ATLANTA (AP)Ozzie Albies was eager to claim his first five-hit game. He made it a good one – his second homer of the night.
Albies drove in seven runs with five hits, including two home runs, and the Atlanta Braves battered the New York Mets 20-2 on Wednesday night for a strong finish to a disappointing month.
The Braves (38-41) were 13-15 in June. They trail the first-place Mets (41-35) by 4 1/2 games in the NL East after enjoying a rare offensive highlight with 20 hits.
Albies’ big opportunity came in the eighth with Mets outfielder Albert Almora serving mop-up duty on the mound.
”When they put him I just said `Let me go in and try to get another knock,”’ Albies said. ”I’ve never had a five-hit game.”
Mets left-hander David Peterson exited due to right side soreness in the fourth inning, leaving his status for his next start unknown. Manager Luis Rojas said Peterson, who complained of ”sharp pain” in his side, was being tested and results were not yet available.
”We’re waiting on the results on the severity of this and we’ll have our contingency plan,” Rojas said.
Peterson (2-6) allowed six runs and eight hits, each matching his career high.
The Braves led 14-2 when Almora entered the game in the eighth with the bases loaded. Almora walked Ender Inciarte and hit Pablo Sandoval with a pitch to force in runs.
Almora then gave up a three-run homer to Albies, who set career highs for hits, RBIs and by scoring four runs.
”It’s special,” Albies said. ”It’s great for us. A night like this can turn the whole team around, so it’s special for the team.”
Albies had three singles before hitting a two-run homer off Thomas Szapucki in the fifth.
Austin Riley drove in three runs on three hits, including a two-run single in the third to give Atlanta a 4-2 lead. Freddie Freeman had three hits and scored four runs.
Braves left-hander Max Fried (5-4) recovered after giving up a two-run homer to Pete Alonso. Fried came off the 10-day injured list to make his return from a blister on his left index finger and allowed two runs and three hits in five innings.
Ronald Acuna Jr. led off the Braves first by hitting a sinker from Peterson 447 feet into the left-field seats for his 22nd homer. Ehire Adrianza added a pinch-hit homer for Atlanta in the seventh.
New York’s Kevin Pillar led off the game with a double over left fielder Abraham Almonte, who appeared to turn the wrong way and couldn’t make the catch. Fried recovered with two strikeouts before Alonso’s two-run homer landed about halfway up the left-field stands.
Acuna extended his franchise record with his 23rd career leadoff homer, including four this season. Freeman singled and scored on Albies’ single to tie it.
The Braves sent 12 batters to the plate in the fourth, when they scored seven runs on six hits. Almonte doubled and scored on Kevan Smith’s single. Sean Reid-Foley replaced Peterson and gave up five runs while recording only one out. Guillermo Heredia’s double drove in two runs.
Mets: Rojas said RHP Jeurys Familia (right hip impingement) is expected to be activated from the 10-day injured list this weekend after throwing a perfect inning for Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday. … RHP Dellin Betances will have season-ending surgery on his right shoulder. He was placed on the 60-day IL on April 8 with a right shoulder impingement.
Braves: LHP Sean Newcomb was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett to clear a roster spot for Fried. Newcomb has a 5.82 ERA in 23 games with 19 walks in 21 2/3 innings and will be asked to work on his control. ”He’s got good stuff,” said manager Brian Snitker. ”He’s got a live arm. But you’ve got to get it over.”
This was the fourth time the Mets had allowed at least 20 runs in their history. They lost 26-7 at Philadelphia in 1985, 25-4 at Washington in 2018 and 23-5 at Washington in 2017.
Rojas said Almora approached him during the game to volunteer to pitch and save excessive wear on the bullpen.
”He said if there’s a need for an arm, I’ll pitch,” Rojas said. ”I told him that’s not what I want right now.”
Rojas said the plan changed after Szapuck tired in the eighth.
Szapucki, recalled from Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday, gave up six runs on seven hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings in his major league debut.
”Obviously not what I was looking for, but I was super happy I was able to give the team the innings it needed,” Szapucki said. ”Now our pen is fresh. I’m happy about that.”
Atlanta’s Ian Anderson (5-4, 3.42) will face New York’s Jacob deGrom (7-2, 0.69) in a matchup of right-handers in Thursday night’s final game of the series. Snitker chose to give LHP Drew Smyly extra rest. ”It gives Drew a little blow just because of the limited innings he had last year,” Snitker said.
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