NEW YORK – The Braves spent almost two weeks hearing about how they have struggled offensively, about how they were not hitting home runs, about how they do not look the same.

And in one inning, they did their best – with their incredible power – to dispel those notions.

The Braves’ three-homer third inning propelled them to a 4-2 win over the Mets on Friday at Citi Field. Atlanta is 23-12.

Five observations:

1. It might’ve been the Braves-iest moment of the season. It perfectly captured this offense’s ability to break an opponent’s spirit.

With two outs in the third inning, Ronald Acuña Jr. stepped up to the plate to face Mets starter Jose Quintana.

Acuña pulverized a baseball, sending it 461 feet to straightaway center.

The next batter, Ozzie Albies, homered.

The next batter, Austin Riley walked.

The next batter, Matt Olson, homered.

Homer. Homer. Walk. Homer. Quintana could’ve limited this to one two-out solo shot, but instead walked off the mound to boos from the home crowd.

“I was happy, I was happy,” Acuña said through interpreter Franco García of him and his teammates hitting three homers in four batters. “Especially just knowing that obviously as hitters, we’ve had our tough times. But it’s a long season, and our moments are going to come.”

It was scoreless. Then the Braves led, 4-0. In a matter of minutes. It was that quick.

Innings like this are a product of what manager Brian Snitker preached when his guys struggled: They were still working hard, he said. They were doing everything they could to succeed.

“That’s how that product happens, is these guys never get off the pedal,” Snitker said. “They’re constantly working, they’re constantly trying to figure things out. It’s never ‘Woe is me,’ it’s always, ‘I’m gonna figure it out and get better.’”

2. Let’s give you some context on all of this.

Olson: This was his first home run since April 7. He went 26 games without one. This was the only 26-game homerless run of his career, and he’s been a full-time big leaguer since 2018.

Acuña and Albies: In the season’s first 33 games, the Braves never hit back-to-back homers. After Acuña and Albies did it on Friday, the Braves have gone back to back in consecutive games.

The Braves: Before Friday, they had no homers in 12 of their 34 games. The Braves’ season high in home runs is four, done twice. They’ve launched at least three home runs in a game five times.

Acuña: His 461-foot homer is tied for the fourth-longest homer in the majors this season. It’s only his third homer, but he said it’s been a while since he’s felt that good. He said balls are barely avoiding his barrel. “Honestly, that’s the part that kind of frustrates me a little bit, knowing that I’m just missing by a little bit,” he said. “But I’m confident that obviously as we keep putting the work in, that things are going to get better as the days go on.”

Perhaps one swing could help Olson and Acuña get hot.

“Well, it can,” Snitker said. “You square that one up like that and feel good, and it’s amazing what that’ll do for a hitter. Just that one swing and the one outcome can be huge for a guy.”

3. Braves starter Charlie Morton reached a major milestone: He eclipsed 2,000 career innings. This is remarkable.

Of course, the humble Morton first downplayed it. Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer – guys from his generation – have pitched many more innings.

But no. We won’t let Morton sell himself short. He deserves his kudos.

What is he most proud of in his career?

“I don’t know,” Morton said. “I think going through multiple surgeries in a short span of time – probably four or five surgeries in four or five years – I think things like that, where I was kind of patting myself on the back a little bit like, ‘You’re grinding it out.’ But then I think, looking back, I just think I was blessed. I think I was lucky. I think a lot of things went my way, even when I perceived them as not (going my way) at times.

“And now I’m 20-something years into it and, shoot, I can still throw the ball hard, I can still spin it, and not many guys can at this age. So, I think that’s just luck. A lot of it is just luck. Being able to stay relatively healthy and being given time and some grace to figure some things out. I probably prepared, I probably did mostly the things right that I needed to do, but really, so many things had to go my way.”

After debuting in 2008, Morton didn’t burst onto the scene. He struggled. And from then to now, he has sustained different injuries. It took him a long time to solidify himself in the majors.

Almost 16 years after he debuted in the majors, Morton, now 40, is still going. He’s an example of how a pitcher can reach new heights by reinventing himself.

After seven one-run innings – his only blemish a seventh-inning solo homer by Francisco Lindor – Morton has a 3.14 ERA.

Atlanta Braves' Charlie Morton pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets, Friday, May 10, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Credit: AP

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Credit: AP

4. In the visiting clubhouse after Friday’s game, a baseball in a small case sat in Raisel Iglesias’ locker. It commemorates his 200th career save, which he recorded in this victory.

“I just feel very satisfied,” Iglesias said through García. “It was definitely a goal that I had set out for myself previously, and I’m just happy that I was able to accomplish it. And even more so, I just feel really happy that I was able to accomplish it on my wife’s birthday. I was able to permit myself to give her that gift.”

Iglesias is the fifth active pitcher – joining Kenley Jansen, Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman and Edwin Diaz – in the 200-save club.

5. Entering Friday, the Braves’ 2.89 ERA in their last 23 games, dating to April 12, was the third-best mark in baseball, behind Seattle (2.54) and the Dodgers (2.67).

The Braves’ ERA in their last 24 games, after Friday’s win: 2.86.

Since April 20 versus Texas, the Braves’ pitching staff has limited opponents to two or fewer runs nine times in 17 games.

We have talked a lot about the offense’s struggles, but the Braves’ pitching has been excellent. The arms are giving this club a chance to win on most days.

Stat to know

3 - The Braves hadn’t smashed three home runs in an inning since June 27, 2023, versus the Twins. They had three in the first inning of that game. The Braves are the third team to blast three homers in one inning this season.

Quotable

“There’s no need to put any pressure on ourselves or start getting in our own heads. We’re confident in ourselves, we know it’s gonna keep coming. It’s gonna be a long season, so just keep going with it.” - Acuña on where the Braves are at

Up next

On Saturday, the Braves’ Max Fried will face right-hander Christian Scott. The game begins at 4:10 p.m.