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Mets sunk by late run in loss to Braves as NL East lead shrinks

ATLANTA — This wasn’t the time for the Mets to end their impressive streak of series won or tied against division foes, but maybe they were just fortunate they weren’t swept. 

Whatever the case, the Braves seem determined to stick around. Thursday night the Mets squandered a chance for an acceptable series split, watching as two grounders turned into the run that buried them in a 3-2 loss to the Braves at Truist Park. 

After winning or tying their first 16 series against the NL East this season the Mets left town with three losses in four games against the defending World Series champions. The Mets lead the Braves by 3 ½ games in the NL East. The teams still have three games remaining against each other, beginning Sept. 30 in Atlanta. 

Jacob deGrom pitches on Thursday during the Mets' loss to the Braves.
Jacob deGrom pitches on Thursday during the Mets’ loss to the Braves.
Dansby Swanson, left, celebrates with Matt Olson after scoring in the third inning.
Dansby Swanson, left, celebrates with Matt Olson after scoring in the third inning.

Seth Lugo replaced Jacob deGrom with two outs in the seventh inning and allowed a ground-ball double to Michael Harris II that scored Vaughn Grissom with the go-ahead run. Grissom was running on the pitch and never stopped, beating first baseman Darin Ruf’s relay throw to the plate after Brandon Nimmo, playing deep in center field, retrieved the grounder through the hole. 

DeGrom retired 12 straight before allowing an infield single off rookie third baseman Brett Baty’s glove to the final batter he faced, Grissom in the seventh. The Mets ace established season highs with 6 ²/₃ innings and 95 pitches. Overall, he allowed three earned runs on five hits with nine strikeouts, raising his ERA to 2.31. 

The Braves connected with three solid hits against deGrom in the third inning to take a 2-0 lead. Dansby Swanson stroked a two-out RBI double before Austin Riley’s ensuing single brought in another run. Robbie Grossman’s single started the inning. 

Max Fried returned from the concussion list and allowed two earned runs on four hits with six strikeouts over seven innings. The left-hander had last pitched on Aug. 6, when he allowed four runs (two unearned) against the Mets at Citi Field. After that start he was diagnosed with a concussion that stemmed from hitting his head on the ground while trying to throw home. 

Dansby Swanson connects on an RBI double in the third inning.
Dansby Swanson connects on an RBI double in the third inning.

Mark Canha smacked a two-run homer in the fifth that tied it 2-2. The blast was Canha’s eighth of the season and the first allowed by Fried in his last 11 starts, spanning 69 ¹/₃ innings. Jeff McNeil singled leading off the inning before Canha cleared the left-field fence.

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