Braves score 21 in opener, sweep doubleheader of Mets
NEW YORK (AP) — Matt Olson homered twice, Ozzie Albies had a home run and six RBIs, and the Atlanta Braves pounded the New York Mets 21-3 on Saturday in the opening game of a doubleheader.
Atlanta connected six times in its fourth win in five games, running its major league-leading total to 224 homers. Olson had his seventh multi-homer game of the season and No. 20 for his career. Sean Murphy, Austin Riley and Nicky Lopez also homered for the NL East leaders.
“It’s pretty easy to go do your job when the team puts up 21 for you,” said rookie Allan Winans, who recorded his first big league win with seven scoreless innings.
Lopez, making his first start since he was acquired in a trade with Kansas City on July 30, finished with four hits and five RBIs. He also pitched a scoreless ninth inning after his three-run homer off fellow position player Danny Mendick capped an eight-run top half of the frame.
“I asked him if he’s ever pitched and he’s like ‘Yeah, I’ve got a knuckleball,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “That was awesome, too, that he could go out there and do that, so we didn’t have to warm up anybody behind him or anything like that. Very impressive first outing for him.”
The homer was the first for Lopez since Sept. 9, 2021, while the mound appearance was his second as a big leaguer and first since Aug. 13, 2022.
“They hit back-to-back home runs off me,” said Lopez, who surrendered solo shots by Joey Gallo and Cody Bellinger. “Glad this one went a little bit smoother.”
Lopez is the third position player this season to homer and toss a scoreless inning of relief on the mound.
“I was wearing red wrist tape the whole (top of the ninth) inning and then I took the wrist tape off because I was going to pitch,” Lopez said. “So I might not wear wrist tape anymore.”
Winans (1-0), who was drafted by the Mets in 2018 before the Braves selected him in the minor league portion of the 2021 Rule 5 draft, struck out nine.
“I think any time you get called to the big leagues, it’s pretty special and it’s pretty cool,” said Winans, who said he is friends with current homegrown Mets such as Francisco Álvarez, Tylor Megill, Mark Vientos and Josh Walker. “But getting drafted by those guys, it definitely made me dream about Citi Field. So getting to come here and do it against those guys made it a little bit more special.”
New York loaded the bases in the first via two walks and a hit batter before Winans escaped the jam by striking Abraham Almonte.
The Mets avoided being shut out for the second straight game and 13th time this season when Daniel Vogelbach hit a three-run homer in the eighth.
“It’s hard, but they’re trying,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “Fortunately we’ve got a game to take away that feeling here before too long. That’s the way I look at it.”
All-Star right-hander Spencer Strider is scheduled to oppose Mets left-hander José Quintana in the second game.
New York’s Denyi Reyes (0-2) allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings in the opener.
Winans served as the Braves’ 27th man for the doubleheader. The Mets recalled right-hander Reed Garrett from Triple-A Syracuse as their 27th man.
The Mets made a slew of moves before and after the opening game. With Reyes on the active 26-man roster, New York designated right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis for assignment early Saturday afternoon. Yacabonis pitched 3 2/3 innings in relief in Friday’s 7-0 loss to Atlanta.
Following the game, the Mets optioned Reyes to Triple-A Syracuse, recalled right-hander Tyson Miller from the same affiliate, reinstated outfielder Tim Locastro from the 60-day injured list and designated for assignment Almonte.
SUMMER OF 72
Winans and Reyes each wear No. 72, making Saturday’s opener the first 72 vs. 72 starting pitching duel in big league history.
Braves: LHP Dylan Lee (shoulder inflammation) could use most of his 30-day rehab window ramping up for multi-inning outings. He has tossed a scoreless inning in each of his first three appearances for Triple-A Gwinnett.
Mets: SS Francisco Lindor (right side) and CF Brandon Nimmo (left quad strain) didn’t play the first game but are expected to play the nightcap, weather permitting. Showalter said Saturday morning the results of Lindor’s MRI were encouraging. Nimmo will likely play left field — a position he hasn’t manned since Apr. 25, 2021 — on Saturday night in hopes of lessening the wear and tear.
Braves RHP Yonny Chirinos (5-4, 4.83 ERA) opposes Mets RHP Kodai Senga (8-6, 3.24 ERA) in Sunday night’s series finale. Chirinos has an 8.56 ERA in three starts since being claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay on July 23. Senga, who last pitched Monday, has a 3.06 ERA when pitching on five or more days of rest.