Braves meet Mets for night two of crucial series

Atlanta Braves catcher William Contreras (24) bats against the New York Mets a baseball game...
Atlanta Braves catcher William Contreras (24) bats against the New York Mets a baseball game Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)(John Bazemore | AP)
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 6:08 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - William Contreras and Eddie Rosario hit back-to-back homers off Carlos Carrasco in the second inning, Ronald Acuña Jr. doubled three times and drove in three runs, and the Atlanta Braves routed the New York Mets 13-1 Monday night for their seventh straight win.

The second-place Braves moved within 4 1/2 games of New York for the NL East lead and put a brief halt to a hot streak in which the Mets had won 17 out of 20.

“Tomorrow we’re going to come with the same energy and take that one as well,” Ronald Acuña Jr. said through a translator.

New York had allowed two runs or fewer in eight straight games to tie a franchise record set in 1969. Contreras’ homer ended the Mets’ streak of 19 consecutive scoreless innings.

The Braves, who improved to 48-19 since June 1, sent 12 batters to the plate and blew the game open with an eight-run sixth on Michael Harris II’s single, Acuña’s double, Dansby Swanson’s two-run single, Matt Olson’s single and Travis d’Arnaud’s three-run homer.

Atlanta took a 3-0 lead in the second. After Contreras connected for the 16th time and Rosario went deep for the fourth, the Braves tacked on another run with two outs when Mark Canha lost track of a flyball by Acuña that went over the left fielder’s head and allowed Harris to score from first. Acuña was credited with a double.

Braves manager Brian Snitker has been pleased to see Acuña returning to form after the three-time All-Star had a late start to the season recovering from ACL surgery. Acuña, who’s hitting .377 in 14 games this month, has been particularly tough against the Mets, batting .370 against them this season with seven doubles, a homer, eight RBIs and five runs.

“We’ve been seeing it coming the last couple of weeks,” Snitker said. “He’s been getting better, better and better. You can see him getting his feet on the ground here now.”

Braves starter Spencer Strider retired 10 of the last 12 batters he faced, the only blemishes a two-out walk to Starling Marte in the third and a leadoff double by Jeff McNeil in the fifth. McNeil advanced to third on the play when Acuña made an errant throw from right-center and scored on a groundout to make it 5-1.

The rookie was coming off the shortest start of his career, a 6-4 loss at New York on Aug. 7. The right-hander struck out four and gave up three hits and one run in five innings.

“It’s been eight days and we kind of had to restructure the rotation down in Miami,” Strider said. “So I was eager to get out and pitch again. I was definitely a little rusty, and the rain delay didn’t help, but I was able to go back out there and kind of eat some innings for the ‘pen.”

The Braves called up pitching prospect Freddy Tarnok after the game. Tarnok, a 23-year-old right-hander, is rated as one of Atlanta’s top prospects. He started the season at Double-A Mississippi, where he was 2-2 with a 4.31 ERA in 15 starts. He is 1-0 with a 2.03 ERA in five starts since being promoted to Gwinnett. He gives the Braves a fresh arm with the team in the midst of playing 14 games in 13 days.

“You just knew that coming in here, it’s gonna be a rough week,” said Snitker. “Just gotta take it a day at a time, do whatever you can to win today. Because this is one of those streaks, you look ahead or whatever, you drive yourself nuts.” The Braves will play the Mets again Aug. 17 and 18 before welcoming the Houston Astros for a three-game set this weekend.