ATLANTA (AP) — While it's too late to make much of a difference this season, the New York Mets are finally having a bit of fun.
DJ Stewart, Rafael Ortega and Francisco Lindor homered as the Mets won for the seventh time in nine games, beating the MLB-leading Braves 10-4 on Monday night despite two homers by Atlanta's Marcell Ozuna.
Going ahead to stay with a four-run fifth inning, the Mets bounced back from an embarrassing series at Citi Field just over a week ago.
Atlanta won the first three games of that meeting by a combined score of 34-3 before the Mets salvaged the finale 7-6.
This time, New York got off to a winning start in a three-game set at Truist Park, winning for the first time in Atlanta and just the third time in eight meetings against their NL East rival in 2023.
“The guys are getting comfortable with each other," Stewart said. “The clubhouse is upbeat. You're seeing the results on the field.”
After Ozuna's second homer of the night pushed the Braves to their first lead, 4-3 in the fourth, Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Daniel Vogelbach came through with consecutive RBI singles against Allan Winans (1-1).
After Brad Hand replaced Winans, Stewart dropped down a bunt on the safety squeeze to bring home Alonso.
Lindor put the game out of reach with his 23rd homer, a three-run drive off Hand in the sixth.
Manager Buck Showalter said he's pleased with “the intensity and competitiveness the guys continue to show," even though the Mets gave up on this season at the trade deadline. They still trail the Braves by 22 games.
David Peterson lasted 4 2/3 innings for the Mets, one out shy of qualifying for the win. That went to Phil Bickford (3-4), who struck out three in 1 1/3 innings.
Ozuna had the 17th multi-homer game of his career and third this season. He launched solo homers in the second and fourth innings, giving him 26 for the year.
Winans returned from the minors to make his third start of the season for the Braves — and second in a row against the Mets, the organization where he started his pro career.
This one didn't go nearly as well as the previous outing, when he threw seven scoreless innings for his first big league win.
Winans was charged with seven runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings, including a pair of homers in the third.
“I like to see that a guy who pitched well against us last time, we made some adjustments to him and did a little better job this time,” Showalter said.
Bickford and three other relievers combined to blank the high-scoring Braves on just two hits.
After Bickford’s stint, Sam Coonrod, Adam Ottavino and Drew Smith each worked a scoreless frame.
“The bullpen did an outstanding job behind me,” Peterson said.
Ozuna became the fifth Atlanta hitter to reach 25 homers, a franchise record for a single season.
He joined Matt Olson (43), Austin Riley (29), Ozzie Albies (28) and Ronald Acuña Jr. (28).
Sean Murphy (20) and Eddie Rosario (19) also have a realistic shot to reach 25 homers for the Braves.
Mets: OF Starling Marte got a second opinion on his right groin strain, which showed no major setbacks. “They did some things that we hope speed up the process,” Showalter said. ... IF Mark Vientos (left wrist tendinitis) could come off the IL by the weekend. The only question is whether he might do a short rehab stint in the minors. ... Showalter didn't sound as hopeful about INF Luis Guillorme, (right calf strain). “l don't want to say he's inching along,” the manager said. “He's moving along slowly but surely.”
Braves: RHP Yonny Chirinos was placed on the 15-day injured list, backdated to Sunday, with elbow inflammation. Chirinos has been largely ineffective since being acquired off waivers from Tampa Bay. The move cleared a spot for Winans on the 26-man roster. ... CF Michael Harris returned to the lineup after missing one game with a right foot contusion. He had a two-run double in the third.
RH Bryce Elder (9-4, 3.46) goes for the Braves in the second game of the series, trying to become the third Atlanta pitcher to reach double-figure wins. He'll be opposed by New York RH Tylor Megill (7-6, 5.53), who is 0-1 with a 6.55 ERA in two previous starts against the Braves this season.
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