Big losers: Chris Flexen, -27.4%, Tomas Nido, -22.8, Noah Syndergaard, -20.1%
Total pitcher WPA: -36.2%
Total batter WPA: +86.2%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jeff McNeil’s two-run single in the eighth inning, +54.5%
Teh sux0rest play: Dansby Swanson’s double in the seventh inning -18.2%