The Mets, as they have so often this season, bent, but they didn’t break. One day after losing two more players to injuries—with Kevin Pillar hitting the IL, that gave them 13 players on the injured list—the team was hurting, missing so many of its key contributors. Pillar graced the team with his presence before and during the game, showing his battle scars but not letting the injury get him down. With Pillar there, the team rallied together and put up another statement win, this time defeating the Atlanta Braves 4-3 at Truist Park.
Following a short outing by Taijuan Walker, who left Monday night’s game with left side tightness after just three innings, the Mets went with a bullpen game, needing almost every available, rested arm to piece together their victory. The club opened things up with Miguel Castro, who pitched a perfect first inning on just 11 pitches. Rather than keeping Castro in for one more inning, Luis Rojas stuck to his game plan and turned to Tommy Hunter, who gave the team two stellar scoreless innings. To date, the right-hander has made four appearances for the Mets, each of which resulted in two scoreless innings of work.
Hunter had an impact with the bat as well, picking up his first career hit with one out in the third inning. In fact, with Sean Reid-Foley walking in yesterday’s game, and with Robert Gsellman walking later in this one, that gave the Mets three straight plate appearances by relief pitchers that ended with said pitcher getting on base. Two batters later, Jonathan Villar unloaded on a 1-1 pitch from left-handed Braves starter Tucker Davidson and sent the pitch into the left-field stands. His third home run of the season gave New York an early 2-0 lead.
Gsellman, who pitched a hitless fourth despite disagreeing with the home plate umpire on several calls, stayed in for the fifth and surrendered a leadoff home run to Austin Riley, which cut his team’s lead in half and ended their unlikely bid at a combined no-hitter. He was able to escape the rest of the inning unscathed, despite allowing a one-out double from Guillermo Heredia, and preserved the team’s one-run lead.
The Mets got the run back in the sixth against Davidson. Francisco Lindor, who had two hits in four at-bats in the win, led off with a double, and Dominic Smith hit an infield single to put runners on the corners with one out. In the latter play, Dansby Swanson fielded the ball and opted to try and get Lindor at third rather than throw over to get Smith at first. The next batter was Pete Alonso, who lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to drive home Lindor with the team’s third run.
The Braves inched closer in the bottom of the sixth against Trevor May, who has struggled in his last few outings after a string of terrific performances. Freddie Freeman led off the sixth by launching a home run deep to dead center field, bringing the Braves back to within a run. It was May’s fourth straight appearance in which he allowed an extra base hit. He struck out Marcell Ozuna on his slider, and then was bailed out when Khalil Lee made a terrific diving catch on an Ozzie Albies fly ball to right field. He struck out Swanson to end the inning without any further damage.
The Mets failed to score in the seventh or the eighth against Atlanta’s bullpen, and Aaron Loup pitched a scoreless seventh. Opting to try and prevent Pablo Sandoval from coming up as a pinch hitter to lead off the eighth, Rojas decided to stick with Loup, who gave up a leadoff double to pinch hitter Ehire Adrianza. On the play, Adrianza got in to second by swimming past Lindor’s tag attempt. Jeurys Familia was brought in and promptly walked Ronald Acuña Jr. to put two on with nobody out. Lindor then made a clutch defensive play to potentially save a run, fielding Freeman’s grounder, tagging Acuña Jr. between bases, and throwing out Freeman to record the double play. The team’s good fortunes were short-lived, however, as Ozuna blooped a broken bat single over Alonso’s head to drive in Adrianza and tie the game.
Atlanta entrusted closer Will Smith for the ninth, and he set down New York’s first two batters without breaking much of a sweat. That’s when Tomás Nido, who got the nod today after a three-hit game on Monday, strode to the plate and played hero, launching a solo home run into the left field stands to give the Mets a 4-3 lead. Edwin Díaz, who already pitched two days in a row, was called upon to close out the game, and did his job to remain perfect in save opportunities. In the outing, he struck out two batters and got Sandoval, who was now called upon against the right-hander, to fly out to end the game.
The replace-Mets will try to sweep a series in Atlanta—a rare sight if there ever was one—on Wednesday, with first pitch scheduled for 7:20pm EDT. David Peterson will get the start for the Mets, looking to build upon his tremendous outing against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night. He will be opposed by Atlanta right-hander Charlie Morton.
SB Nation GameThreads
*illar of the Game
Both (Jonathan Villar for his two-run home run, and Kevin Pillar for showing up one day after getting hit by a pitch, and for his quote about his heart being broken because his team is hurting. Get well soon, Kevin!)
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Tomás Nido, 34.3% WPA
Big Mets loser: Jeurys Familia, -9.9% WPA
Mets pitchers: 23.4% WPA
Mets hitters: 26.6% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Tomás Nido ninth inning home run, 41.1% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Marcell Ozuna eighth inning game-tying single, -27.4% WPA