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Braves jump out to early lead, hold on for 9-6 victory over the Mets

Melts squander early opportunities and rally late, only to fall short in second game of pivotal series.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at New York Mets Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

After retiring Ronald Acuna Jr. on a pop-out to start the game, Taijuan Walker ran into all sorts of struggles—first physically, seeming to cramp or possibly hurt himself on a botched pitch to Matt Olson—before struggling with results, as the Braves struck for four runs, with the big blow a one-handed Eddie Rosario home run.

Brandon Nimmo led off the bottom of the first with a double. With two outs, Pete Alonso made a bid to cut the lead in half with a laser the other way, but Acuna made a jumping catch at the wall, possibly robbing Alonso of a two-run home run.

Walker somewhat surprisingly came out for the top of the second, and the results were even worse, as he faced four batters and retired none before Trevor Williams relieved him. Williams allowed the two inherited runners to score. At 8-0 after an inning and a half, the game seemed near over.

However, the Mets continued to battle against Braves starter Ian Anderson, while Williams and the rest of the bullpen kept the Braves at bay. Anderson lost the strike zone in the bottom of the second, and with the bases loaded and two out, Nimmo ripped a single to center to score Tomas Nido. Unfortunately, Joey Cora got greedy and sent Luis Guillorme as well. Michael Harris II was up to the task, gunning down Guillorme with the final out on the bases in an 8-1 game.

The Mets would strand two in the third before rallying in the bottom of the fifth. With two on and two out, Jeff McNeil delivered and RBI single to plate Francisco Lindor. Darin Ruf then pinch hit and made his Citi Field debut almost as memorable as Tyler Naquin’s, doubling off the right field wall to cut the deficit to 8-4. When Eduardo Escobar followed with a pinch hit RBI single, another dramatic 2022 Mets comeback almost seemed within grasp. However, Nido would fly out to end the threat.

The Mets would get two on with two out in the sixth to once again bring the potential tying run to the plate, but A.J. Minter would strike out pinch hitter Mark Canha to end the Mets final threat. Minter, newly-acquired Raisel Iglesias and Kenley Jansen combined to shut down the Mets late, with William Contreras and Jeff McNeil exchanging homers in the ninth to complete the final score, as the Braves even up this huge series with the Mets.

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Win Probability Added

What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Eduardo Escobar, +4.4 WPA
Big Mets loser: Taijuan Walker, -43.4% WPA
Mets pitchers: -39.9% WPA
Mets hitters: -10.1% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Tomas Nido double leading off the bottom of the eighth, +5.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Eddie Rosario three-run home run in the top of the first, -20.1% WPA