The series finale between the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves had an exciting start and finish. Atlanta found a way to get to Jacob deGrom in the first inning, and Freddie Freeman found a way to spoil the Mets’ ninth-inning comeback with a walk-off single. The gutsy ninth inning gave the Braves a 4-3 win and a much-needed series win.
Retired the last 18 batters in a row and collected 14 punchouts on the night.
de🐐 is still de🐐. pic.twitter.com/SgYwHBYEoE
— New York Mets (@Mets) July 2, 2021
The Braves never hit the ball out of the infield off Seth Lugo, but it was enough to scratch out a run. Guillermo Heredia ended up at second after a Lugo throwing error started the inning. Lugo tried to make a hero play as he fell to the ground to field a swinging bunt and flung it into the camera well. Pablo Sandoval moved him over with a ground out, an intentional walk to Ronald Acuna Jr., and Ender Inciarte’s walk after being down 0-2 set the table for Freeman.
He had struck out in every at-bat in the game and made sure it did not happen again. Freeman banked a first-pitch curve off Lugo’s ankle and beat Luis Guillorme‘s throw to first to get the win. Guillorme might have had a play at third base for a force but assumed Acuna Jr. would hustle on the biggest play of the game.
Getting Started Early
It is rare for a starting pitcher to strike out 14 batters and have his worst start of the season. deGrom showed us how it is possible in his dominant outing. The Braves did all of their scoring in the first inning, and it was plenty to survive against the worst scoring offense in baseball.
deGrom had gone 34 consecutive starts without allowing a run in the first inning, but the Braves had other plans. Ehire Adrianza led off with a triple, and NL RBI leader Ozzie Albies drove him in with a single. Austin Riley followed with a two-run home run which was the first first-inning home run against deGrom in almost two years. After the rough first inning, he settled in for another dominant start.
deGrom pitched seven innings, allowing three runs, striking out 14, and retiring 18 straight batters at one point. He also flirted with history again by striking out eight straight Braves. Due to his usual dominance, this was deGrom’s worst of the season but was plenty good enough to deserve a victory.
Ian Anderson was the anti-deGrom, needing just two strikeouts in his seven innings of work, and held the Mets to two runs. Pete Alonso gave the Mets an early lead with an RBI single, then Dominic Smith did the rest of the work with two home runs. His second came off Will Smith in the ninth inning to tie the game. James McCann had two hits on the night, but as usual, the Mets offense took a night off.
Luckily the loss does not hurt the Mets division lead with the Washington Nationals losing. On Friday, they begin the Subway Series in the Bronx with the New York Yankees. Taijuan Walker will start against Jordan Montgomery for the 7:05 start from Yankee Stadium.