After an incendiary series in Chicago, the first thing the Mets needed was a win. The second was a low key, low scoring affair. They got the second.
Rafael Montero pitched like a July 4th bottle rocket: spectacular, but in a short burst. He could only last four-and-two-thirds innings, allowing seven hits, walking three, striking out six and responsible for all three Atlanta runs. The first came in the second inning, when Nick Markakis led off with a base hit. He was forced at second when Gavin Cecchini short armed his throw to first on a double-play attempt on Dansby Swanson. Rio Ruiz hit a liner up the middle to send Swanson to third. David Freitas then sent a swinging bunt toward third — actually, catcher’s interference, but Atlanta declined the penalty — and Swanson scored easily. Cecchini redeemed himself almost immediately, however, leading off with a long double to left center. Montero bunted him to third and Jose Reyes knocked him home with a grounder to short. The Mets actually took a lead — a foreign concept, I know — in the top of the fourth. Asdrubal Cabrera hit a pop up double that Matt Kemp had trouble getting to in left center. Kevin Plawecki grounded out to the right side, moving Cabrera to third, from which he would score on Dominic Smith’s booming double to left that Kemp again had an issue tracking down. It would all come apart in the fifth, though.
Freitas led off with a long double to left. After pitcher Sean Newcomb struck out, Ender Inciarte roped a base hit to right to tie the game. He then stole second ahead of a walk to Ozzie Albies. With the always dangerous Freddie Freeman at the plate, Montero uncorked a wild pitch to move those runners up a base. Freeman was then given the intentional pass. Lane Adams — a defensive replacement for Kemp in the top of the inning — then lifted a sacrifice fly to left to give the Braves the lead. Montero left after an infield hit back to him by Markakis. Chasen Bradford came on to strike out Swanson and leave the bases loaded. After that, it was a battle of the bullpens and the Braves were able to keep the Mets off the board, despite multiple base runners in the sixth, eighth and ninth.
It’s Jacob deGrom vs. R. A. Dickey tomorrow night in game two.