Ronald Acuna’s first career triple opened the game, and by the third inning, a light crowd serenaded Citi Field with impassioned boos.
It was the fourth straight win for the Braves, three coming against a National League East cellar-dweller. After two wins against the Marlins, the Braves came out firing in a 4-2 win Thursday.
They’ve won 10 of 13 matchups against the Mets this season.
The Braves had a lead after two at-bats: Ozzie Albies singled Acuna home. Brandon Nimmo led off the Mets’ first with a solo homer to tie it, but the stalemate was short-lived.
The Braves struck for three in the third, the biggest damage via Johan Camargo’s two-RBI double, which proved the difference.
“Just seems like every time you turn around, he’s getting a big hit,” manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s quietly putting together a pretty solid year.”
Acuna had another masterful day in the leadoff spot. He had two hits, a walk and a stolen base. Since taking over hitting No. 1 after the All-Star break, he’s rejuvenated the weakest spot in the lineup.
The 20-year-old has hit .366 in pole position, adding 10 runs scored and four homers across 11 games. He hit only .244 hitting in four other spots in the lineup (second, fifth, sixth and seventh).
Albies had a pair of hits himself, and the All-Star’s bat continued its recent work. He’d hit .357 since June 17 entering the night, and Albies’ sneaky power and speed has made him among the most exciting players in baseball at 21 years old.
As for Camargo, the third of the Braves’ tight-knit trio, he’s taken off with regular third-base duties. He leads the team with 33 RBIs since June 1, and has hit .267 since assuming the starting role May 17.
The latter number doesn’t do his performance justice. Entering Thursday, Camargo hit .295 with runners in scoring position. His seven game-winning RBIs are second-most on the team behind NL MVP favorite Freddie Freeman.
“Our mentality is to put good bats together no matter how many outs there are,” Camargo said through an interpreter. “Obviously you try to take advantage of opportunities.”
The Acuna, Albies and Camargo grouping is why the Braves might be ticketed for the postseason. Considering their ages, the Braves have plenty to be excited about.
New York had a chance in the sixth. Wilmer Flores doubled, putting two in scoring position with one out for Todd Frazier. But the Braves challenged the tag at second base on Flores and got a rare favorable result.
Flores was out, and Frazier popped up to Albies. Mike Foltynewicz escaped the inning with a 4-2 lead. The crowd filled the stadium with boos for the second time – the 24,525 expressed earlier displeasure with catcher Kevin Plawecki when he dropped a routine popup.
The Braves’ All-Star starter didn’t have his best day, but he never let it get out of hand. He only gave up one run after Nimmo’s leadoff shot, settling in to throw six innings before passing the baton to Jesse Biddle in the seventh.
Foltynewciz was lifted at 89 pitches. He’s allowed two or fewer earned runs in 16 of 21 starts, but owned an ERA north of seven in four appearances (three starts) against the Mets.
“It’s fun to do well against these guys knowing how I’ve done in the past,” Foltynewicz said. “I just kept battling after that (leadoff homer). They got their hits and scored their runs but I’m just happy to get out of some of the jams there.”
Thursday marked the debut of a new Braves lineup featuring slugger Adam Duvall in left field. Acuna moved over the center, with Ender Inciarte on the bench. Inciarte entered as a defensive sub in the eighth, with Acuna sliding over to left.
The offense had little trouble with lefty Jason Vargas. They scored four runs on six hits off him in five innings before the Mets bullpen took over. The Braves didn’t have a baserunner after the fourth.
Duvall went 0-for-3 with a walk and run scored in his Braves debut. The team acquired him from Cincinnati on Monday for a trio of players, then declared he’d start against left-handed pitchers.
The Braves and Mets will meet three more times this weekend. Anibal Sanchez opposes Mets ace and NL ERA leader Jacob deGrom on Friday.