Jeff McNeil hit an RBI double in the fifth inning, Seth Lugo escaped trouble in the sixth and the New York Mets recorded a 1-0 victory over the visiting Atlanta Braves on Monday night to gain a split of a doubleheader.
The Braves earned a 2-0 win in the opener as Kyle Muller pitched five effective innings while Joc Pederson and Orlando Arcia drove in the runs.
First-place New York won for the sixth time in nine games and moved back to five games in front of third-place Atlanta in the National League East.
The lone run Monday night was the Mets’ first tally since McNeil’s sixth-inning, pinch-hit, two-run double Sunday in a 5-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
McNeil gave New York the lead vs. Atlanta when he came up against Luke Jackson (1-2) and hit a two-out double over center fielder Guillermo Heredia’s head. The baseball bounced onto the warning track, allowing Brandon Nimmo to score standing up from first base. Nimmo had singled with one out.
After the Mets took the lead, Lugo entered and immediately encountered trouble when Pederson singled and Ozzie Albies walked to bring up for Freddie Freeman. The reigning NL MVP nearly hit a three-run homer, belting a 1-1 curveball to the warning track in left field. Kevin Pillar backpedaled to make the catch against the fence while Pederson moved to third
Three pitches later, Lugo got Austin Riley to bounce into an inning-ending double play.
Edwin Diaz capped the win by striking out the side in the seventh for his 22nd save in 26 chances. The Mets improved to 2-0-9 in their 11 doubleheaders this season.
With numerous starting pitchers — including ace Jacob deGrom — on the injured list, the Mets pieced it together with a bullpen game.
Aaron Loup opened and threw 11 pitches in the first. Jeurys Familia allowed two hits in the second, Anthony Banda threw two innings and Trevor May (3-2) pitched a perfect fifth ahead of Lugo’s escape act.
Atlanta’s Bryse Wilson allowed four hits in three-plus scoreless innings. He exited after allowing a double to J.D. Davis and a single to Michael Conforto that put runners at second and third in the fourth.
Jesse Chavez replaced Wilson and struck out Jonathan Villar. James McCann then hit a slow grounder to shortstop that resulted in a double play, with Freeman making a nice stretch at first base to end the inning.
–Field Level Media