Braves defeat Mets in first of crucial three-game series, creating a tie at the top of NL East

The Atlanta Braves defeated the New York Mets 5-2 (box score) in the first of three games Friday night, establishing a tie at the top of the National League East. The Braves entered the contest a game in division behind the Mets. Whichever team wins gets a bye in the first round based on the second-best record in the NL.

The Braves fell behind early Friday with the Mets leading 1-0 in the second inning. However, Atlanta responded in their half of the frame when Austin Riley and Matt Olson hit back-to-back home runs to give the Braves a 2-1 advantage. It was the first time since June 2019 that deGrom gave up two consecutive homers. according to ESPN Stats & Info. (Coincidentally, that game was also against Atlanta.)

The Braves weren’t done teeing off at deGrom when Dansby Swanson hit a home run of his own in sixth place to put them 3-1 ahead. That would prove to be deGrom’s last frame, when he left with a blister after allowing three five-hit runs and no walks past six innings. He finished with 11 strikeouts in 86 pitches.

The Mets’ bullpen would cough up a few more runs afterwards, and a late home run by Tomás Nido wasn’t enough to stop the Braves from sealing the deal to cause a deadlock at the top of the NL East.

Here are four more things you should know about the Braves and Mets.

1. Fried leaves early in sickness

Against deGrom on Friday night was left-hander Max Fried, who is likely to win the Cy Young Award this winter. Fried shot well, keeping the Mets on their toes with four hits and batting three over the course of five innings. Unfortunately, he had to leave the game early after just 71 pitches after falling ill in the dugout.

2. Álvarez makes MLB debut

Before Friday’s game, the Mets called up one of, if not the best, prospect still in the minors, in the catcher Francisco Álvarez. The Mets put Álvarez in the lineup as their DH on Friday night, but he didn’t have a memorable debut. Instead, he went 0 for 4 and left seven runners on base, including three in the top of the ninth inning. Oh well. CBS Sports today reported on what he brings to the club and why he’s so respected in the industry.

3. Tiebreakers must not favor Braves

It’s worth remembering that Major League Baseball eliminated tiebreak games this season as part of the transition to an extended postseason. All ties are then broken through a series of measures. The first tiebreaker is the result of the relay series. Even with Friday night’s win, the Braves are on the wrong side of the ledger in that regard, as the Mets have won nine of the 17 contests. The Braves would have to sweep the series to own the tiebreaker.

4. Wright, Scherzer for matching

The two sides meet again on Saturday, with breakout right-hander Kyle Wright taking on ace Max Scherzer. Wright will compete in his first 29 appearances this season with a 3.18 ERA. For his part, Scherzer has a 2.13 ERA in 22 starts. The winner of this contest will have sole possession of first place in the division for the night. Braves defeat Mets in first of crucial three-game series, creating a tie at the top of NL East

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