Mets jump on Braves, Kyle Wright in opener of crucial series

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Kyle Wright waits as New York Mets' Tyler Naquin runs the bases after hitting a home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

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Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Kyle Wright waits as New York Mets' Tyler Naquin runs the bases after hitting a home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

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NEW YORK – The Mets’ lineup, bolstered at the deadline, pounced on Kyle Wright as the Braves lost, 6-4, on Thursday at Citi Field.

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Here are five observations on Atlanta (63-43):

1. Wright took the mound in front of a raucous Citi Field crowd, one supporting a team off to one of its best starts in franchise history. From the first pitch, it was loud here.

And it stayed loud.

The Mets launched four home runs off Wright. Tyler Naquin hit two of them – one in the second inning, the other in the sixth – and Pete Alonso and Daniel Vogelbach blasted back-to-back homers in the third.

The counts in which Wright gave up the homers bothered him more than the execution of the actual pitches. Naquin hit his first homer on a 2-1 pitch and Vogelbach went yard on a 2-1 pitch. Naquin’s second homer came on a full-count pitch.

“I fell behind in the count a lot, I think, and that’s where I got hurt the most,” Wright said. “I feel like I was constantly pitching from behind, and you can’t do that to good hitters. I feel like they did a good job of getting their pitch and not missing it.”

Wright had allowed three home runs in an outing – it occurred once in 2020 – but never four. He’s the first Braves pitcher to serve up four blasts since Drew Smyly gave up four at Dodger Stadium last August.

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New York Mets' Daniel Vogelbach watches his home run during the third inning of the team's baseball game against the Atlanta Braves on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

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New York Mets' Daniel Vogelbach watches his home run during the third inning of the team's baseball game against the Atlanta Braves on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Credit: AP

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New York Mets' Daniel Vogelbach watches his home run during the third inning of the team's baseball game against the Atlanta Braves on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

2. In the third inning, Wright got two quick outs, then had two strikes on Francisco Lindor. But he hurled consecutive balls to walk Lindor, which extended the inning.

New York made him pay when Alonso and Vogelbach went back to back. The first of those was a two-run shot. And the pitch to Vogelbach, a 94-mph sinker, was right down the middle. The Mets had all the momentum.

“That’s where I feel like I kind of beat myself and they beat me at the same time,” Wright said. “I feel like I definitely could’ve limited damage there by not issuing a walk or whatever it may be. It was a little bit of both. They did a really nice job and I didn’t do a great job either.”

Wright held the Mets scoreless for two innings before Naquin homered in the sixth. A sign that it wasn’t Wright’s night: The pitch to Naquin – the one that left the yard – was so low that it might have hit the dirt if it were any lower.

To Wright’s credit, he finished six innings, which helped preserve the Braves’ bullpen before the final four games of the series.

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Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr. celebrates as he runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run during the fifth inning of the team's baseball game against the New York Mets on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

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Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr. celebrates as he runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run during the fifth inning of the team's baseball game against the New York Mets on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Credit: AP

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Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr. celebrates as he runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run during the fifth inning of the team's baseball game against the New York Mets on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

3. With the Braves down four runs, Ronald Acuña pulverized a 425-foot, two-run home run that landed in the Home Run Apple beyond the center-field wall. Acuña, who hadn’t homered since July 8, snapped the second-longest homer drought of his career with his first home run in 18 games.

The important question here: Will this get him going?

“I sure hope so,” manager Brian Snitker said. “That was big. It had kind of been a while.

“You never know what’s going to turn a guy around, and I’d been feeling good about him that whole homestand. I just saw glimpses. It was like, ‘Man, he’s just right on the verge, right on the verge,’ and hopefully something like this does get him going.”

Acuña said his knee doesn’t always feel the same when he swings the bat. Some days, he has confidence in it. Other days, he doesn’t.

Despite his struggles, he still believes in himself.

“I’ve never lost confidence in myself and I’ve always considered myself a very patient baseball player,” Acuña said through interpreter Franco García. “I believe in myself, I’m going to go out there and play hard and have fun, and whatever happens, happens.”

4. Seeing the Braves’ top hitters due up, Mets manager Buck Showalter went to star closer Edwin Diaz in the eighth inning.

Diaz set down Dansby Swanson, Matt Olson and Austin Riley in order. Then he earned the save with a scoreless ninth.

5. The Braves had struggled against Carlos Carrasco – that is, until rookie Michael Harris hit a run-scoring single in the fifth inning. It snapped Carrasco’s scoreless streak of 22 2/3 innings.

And in the seventh inning, Harris hit another RBI single, this time off reliever Adam Ottavino.

Both of those hits came with two outs, and both helped the Braves stay in the game. Harris’ 32 RBIs are tied for the lead among NL rookies.

Mets 6, Braves 4

Stat to know

3-5 - The Braves are 3-5 against the Mets this season and trail New York by 4 1/2 games in the standings.

Quotable

“It’s a good lineup. Holy cow. One of those teams now that can get the matchup they want pretty much any time they want. It’s a strong lineup. It’s a good team – really good club.”-Snitker on the Mets

Up next

Braves right-hander Ian Anderson will face Mets right-hander Taijuan Walker in the second game of the series, which begins at 7:10 p.m. on Friday.