The New York Mets seemed to have the advantage with Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer on the mound, but the Atlanta Braves proved that power can beat pitching, even in the biggest series of the season.
One night after tagging deGrom for three home runs, the Atlanta Braves turned to the long ball against Scherzer as well, blasting a pair of homers to chase the three-time Cy Young Award winner in the bottom of the sixth as the Braves won for the second consecutive night against their NL East rivals, posting a 4-2 victory and claiming a one-game division lead.
That one-game lead is the largest the Braves have had all season, as the Mets have spent 175 days in first place this season (including off days).
Atlanta Braves power has been difference against New York Mets
Saturday marked the second straight night that both Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson launched homers against two of baseball’s top pitchers, erasing not only New York’s lead in the division, but also the tiebreaker the Mets held coming into Atlanta. New York and Atlanta are now 9-9 in their 18 games against each other this season, and Sunday’s game will not only be pivotal in the division race, but also will provide one of the teams the tie-breaking edge should the two finish the regular season in a dead heat.
Power has not only been the difference for the Braves in this series, but also for Atlanta over the last four months as they have officially overcome New York’s 10.5-game division lead on June 1.
New York aligned its rotation to have deGrom and Scherzer available for the first two games of the series in Atlanta. The Braves have, however, short-circuited those plans with their power, including Swanson’s fifth-inning shot that erased a 2-1 New York lead.
In the first two games of the series, Atlanta has 19 combined hits. Nine of those have gone for extra bases (five home runs, four doubles). New York, meanwhile, has 16 hits in the series, with only two going for extra bases (one double and one home run, with both of those coming on Friday night).
Atlanta will go for the sweep on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball with New York’s Chris Bassitt on the mound. The veteran right-hander has given up just three home runs in his last 11 starts (70.0 innings) dating back to July 29, and the Mets will need him to turn off Atlanta’s power supply if New York is to avoid a sweep in Atlanta.