Nick Markakis and Austin Riley homered on consecutive pitches in the eighth inning Saturday night for the Atlanta Braves, who took advantage of the latest implosion by the New York Mets’ bullpen to post a 5-4 win.
The Braves have won the first two games of the three-game series against the Mets, who have dropped seven straight. New York has led in the sixth inning or later in five of those losses. Mets relievers have a 7.62 ERA this month, the worst mark in the majors.
The Mets looked like they might earn a stirring win on the day the 50th anniversary of the franchise’s 1969 World Series-winning team was honored.
The Braves raced out to a three-run lead on a two-run single in the first by Ozzie Albies and an RBI double in the third by Dansby Swanson, but New York chipped away with a solo homer by Dominic Smith in the third and RBI doubles by Jeff McNeil in the fourth and sixth to tie it at 3-3. McNeil scored the go-ahead run in the sixth on a two-out single by Robinson Cano.
Seth Lugo (3-2) survived a two-out double by Swanson in the seventh and struck out Josh Donaldson to open the eighth. But then Markakis, who entered after Albies was hit by a pitch in the sixth, homered to center. Riley followed with a monstrous shot into the second deck in left.
The comeback made a winner out of Sean Newcomb (2-0), who tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief. Luke Jackson earned his 13th save by wriggling out of a two-on, none-out jam in the ninth, leaving the tying and winning runs in scoring position.
Both starters had a short day during a game interrupted by a 70-minute rain delay following the second inning. Mets left-hander Steven Matz did not return and was charged with two runs on three hits and no walks while striking out three. Chris Mazza replaced Matz and allowed one run on five hits over four innings in his big league debut.
Julio Teheran allowed two runs on five hits and three walks while striking out four over 3 1/3 innings.
—Field Level Media