The Braves were in control, seemingly moving toward what would’ve been an important win Tuesday. Instead, they blew a late three-run lead and lost to the Mets 4-3 in the series opener at Truist Park.
Here are five takeaways from Tuesday:
1. Braves starter Charlie Morton was rolling, carrying a two-hit shutout into the seventh. He surrendered a lead-off single to Dominic Smith and walked Kevin Pillar to conclude an eight-pitch at-bat in which Pillar himself thought he’d struck out earlier on a check swing.
Catcher James McCann then pummeled a low-middle pitch from Morton – a ball the pitcher said caught too much of the plate - erasing the Braves’ 3-0 lead and finishing Morton’s evening on a sour note. The Braves turned to A.J. Minter, who gave up a two-strike double to Jose Peraza, setting up Francisco Lindor’s two-out go-ahead RBI single.
“There’s not one pitch I would go back and redo or regret throwing,” Minter said. “The 0-2 double to Peraza, I threw a back-foot cutter and he put his bat out there and got a good part of the bat on it. Lindor, I got behind 1-0 and threw a change-up away and he stuck his bat out there and put it in play.”
Mets 4, Braves 3 (box score)
2. McCann’s homer snapped Morton’s scoreless streak at 20-2/3 innings. He was charged three runs over six innings, striking out seven and walking one.
“I thought I did a good job, it just didn’t end how I’d hoped,” Morton said. “I thought I threw the ball well. Just an unfortunate end.”
3. The Braves’ official radio partner, 680 The Fan, does a promotion that includes customers receiving $5 off at Express Oil Change and Tire Engineers when the team scores five or more runs in a game. The Braves haven’t gotten anybody in the Atlanta area discounted oil changes recently.
Tuesday was the 10th time in 11 games the Braves failed to score at least four runs. Since defeating the Cardinals 9-1 on June 18, the Braves have averaged 2.27 runs per game across their past 11 contests. They’re 9-for-61 with runners in scoring position over that stretch. Yet the pitching has been excellent over the same stretch, holding opponents to 3.18 runs per game, a number helped by four shutouts.
4. Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies snapped a scoreless tie with a three-run homer in the fifth. Mets starter Tylor Megill had allowed two hits across 4-2/3 innings before outfielder Ronald Acuna’s single. First baseman Freddie Freeman followed with his own hit, giving the Braves runners at the corners with two out.
Albies punished the first pitch he saw, an 84-mph change-up on the outer edge of the plate. It was Albies’ 41st extra-base hit, trailing only Nick Castellanos (43) in the National League.
5. The Braves haven’t caught many breaks this season. The latest example: Pinch-hitter Ehire Adrianza slammed an Edwin Diaz pitch towards the right foul pole in the ninth. It appeared it could be fair as it started landing, but the ball landed just foul.
The play was reviewed (though it was clearly foul) and upheld. Rather than tie the game, Adrianza flew out to left in the Braves’ quiet ninth.
“I couldn’t tell from my view where it landed,” manager Brian Snitker said. “But it was a few feet away from tying the game up. Big hit by Ozzie (earlier in the game). It was an exciting, good ballgame. We just had the one inning.”
Stat to know
33-8 (The Braves dropped to 33-8 when leading after six innings, tied for most in the NL and one behind Toronto for most in MLB. The Braves were 27-0 in such games last season.)
“We have not been playing good baseball, and we know that. Not to where we expect we should be.” – Minter
Braves lefty Max Fried (4-4, 4.21) will return from the 10-day injured list (blister) and start Wednesday against Mets southpaw David Peterson (2-5, 4.95).