ATLANTA – It’s hard to leave anything above the plate and get away with it against the Braves.
Jacob deGrom learned that lesson the hard way Friday night.
The Mets ace showed his dominant form but when he made a mistake, the Braves were there to capitalize. Austin Riley, Matt Olson and Dansby Swanson each threw solo homers against deGrom as the Mets dropped Game 1 of their crucial series against the Braves, 5-2, in front of 42,402 fans at Truist Park.
The loss put the Mets back in a tie atop the National League East with the Braves. The Mets hold a 9-8 lead in the season series and only need a win in the teams’ next two games to grab what could be a big tiebreaker.
The Mets had taken a 1-0 lead early in the second inning on an RBI single from Luis Guillorme, but the Braves quickly bounced back. Riley threw a slider hanging over the wall into center field and Olson homered back-to-back ripping a fastball down the middle into the right-center field seats.
In both cases, deGrom fell behind in the count. In each case, the Braves made him pay.
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DeGrom got a little help from Francisco Lindor late in the third. After Orlando Arcia hit a first single and moved on to second, Michael Harris II fielded a sharp ground ball on the mound with two out. Lindor gloved it behind second base and caught Arcia trying to round third for a late-inning recap.
The Mets ace settled in, collecting five straight outs and seven straight outs between the fourth and sixth innings before Swanson ripped his 23rd homer of the season left.
Hard blow for Jacob deGrom
After making a strong comeback after a four-month stint in IL with a right shoulder stress reaction, Jacob deGrom struggled in September.
He was coming off his worst start since 2019 last time out when he allowed five earned runs on six hits and four walks in four innings in a loss to the Pirates.
The swings and failures continued, but the opposition could find cracks in deGrom’s four starts. He’s now given up three or more earned runs in each of his last four starts as his ERA dropped from 1.66 to 3.08.
In those four starts, deGrom still had 39 strikeouts or 9.75 per start.
Tylor Megill puree
With the Mets trailing by two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, Buck Showalter brought on Tylor Megill to try to hold their deficit there.
Megill, making his fifth relief appearance since returning from a right shoulder injury, dug himself into a hole he could climb out of.
He gave up a single to Olson followed by a double from Travis d’Arnaud to open the inning. After the Braves’ fourth point crossed on a sacrifice fly, Orlando Arcia put them up 5-1 with a brace into left center field space.
Megill allowed two earned runs on three hits in the ⅔ inning before Trevor May finished the frame with a strikeout from Ronald Acuna Jr.
Megill, who made nine starts earlier in the season, was supposed to audition for a playoff bullpen role, but it didn’t go to plan. In his five relief appearances this month, Megill has allowed four earned runs on five hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
Francisco Alvarez has a difficult start
In his first major league game of his career, Francisco Alvarez took the biggest spot in the game.
With the bases loaded, one in the top of the ninth and the Truist Park crowd standing, Alvarez waved through a Kenley Jansen cutter as his bat flew. He ended up finishing the night 0-for-4 despite some hard contact.
The Mets’ top prospect, who was called up with Darin Ruf placed on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained neck, also offered a big opportunity for the No. 7 spot in the roster with two runners and no outs. . the top of the second.
But on the first pitch of his major league career, Alvarez roped a sharp ground ball straight to Riley at third base to restart a Braves double play.
On his second swing in the top of the fifth inning, Alvarez fanned a fastball from Max Fried as his bat sailed into the net behind home plate. On the seventh pitch of his at-bat, Alvarez hit a ground ball with the tip of his bat at first base.
With Eduardo Escobar at second base in the top of the seventh, Alvarez hit a fly ball deep to center field, but it was found by Harris.