Braves lose to Mets on close play at plate, again fail to reach .500

Five takeaways from the Braves’ 2-1 loss to the Mets in New York on Wednesday night:

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1. The Braves had four hits in the final two innings without scoring a run, enabling the Mets to preserve their one-run lead. In the eighth inning, the Braves had runners on second and third bases with one out, but Mets reliever Jeurys Familia struck out Austin Riley and got Dansby Swanson on a groundout. In the ninth, Abraham Almonte led off with a ground-rule double against Mets closer Edwin Diaz. Almonte attempted to score on a one-out single by Ehire Adrianza but was thrown out at the plate by right fielder Michael Conforto.

“I knew he hit the ball really hard, and they were playing shallow,” Almonte said. “I was trying to sneak my foot (in) before the tag, and my foot hit the ground maybe a little bit too hard and then just kicked up. Something I was not expecting.”

“Conforto made a great play,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He couldn’t have thrown that ball any better.”

2. The Braves, who had a 50-51 record entering the game, failed in their seventh consecutive attempt to reach .500. They have now completed 13 games since the All-Star break without winning – or losing – two in a row.

3. Max Fried pitched well for the Braves, allowing two runs on five hits across seven innings with nine strikeouts. But the two runs were enough to beat him.

“I felt a lot better tonight than my last start,” Fried said. “I felt it’s on the right track, but at the end of the day we needed one-run baseball and I was unable to do that.”

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

In the third inning, the Mets collected four hits and a walk against Fried but mustered only one run from all of that. In the seventh inning, with the game tied 1-1, former Braves prospect Brandon Drury hit a two-out pinch-hit home run off a Fried curveball to give the Mets the 2-1 lead that held up. It was Drury’s fourth homer of the season, his third against the Braves. The Braves traded him to Arizona in 2013 as one of five players in a deal for Justin Upton and Chris Johnson.

“I felt like I made a good pitch (to Drury), maybe the wrong sequence,” Fried said.

4. Riley’s 20th home run of the season – and third in two nights – tied the game 1-1 in the sixth inning. The 418-foot shot to center field was Riley’s seventh homer in 66 career at-bats at the Mets’ Citi Field.

5. The Braves have split the first four games of the series against the NL East-leading Mets, who again are five games ahead of Atlanta in the division. The fifth and final game of the series will be played at 12:10 p.m. Thursday.

“We’ll come out and try to win a series. That’s what we came in here to do,” Snitker said. He added: “This isn’t going to define our season, this series. We want to win this series, obviously. If we don’t, there’s still a lot of baseball to play that we can do a lot of really good things.”

Mets 2, Braves 1 (box score)

Quotable

“That was like a playoff game, really.” – Braves manager Brian Snitker

By the numbers

16-19: The Braves’ record in one-run games this season, compared to 62-34 in such games across the three previous seasons.

1-for-10: Braves hitters with runners in scoring position in Wednesday’s game

Next up

In Thursday’s series finale, left-hander Drew Smyly (7-3, 4.40 ERA) will start for the Braves and right-hander Taijuan Walker (7-4, 3.43) for the Mets.