NL East champion Braves rally past Mets 7-3 for 6th straight
NEW YORK (AP) — With the playoffs around the corner and the Atlanta Braves rolling along, the last thing the NL East champions need is an injury to their starting shortstop.
“Something in his wrist bothered him after a swing,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.
The slumping Swanson, drafted No. 1 overall by Arizona in 2015, lined out to center field in the second inning and was replaced at shortstop by Charlie Culberson. The team said Swanson was removed as a precaution.
“It was enough that he had to come out, so that’s a concern,” Snitker said.
Swanson was on the disabled list in May and missed 13 games with left wrist inflammation.
“I haven’t had a chance to get in the training room yet to see where he’s even at. Just hope it’s good,” Snitker said.
Atlanta was held scoreless by an ill Noah Syndergaard for six innings but then jumped all over the Mets’ bullpen to match its longest winning streak of the season set earlier this month.
Looking to earn the best playoff seed possible, the Braves moved 1½ games ahead of NL West-leading Los Angeles for home-field advantage in the best-of-five Division Series. The Dodgers lost 4-3 at Arizona.
“I think it’s important,” Snitker said. “That’s our next goal and we’re going out and playing to win every game that we can to try and get that.”
With five games remaining, Atlanta is two behind the Chicago Cubs for the top record in the National League.
Mets captain David Wright was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list before the game but did not play. Following a long road back from several serious injuries, he was on the active roster for the first time since June 3, 2016.
The 35-year-old Wright is scheduled to start at third base Saturday night against last-place Miami, a farewell game before he calls it a career. Fans in the small crowd chanted “We want David!” during the late innings, including when Mets third baseman Todd Frazier committed a costly error in the eighth.
Kurt Suzuki drove in two runs for the Braves, who trailed 3-0 before rallying against Robert Gsellman (6-3) in the seventh. Acuna’s two-run single off Drew Smith gave Atlanta a 4-3 lead.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if these guys aren’t getting fatigued a little bit, but they have to get through this September and keep on pitching so they know what to expect next year,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said.
Suzuki had an RBI double in the eighth, and Albies hit a two-run shot off Jerry Blevins for his 24th homer.
“I feel like we’re coming out and attacking every game,” Acuna said through a translator.
Dan Winkler (4-0) allowed a run in one inning for the win.
After the first pitch was delayed 32 minutes by rain, Michael Conforto hit an RBI double off the top of the center-field fence for the Mets in the third. Jay Bruce followed with a run-scoring single off rookie Touki Toussaint, who walked five over five innings in his fifth major league start.
Toussaint will be in the discussion for a spot on the postseason roster.
“He’s pitched well enough to be considered, absolutely,” Snitker said.
Tomas Nido had a sacrifice fly against Winkler.
Braves third baseman Johan Camargo apparently lost track of the outs in the sixth. With two down and runners at second and third, he fielded a grounder and fired home rather than to first base. Suzuki alertly tagged a sliding Austin Jackson for the final out of the inning, and Camargo sparked the offense with a leadoff double in the seventh.
Before the game, the Mets played a video tribute to former first baseman Lucas Duda. Now a bench bat for the Braves, the quiet Duda smiled and doffed his cap in the dugout.
Atlanta is 13-4 against the Mets this season, including 7-1 at Citi Field. ... Conforto leads the majors with 28 RBIs in September. The previous Mets player with that many in one month was Wright with 29 in June 2010. ... Atlanta (89-68) has won 12 of 16 to move 21 games over .500 for the first time since finishing 96-66 as NL East champs in 2013. ... Syndergaard is 0-2 in seven career starts against the Braves, the only NL opponent he’s never beaten. ... The Braves have the best road record in the NL at 46-30.
Braves: Acuna was hit near the left wrist by a 97 mph fastball from Tyler Bashlor in the eighth but stayed in the game.
Mets: Assistant general manager John Ricco said the club hopes to schedule injured slugger Yoenis Cespedes for surgery on his other heel during the third week of October. Following the first operation on one heel, Cespedes is still wearing a boot that Ricco thinks can come off in two to three weeks.
Mets ace Jacob deGrom (9-9) makes his final scheduled start of a sensational season Wednesday night versus Atlanta. The right-hander leads the majors with a 1.77 ERA and hopes to polish his resume for the NL Cy Young Award. Against the Braves this season, deGrom is 0-2 with a 1.09 ERA in five outings. He is 5-5 with a 1.83 ERA in 16 career starts against them. On the mound for Atlanta will be left-hander Sean Newcomb (12-9, 4.04), perhaps auditioning for his postseason role.