Way to make it hurt, guys.
The Braves offense was nearly non-existent for much of this game, especially in run-scoring situations. The eruption that occurred on Tuesday quickly became a distant memory as Atlanta stranded runners, carrying their struggles and misfortunes all the way to the end. Those shortcomings resulted in a 2-1 loss for Atlanta, who continue to find ways to avoid reaching the .500 mark.
Max Fried was outstanding for Atlanta in this game. The left-hander worked seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits while striking out nine. The month of July had been unkind to Fried, but he finished with a solid outing that gave his team every opportunity to win the game in a crucial matchup for Atlanta.
The third inning saw the Mets score one run after mounting a two-out rally against Fried, beginning with a single by New York starter Tylor Megill. The Mets would eventually load the bases, setting the table for Jeff McNeil, who singled to left field to give New York a 1-0 lead.
Meanwhile, the Braves offense was busy doing absolutely nothing for five innings. They had opportunities early against Megill, but were unable to capitalize and remained scoreless until the sixth. Austin Riley, who terrorized the Mets with two homers and six RBIs on Tuesday, once again announced his presence emphatically with a solo homer to dead center. This tied the score and chased Megill from the game.
Giving Fried some much-needed support was great, but only tallying one run left the Braves vulnerable against a Mets lineup with plenty of home run power. Fried kept that power at bay until the seventh inning, when pinch-hitter Brandon Drury crushed a two-out solo homer to left field to give New York a 2-1 lead. Despite his brilliance for so much of the game, this seemed like a potential spot for Brian Snitker to call on his bullpen. Drury has been a terror for left-handed pitching and even though the Mets could have taken down Drury in favor of Dominic Smith to face a right-handed reliever, it would have likely been a better option given that Smith has very pronounced reverse splits (.669 OPS vs. RHP).
The Braves had all the makings of a comeback in the eighth inning, as Joc Pederson and Ozzie Albies each singled to open the frame. Freddie Freeman followed with a first-pitch comebacker that was bobbled, but recovered in time to retire Freeman at first. It did move runners to second and third, but those runners were stranded as Austin Riley struck out and Dansby Swanson grounded out to shortstop.
The ninth inning brought more frustration for the Atlanta offense, as Abraham Almonte led off with a ground rule double to right-center. With one out, pinch-hitter Ehire Adrianza lined a single to right field, but Mets right fielder Michael Conforto threw an absolute laser to the plate to cut down the tying run in Almonte. The next batter was Pablo Sandoval, who gave New York a scare but was retired on a line out to left-center.
The Braves are five games back, which is exactly where they began the series. Two steps forward, two steps back has been the story all season for Atlanta.