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Late rally falls short as Mets fall to Braves for third-straight loss

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Braves get to Lugo for five runs in seventh after Matz gets quick hook from Mickey Callaway.

MLB: New York Mets at Atlanta Braves Adam C. Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Steven Matz had a rough start to the second inning, allowing a single to Josh Donaldson followed by a walk to Adam Duvall to start the inning. With one out, Ender Inciarte slashed a double down the left field line to get the Braves on the board first, and put runners on second and third with one out. Matz escaped trouble by getting Tyler Flowers to fly to shallow right and Dallas Keuchel to ground out to hold the Braves to one run.

That one run loomed large early, as Keuchel and Matz locked into a pitcher’s duel. The Atlanta lefty allowed baserunners in every inning but the second, but got in and out of trouble by inducing ground balls, including a huge double play from Wilson Ramos with two on and none out in the top of the sixth. Meanwhile, Matz didn’t allow another baserunner after Inciarte’s double, retiring 14 in a row—on 79 pitches—as the game remained 1-0 through the sixth.

The seventh is when things began to get wild. The Braves went to their bullpen to start the frame, and with two outs and none on, Matz came to the plate—which seemed understandable given his excellent pitching and low pitch count to that point. Matz promptly dropped a broken bat single into right. This was followed by an Amed Rosario single—Rosario taking second on the throw to third—and a J.D. Davis bloop single to center to give the Mets a 2-1 lead.

As the Mets took the lead, Mickey Callaway quickly had Seth Lugo get up in the bullpen, and surprisingly yanked Matz to bring in the Mets’ best reliever—also double-switching the red-hot J.D. Davis out of the game—to start the bottom of the seventh. The move promptly backfired, as Lugo allowed five runs on five hits and a walk over one-third of an inning—the one out recorded on a force out on a ball trapped by Michael Conforto in right field. Luis Avilan came on and allowed one inherited runner to score, but got a double play from Freddie Freeman to end the carnage with the Braves up 6-2.

The score remained there into the ninth. Ruben Tejada—in a rough return to the Mets—grounded out to start the frame. However, the next four batters strung together hits—Luis Guillorme from Davis’s spot in the lineup—to cut the lead to 6-4.

Pete Alonso then hit what looked to be a game ending double play, but Johan Camargo bobbled the throw at second. The Mets seemed to catch a huge break when the initial call of a force out was overturned, as Camargo didn’t have possession of the ball when he finally touched the base. With the bases loaded and one out the team seemed to have a golden opportunity for more late inning magic, but Wilson Ramos struck out against Mark Melancon, and Jerry Blevins came on to strike out Michael Conforto to end the game.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: J.D. Davis, +32.1%, Steven Matz, +20.0% (+17.0 pitching, +3.0 batting), Amed Rosario, +14.9%

Big losers: Seth Lugo, -59.3%% WPA, Wilson Ramos, -27.4%, Michael Conforto, -21.5% WPA, Todd Frazier, -13.7%, Ruben Tejada, -10.1%

Total pitcher WPA: -43.5% WPA

Total batter WPA: -6.5% WPA

Teh aw3s0mest play: J.D. Davis’s two-run single in the top of the seventh, +34.1% WPA

Teh sux0rest play: Wilson Ramos double play ground out in the top of the sixth -17.0% WPA