Freeman, Acuna stay hot, Toussaint good in relief for Braves
ATLANTA (AP) — Touki Toussaint was glad to skip his scheduled start at Triple-A Gwinnett.
He made the 30-minute drive over to SunTrust Park and saved the big league club’s bullpen from getting overworked in the Atlanta Braves’ 11-7 win over the New York Mets on Saturday night.
“I told him when he came in, ‘Great job,’ but that would be an understatement,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “I mean that was just awesome. That was so big right now for where we’re at. That was really impressive.”
Freddie Freeman hit a go-ahead RBI single in the second inning, Ronald Acuña Jr. had his fifth straight multihit game and the Braves snapped the Mets’ three-game winning streak.
Dansby Swanson drove in three runs, while Acuña, Nick Markakis and Johan Camargo each added two RBIs. Josh Donaldson went 2 for 3 and hit his first homer with the Braves in the seventh.
Toussaint (1-0), recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett earlier in the day, earned the win with six strong innings of relief. He allowed four hits, one unearned run and two walks with seven strikeouts.
“I think I had like eight or nine pitches in the ’pen and they were like, ‘You’re in the game,’” Toussaint said. “I was like, ‘All right.’”
Acuña, last season’s NL Rookie of the Year, is hitting .579 with seven runs scored, three homers and eight RBIs during his last five games. Freeman began the day leading the NL in on-base percentage and has reached safely in Atlanta’s first 14 games.
The Braves went up 8-4 in the second off reliever Corey Oswalt (0-1) on RBIs by Freeman, Acuña, Markakis and Swanson. Markakis’ first homer of the season made it 9-4 in the fourth.
New York tied it at 4 in the second as Braves starter Sean Newcomb loaded the bases. Juan Lagares followed with a two-run double, Oswalt had a sacrifice fly, and Jeff McNeil drove in two with a single. Toussaint took Newcomb’s place after the left-hander allowed five hits, four runs and two walks in 1 1/3 innings.
Snitker blamed tentativeness on Newcomb’s poor outing.
“I mean, he works hard and all, but he’s got to figure out some way because his stuff’s too good,” Snitker said. “He’s got weapons. He just has to figure it out. It’s our job to keep working with him and running him out there until he figures it out.”
Mets starter Jason Vargas was worse, lasting just six batters and 36 pitches. He gave up Acuña’s RBI single and was chased on Swanson’s bases-loaded walk. Vargas allowed two hits, four runs and three walks in one-third of an inning.
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t really out there long enough to evaluate what was wrong or what wasn’t,” Vargas said.
He later added he was confused.
“Just the way the inning played out, I didn’t really feel like I was struggling in the fact that I was out of sorts,” he said. “There was some balls hit on the ground, and that’s really it, so, yeah.”
New York manager Mickey Callaway wasn’t far behind Vargas, getting ejected by the end of the first. Oswalt allowed six hits and five runs in 3 2/3 innings.
Mets: 2B Robinson Cano got a scheduled day off. McNeil took his spot in the field and went 2 for 5 with one RBI. Keon Broxton replaced Brandon Nimmo and went 1 for 4. Nimmo delivered a pinch-hit RBI bloop single in the ninth.
Braves: C Brian McCann said he will not need to make a rehab appearance before he comes off the injured list next week. McCann felt good after catching a bullpen session and hitting in the cage the day before. He plans to do some running Sunday.
Mets announcer Ron Darling said during the TV broadcast that he will have surgery next week to remove a “large mass in my chest” and hopes to return to the broadcast booth in May. Darling, 58, said a series of tests revealed the mass. He didn’t provide further details on the diagnosis.
Braves RHP Kyle Wright was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett one day after struggling in his third career start. The No. 5 overall draft pick in 2017 is 0-2 with a 7.07 ERA and 15 hits, 11 runs and four homers allowed in 14 innings. Toussaint took Wright’s spot.
Swanson is the quickest Brave to 18 RBIs since Andruw Jones reached the mark in the same number of games, 14, in 2006.
The Mets set a club record by scoring at least six runs in seven straight games. They had done it five times previously, the last in 2007.
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (2-1, 3.18 ERA) is coming off a rare rough outing, but the NL Cy Young Award winner is 6-5 with a 1.70 ERA in 17 career starts against Atlanta.
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (1-1, 6.00 ERA) will make his 25th career start and is 9-7 with a 2.39 ERA against the Mets.