Braves holds off Mets in ninth for victory

Credit: Daniel Varnado

Credit: Daniel Varnado

Joc Pederson hit a solo homer off Carlos Carrasco in the third inning, William Contreras went deep with a two-run shot off Carrasco in the fourth and the Braves defeated the New York Mets 6-5 on Saturday night at Truist Park.

Two nights after clinching their fourth consecutive division title, the Braves had three regulars in the lineup — first baseman Freddie Freeman, shortstop Dansby Swanson and left fielder Eddie Rosario. Manager Brian Snitker said the everyday lineup will be back for Sunday’s regular-season finale.

Braves 6, Mets 5 (box score)

The National League East-champion Braves have won seven of their past eight games. New York, which stranded the bases loaded in a two-run ninth inning, ended a two-game win streak and will try Sunday to win the season series with the Braves for the first time since 2017.

Pederson went deep into the Braves’ bullpen in right-center for his 18th homer of the year. Orlando Arcia followed with a double and scored on Freeman’s single to make the score 2-0. Contreras’ eighth homer sailed into the left-field seats to put the Braves up 4-0.

“I think we’re a great team, and I don’t think there’s much to worry about getting stale or not prepared,” Pederson said. “I think we’ve been preparing for this moment all year, and we’re ready for it.”

Rosario’s RBI single in the fifth made the score 5-0, and the Braves led 6-1 in the sixth on Arcia’s RBI single.

“We’re in a great spot,” Pederson said. “Hitting well, pitching well, bullpen’s throwing well, and that’s what you need. It’s going to be a fun run.”

Carrasco (1-5) had posted a 14.73 ERA in the first inning this season, but changed his fortune by facing four batters and striking out three in the initial frame. He got no help from his offense as New York mustered three base runners on an error and two walks in the first four innings.

Carrasco allowed five runs and seven hits with two walks and five strikeouts in five innings.

The Mets didn’t get a hit until Luis Guillorme snapped an 0-for-16 skid with a one-out single in the fifth. Michael Conforto singled with one out in the sixth and scored from first on Pete Alonso’s double to trim the lead to 5-1. Francisco Lindor tripled in the eighth for his 1,000th career hit and came home on Conforto’s 14th homer, a 418-foot shot to right off Dylan Lee, to make the score 6-3.

Kevin Pillar’s RBI triple and Brandon Nimmo’s RBI single pulled New York within 6-5 off Richard Rodriguez in the ninth.

Jesse Chavez started in a bullpen game for the Braves and tossed two perfect innings. Drew Smyly (11-4), who lost his spot in the rotation after losing at the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 30, pitched around two walks in the fourth and a single in the next inning.

A.J. Minter came on in the sixth and pitched the seventh. Jacob Webb recorded the final out to earn his first save in three chances, getting Jonathan Villar to ground out with the bases loaded.

“It’s been a pretty good formula when we’ve had to do these bullpen games,” Snitker said. “Jesse and Smyly — I thought they both threw the ball extremely well.”