Braves complete sweep of Mets, inch closer to National League East title
The Braves now possess a two-game lead and the tiebreaker with three games to play
The Atlanta Braves defeated the New York Mets 5-3 on Sunday night (box score), completing a three-game sweep that included wins against Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer and extending their lead in the National League East to two games. Both the Braves and Mets have three contests remaining on their regular season schedule.
The Braves took a lead immediately in the bottom of the first, with Dansby Swanson hitting a home run for a third consecutive game. The Mets would answer back, and would hold a 3-1 lead of their own. Yet the Braves jumped back ahead on a sequence that saw Matt Olson walk with the bases loaded and Travis d'Arnaud drive in two with a subsequent single.
Olson would later extend the Braves' lead to 5-3 with a home run. As with the aforementioned Swanson, Olson homered in each game of the series. They were the first Braves to homer in every game of a Mets series since Andruw Jones in 2006:
They're also the first pair of Braves to hit a homer in each game of a three-game set since Eddie Matthews and Lee Maye in 1961:
The Braves' bullpen, for its part, threw four-plus scoreless innings in relief of Charlie Morton, who finished his night having surrendered three runs on nine hits in 4 ⅓ innings.
Here are three other things worth knowing about Sunday's game.
1. Major NL East implications
The Braves now hold a two-game lead in the division with three left to play. The sweep helps them in another sense, as it earned them the tiebreaker by virtue of winning the season series. Keep in mind, MLB did away with tiebreaker games this season in conjunction with installing the expanded postseason.
The Mets, then, can win the division only if they win it outright. They would need to win out and have the Braves lose out in order to pull that off. Otherwise, a single Braves win or Mets loss would clinch the division for Atlanta.
Oh, by the way, the Braves are also now in line to be the No. 2 seed in the NL. That means they'll earn a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The Mets, for their part, are in line to host a best-of-three Wild Card series.
2. D'arnaud continues to own Mets
Some players are extra motivated to play their old clubs. Braves backstop Travis d'Arnaud might be one of those. Since he was released by the Mets during the 2019 season, he's made a point out of torturing them at every turn.
Per MLB.com's Mark Bowman, d'Arnaud's bases-loaded single made him 25-for-75 with seven doubles, four home runs, and 20 runs batted in 22 contests against the Mets in the time since.
3. Where teams go from here
The Braves will head to Miami to play three games against the Marlins. The Mets, meanwhile, will welcome the Washington Nationals to town for three games. The Braves and Mets, like everyone else, will wrap up their regular seasons on Wednesday.
We're through the top of the eighth. The Braves will be three outs away from a two-game division lead and the tiebreaker.
We're through seven full innings. Braves continue to lead 5-3. They're six outs away from having their magic number drop to one.
Braves are now six outs from a sweep.
Braves lead 5-3 through six innings. Braves nine outs away from a sweep.
Matt Olson stays hot. A home run in the bottom of the sixth to give the Braves a 5-3 lead.
McHugh punches out Lindor to end the top of the sixth. Atlanta is nine outs away from a two-game lead in the East and the tiebreaker advantage.
Braves continue to lead 4-3 through the top of the fifth. This is a bullpen game on both sides now.
Morton with a 1-2-3 inning in the fourth. Braves up 4-3 heading into their half of the frame.
The Braves have regained the lead. Travis d'Arnaud drove in two with a bases-loaded single. Braves up 4-3 in the third with the Mets going to the bullpen.
Olson walks. It's 3-2 Mets.
Matt Olson, who has been hot lately, up with the bases loaded and a 3-1 count. Braves trail 3-1 in the third.