ATLANTA (AP) — Freddie Freeman singled home the winning run with a low line drive that deflected off reliever Seth Lugo in the ninth inning, and the Atlanta Braves beat New York 4-3 on Thursday night after Mets ace Jacob deGrom racked up 14 strikeouts.
Dominic Smith homered twice for the Mets, including a tying solo shot off closer Will Smith in the top of the ninth.
Austin Riley hit a two-run homer as Atlanta scored three times in the first against deGrom, who recovered to throw seven innings and retire his final 18 batters.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Freeman shook off four earlier strikeouts by drilling the ball up the middle off Lugo's foot. It ricocheted to third baseman Luis Guillorme, whose throw to first was too late as the winning run scored.
It appeared Guillorme — if he had thought quickly in a hasty moment — might have been able to scoop up the ball, change direction and step on third in time for a forceout that would have ended the inning and kept the game tied. That's what Lugo was yelling at the third baseman to do, but Guillorme fired off balance to first on a tough play.
The ninth began with Guillermo Heredia reaching second on a throwing error by Lugo (1-1). He fielded the soft single in the grass and fell down as he made a wild throw to first. After Heredia advanced on a groundout and Lugo issued two walks, Freeman came through.
Smith had his first career multi-homer game came, hitting a solo shot off Braves starter Ian Anderson in the seventh to trim the lead to 3-2 and a drive off Will Smith (2-5) in the ninth that made it 3-all.
The Mets had won eight consecutive starts by deGrom, the major league leader with a 0.95 ERA, but the loss was their fourth in five games and 11th in 17 overall.
New York, in first place since May 8, has a two-game lead over Washington in the NL East. The three-time defending division champion Braves pulled within 3 1/2 games of the lead after taking two of three in the series.
DeGrom allowed three runs — the most he's given up this season — with no walks. The two-time Cy Young Award winner left for a pinch-hitter to begin the eighth. He gave up five hits to the first eight batters he faced and none after.
Anderson permitted three hits and two runs with two walks and two strikeouts.
New York led 1-0 in the first when Francisco Lindor walked, stole second and scored on Michael Conforto's single.
Atlanta tied it in the bottom half. Ehire Adrianza, filling in when Ronald Acuña Jr. was a late scratch, led off with a triple down the right-field line after fouling a ball off his right foot and scored on Ozzie Albies' single. It was the first earned run on the road that deGrom has allowed this season.
Riley followed with his 14th homer, the first time deGrom has been taken deep by a right-handed batter this year, to make it 3-1.
The Mets dropped to 8-29 when scoring three or fewer runs and 33-9 when scoring first this season.
Mets: Manager Luis Rojas said LHP David Peterson will miss his next scheduled start. Peterson was "very tight" after leaving Wednesday's start with right side soreness. ... RHP Carlos Carrasco, sidelined since March with a torn right hamstring, is throwing full side sessions, but Rojas said there was no immediate timetable for Carrasco to ramp up activities.
Braves: Acuña was taken out of the lineup less than 20 minutes before the first pitch. Acuña, the NL leader in runs scored, ranks second in stolen bases and third in homers. He singled as a pinch-hitter in the eighth.
DeGrom stands at 1,495 whiffs in his career. Only Yu Darvish reached 1,500 strikeouts faster, in 197 games, than deGrom, who was pitching in his 197th.
BAT COOLS OFF
DeGrom began the night hitting .414 in 29 at-bats this year, but he went 0 for 2 after entering with as many RBIs (six) as earned runs allowed this season.
Freeman was 0 for 4 and stranded five runners with four strikeouts before the ninth. Three of his 12 four-strikeout games have come against the Mets.
RHP Taijuan Walker (6-3, 2.38 ERA) will be on the hill opposite LHP Jordan Montgomery (3-2, 4.06) as the Mets open the Subway Series with a three-game set at Yankee Stadium on Friday night.
The Braves will start LHP Drew Smyly (5-3, 4.79) opposite RHP Zach Thompson (2-2, 1.50) as Atlanta and Miami begin a three-game series at Truist Park.
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