Braves end regular season by blanking Mets

The Atlanta Braves can now focus on the playoffs. The New York Mets and manager Luis Rojas face an uncertain future.

Austin Riley drove in two runs with two hits and the Braves looked postseason ready in a 5-0 win over Noah Syndergaard and the Mets in Sunday’s final regular season game for both teams.

The Mets (77-85) were held to three hits. They suffered one final letdown in their disappointing season as they failed to win the season series against the Braves.

After leading the NL East for most of the first half of the season and as late as Aug. 5, the Mets finished 11 1/2 games behind Atlanta, third in the division.

“We were playing pretty well at one point of the season and it fell apart ... and you feel responsible as a manager,” Rojas said. “Managers get paid to win games, and we lost more than we won this year.”

Rojas said he felt responsible “for a lot of what happened this year.” He said he didn’t know when he would discuss his future with team president Sandy Alderson, who already has said he intends to hire a president of baseball operations.

“Whenever that happens, it will happen,” Rojas said. “We should find out soon. We’ll see, but I have no idea.”

Syndergaard (0-1) allowed two runs, including a leadoff homer to Jorge Soler, in his one scheduled inning. It was his second start after returning from Tommy John surgery. He said he proved he is healthy.

“Now it’s just get back to the old Noah,” Syndergaard said. “I think anyone who knows me knows no one is going to outwork me.”

New York Mets catcher Patrick Mazeika waits for the ball as Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies scores behind him in the first inning Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, at Truist Parl in Atlanta. (Ben Margot/AP)

Credit: Ben Margot

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Credit: Ben Margot

The Braves already had clinched their fourth consecutive NL East title before winning two of three in the weekend to take the season series 10-9. Manager Brian Snitker used his normal lineup.

Braves right-hander Charlie Morton allowed one hit in 2 2/3 scoreless innings. Morton is scheduled to start in Friday’s opener of the NL Division Series at Milwaukee.

Morton said the short start was designed to keep him in his routine. “Just so there wasn’t that much of a layoff,” he said.

Soler lined the homer to left on Syndergaard’s second pitch. With one out, Ozzie Albies doubled and scored on Riley’s single. Riley was thrown out attempting to advance to second on a review after being called safe at second on the field.

Albies is the third Braves hitter with at least 40 doubles, 20 homers and 100 RBIs (106), joining Hank Aaron (1959) and Chipper Jones (1999).

Syndergaard pitched one scoreless inning against Miami on Tuesday.

Trevor Williams allowed three runs in five innings for the Mets. Riley hit an RBI double off Williams in Atlanta’s three-run third.

Spencer Strider (1-0) threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings in his second appearance after rising through four levels of the Braves’ minor leagues this season.