NEW YORK – On Aug. 7 of last year, the Braves packed up a somber clubhouse and walked out, one by one, after losing three of four to the Mets at Citi Field. Atlanta fell 6.5 games behind first-place New York.

On Sunday, in the same ballpark, the Braves lost 7-6 – but still maintain a 22.5-game lead over the fourth-place Mets.

Five observations:

1. The Braves’ trip began with three games in Chicago, where Atlanta’s rotation issues began in a series loss. Their travels continued to Pittsburgh, where the Braves only experienced more poor starts as they split the four-game set.

Outside of the clubhouse, some fans panicked.

Inside the clubhouse, the Braves did not. This was hardly a slump. They were still scoring. They were still in every game.

“I think, typically, the outside looking in is gonna be looking more through a microscope on a day-by-day basis, where inside the clubhouse you have the ability to flush a bad day and look at the big picture,” Matt Olson said. “As the whole year has gone on, we’ve played pretty good baseball so far. …You’re going to run into some good teams and some tough ballgames, so hopefully we’re on the winning side more than the losing side.”

The Braves went 6-5 on their three-city trip that included 11 games in 10 days, a stretch that ended with Atlanta taking three of four in New York.

“It was good,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of the road trip. “The way we started out, we had a long stretch of not-long starts, and we ended up with a winning road trip. Tough three-city (trip), 11 games in 10 days, and we ended up 6-5, which is really good (with) the way we started.”

2. Through four innings, Yonny Chirinos had put together a nice outing. He simply wanted to finish strong.

He could not.

In a six-run fifth inning that swung the game, Chirinos was charged with five runs.

He allowed two singles to begin the frame. Then he got a grounder that scored one run. He then gave up another single.

Eventually, he walked consecutive batters – his only two walks of the game. A run scored on the second of them.

His night was over.

In that inning, he didn’t give up any extra-base hits and wasn’t hit hard, but the Mets did build momentum.

“I feel good but I also don’t feel good,” Chirinos said through interpreter Franco García. “I was having some results but at the same time, things happen for unknown reasons and you can’t really identify it. And I’d say part of the reason that I’m not happy is the team put their trust in me and chose me to go out there and give them the best chance to win, and obviously knowing the result tonight, that’s where it’s frustrating.”

3. Collin McHugh hadn’t pitched since Wednesday in Pittsburgh. In Snitker’s eyes, that made him the obvious choice as the next man up after Chirinos.

With the bases loaded, McHugh walked in a run.

Then came a strange play: On a cutter inside, DJ Stewart dropped his bat. It connected with catcher Sean Murphy’s glove, so the home-plate umpire called catcher’s interference, which let in another run.

“It was a borderline pitch, so I was trying to keep my glove there, and he just kind of dropped his bat in my glove,” Murphy said. “I take full responsibility. It’s a bad mistake.”

The Braves challenged the call, but it wasn’t overturned.

McHugh later allowed a two-run single that gave the Mets a four-run lead.

4. The Braves had two injury scares.

In one inning, Murphy was blooded by a backswing. He had a cut on his head, and head athletic trainer George Poulis had to come out to wipe the blood.

Murphy said his PitchCom device – which sits below the helmet – probably gave him the cut. He didn’t need stitches. He doesn’t have a concussion.

“It hurt a little bit at the time, but I’m good,” Murphy said.

Late in the game, Ozzie Albies left due to cramping in his left hamstring. The Braves removed him as a precaution, and Snitker said they simply didn’t want to take a chance.

5. As they often do, the Braves still had a chance to win.

In the eighth inning, Olson blasted a 455-foot, two-run home run that soared through the New York night. It cut the deficit to a run, but the Braves couldn’t complete the comeback.

Olson’s 43 homers are two more than anyone else.

Stat to know

6, 20 - Murphy’s homer gave the Braves six players with at least 20 homers. That tied a franchise record, also done by the 2003 and 1965 teams. The 2019 Twins hold the record with eight players who hit 20 or more homers.


“It was a good trip. It wasn’t an easy one. It was a long road trip with a lot of travel. The boys are happy to go home tonight and sleep in their own beds. We finished it strong. We would’ve liked to get that last one, but onto the next.”-Murphy

Up next

On Monday, the Braves begin a three-game series versus the Yankees at Truist Park. Max Fried will face righty Clark Schmidt in the opener, which starts at 7:20 p.m.

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