Braves offense can’t capitalize on opportunities in loss to Mets

In his fifth MLB start, Ian Anderson’s first inning was shaky.

He minimized the damage, but the Braves' normally potent offense going quiet combined with one rough outing by reliever Shane Greene handed the Braves a 7-2 loss to the Mets Saturday night.

The Braves were 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

“Just to kind of figure out what it’s going to take up here, and obviously you’re not going to have it every night,” Anderson said of what he’s learned through his first few starts. “And to still try and find a way and battle and keep the team in the game, you learn a lot through those outings. And I’ve had five outings and they’ve all kind of been different, some good, some bad, so it’s like I said last week it’s definitely a learning experience every time you go out there and you learn something about the other team, you learn something about yourself.”

Anderson walked the first three batters he faced to load the bases. The Mets capitalized, with Robinson Cano’s RBI single putting the Braves down, 2-0, heading into the second inning, and an RBI double by Robinson Chirinos made it 3-0 in the fourth.

That wasn’t the start Anderson was looking for, but he simplified things and settled down after getting out of the first inning.

“There were a couple pitches that I decided to throw that maybe weren’t in the right situation or I put a little bit too much pressure on myself to execute them, but tried to simplify things,” Anderson said. “I think my stuff was pretty good, so just get back in the zone and try to get guys out.”

Anderson was pulled in the fifth inning, allowing three earned runs, walking four and striking out eight in 4 ⅔ innings.

“He got kind of on a roll there after the first inning,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He did a good job of just allowing the two runs, really, that he kind of got locked in and got on a little roll and he did a nice job after that. He kept the game manageable, I mean, even in the first inning.”

On a normal night, the Braves' offense could overtake a three-run deficit. It nearly did, making an appearance in the sixth inning courtesy of a solo homer by Adam Duvall — the home run was his 11th in September, which ties a Braves franchise record for the month set by Eddie Mathews in 1959.

Another solo shot by Travis d’Arnaud narrowed it to 3-2 in the eighth, before the Braves pulled reliever Will Smith in favor of Shane Greene, who gave up back-to-back home runs to Dominic Smith and Cano. All in all, Greene, who hadn’t allowed multiple runs in an outing since Sept. 11 of last year, or 30 games, surrendered four earned runs on five hits, recording one out before getting pulled. At that point, the Braves couldn’t make up the lost ground.

“He’s had an unbelievable, spectacular year,” Snitker said. “Unfortunately, you keep going out there, that might happen every now and then. I just think on a couple changeups, it looked like they just ran right back into the middle of the plate.”

In one of a handful of missed opportunities, Dansby Swanson, who entered the game with one hit in his last 30 at-bats (which amounts to seven games), doubled in the seventh inning. Tyler Flowers and Ronald Acuna drew walks, loading the bases, but Freddie Freeman grounded into a double play, concluding the inning. Freeman had hit safely in 30 of his last 31 games, batting .419 (49-for-117) over that stretch, but went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts in Saturday’s loss.

“Seventh inning, Freddie hits a bullet there to end that inning," Snitker said. "I mean, that ball’s up a little bit, it clears the bases. He put a good swing on it, unfortunately, it was right at him. But we had a couple other opportunities that we just couldn’t get a productive out. But it’s kind of what we are. We came back. I had a good feeling after Travis' homer, that we get a homer right there, we’re down one with three outs left, we’ve still got a pretty good chance.”

Snitker also gave credit to Mets starter David Peterson, who tallied a career-high 10 strikeouts. Peterson gave up one earned run and four walks in six innings pitched.

Kyle Wright (1-4, 7.20 ERA), coming off his first career win, will start as the Braves face the Mets at 1:10 p.m. Sunday in New York.