The Braves brought their bats to life in a big and loud way tonight. Austin Riley in particular had a lovely evening at the plate as his two home runs (including a grand slam) helped push the Braves to a seven-game victory over the New York Mets.
In the course of tonight’s match, the Mets announced that they were going with Jerad Eickhoff as their starter for the evening. This is after Eickhoff was appointed to the task and then re-signed by the Mets twice in two weeks. Needless to say, expectations for Eickhoff were not very high, and the Braves proved early on that they would have little trouble figuring out the 31-year-old pitcher. Atlanta started the game by loading the bases without a hit or a foul (a hit-by-pitch and twice), and the Braves capitalized after Dansby Swanson hit a double to bring a couple of runs. That was all the Braves got in the first inning, but they were far from finished at the plate.
In fact, the Braves scored at least two runs in each of the first four innings of this game. In the second inning, Ozzie Albies hit a home run that just barely landed in fair territory, and this was after Jerad Eickhoff handed over a two-out walk to Ehire Adrianza to extend the inning. The Braves continued to do two-out damage in the third inning, as did Abraham Almonte hit a thing going the opposite way that just barely cleared the fence in the left field. Almonte’s fourth home run of the season made it 6-0 in favor of the Braves, but Atlanta was still not finished.
The Mets got a run back at the bottom of the fourth after Charlie Morton went a couple of batsmen and gave up an RBI single to Pete Alonso. New York’s speed of production was not enough to keep up with the Braves tonight, who continued their attack in the fourth inning. Charlie Morton led the fourth with a single, Ehire Adrianza followed it up with a double, and after Freddie Freeman deliberately went to load the bases, it was time for Austin Riley to make his presence felt in New York City.
The first pitch that Eickhoff threw to Riley was high and in the zone, and Riley sent the flying very long and very far away. The Grand Slam broke the game open for the Braves, and after a single from Dansby Swanson, Eickhoff’s night was over. He went back to the excavation and finished the game with a shiny line of 3.1 innings, seven hits allowed, five walks, four strikes and ten runs allowed. It was an extremely tough night for Eickhoff, but you will not see any of us Braves fans complain about it.
The Mets got into the home run craze at the bottom of the fifth when Jeff McNeil smashed one of Charlie Morton to put two more runs on the board for New York. It was still a shame compared to what the Braves had done until then, but the Mets refused to go quiet after having their doors blown during the first four innings. The fifth inning also ended up being the first frame of the game where the Braves did not score. Don’t worry, they weren’t done there.
Specifically, Austin Riley was not finished there. The big third baseman was apparently not content with just hitting a grand slam, and after Freddie Freeman led out of the sixth with a single, Riley followed it up by hitting another majestic home run shot in left field pitches. Like that, the Braves got the two runs back that they gave up during the fifth inning, and it was 12-3 in favor of Atlanta at the time.
Unfortunately, this is where the Braves ended up finishing their score at night. However, it would not be the last home run as the Mets continued to at least show some life, even though they had been left in the dust in this one. As the seventh inning rolled around, Edgar Santana began his second inning of work after taking over for Charlie Morton in the sixth inning. Brandon Drury hit a two-run homer to make it 12-5 Braves, and it was one of three hits that Drury picked up coming off the bench for the Mets. New York could have spent about two or three guys more to get production like Drury did, as his efforts alone were not close enough to get close to beating the Braves tonight.
In short, the Braves did a great job of capitalizing on the Mets, sending Jerad Eickhoff to the mound. This was the exact opposite result of the four shutout innings that Eickhoff threw against the Braves on June 21st. Instead, Atlanta absolutely pulverized Eickhoff’s pitching and drove him out of the game after scoring ten runs. Braves have had some quiet nights at the record recently, but hopefully a big night like this can help boost morale and confidence going forward.