ATLANTA — As the line kept moving and the scoreboard kept turning during an offensive eruption on Wednesday night, it was as if the Braves were releasing a couple weeks’ worth of frustrations within the span of just one inning.
And that was just the start of it. The seven-run fourth produced during a 20-2 win over the Mets at Truist Park served as just a portion of the onslaught the Braves delivered. Ronald Acuña Jr. got things started with a loud leadoff homer and Austin Riley seemed to open the flood gates with the two-out, two-run single he delivered in the third inning.
Once the Braves gained a 4-2 lead with Riley’s single, they seemed to bid adieu to the frustration they had felt while scoring three runs or fewer over nine of their previous 10 games. This win brings them back to within 4 1/2 games of the first-place Mets in the National League East. It also creates some energy in preparation for Thursday’s matchup against Jacob deGrom.
If attempting to determine who was the offensive performer of the night, you could easily go with Ozzie Albies, who highlighted his career-high five-hit night with a pair of home runs, including one off outfielder Albert Almora Jr. The Mets handed the ball to Almora in the eighth and watched him allow six runs in the inning.
Albies provided this production while batting behind Freddie Freeman, who tallied three hits and reached safely in each of his four plate appearances. But you know who else reached safely four times? Backup catcher Kevan Smith, who entered the game having reached in just 10 of his 40 plate appearances this season.
Even when Freeman exited to rest in the seventh, Ehire Adrianza pinch hit and drilled his fourth homer. It was one of four home runs hit by the Braves, who tallied a season-best 20 hits.
The Braves matched the season-best runs and hits totals they had set on May 21 in a 20-1 win over the Pirates. That might have been a fun victory. But this latest win over the Mets could certainly be described as a more timely onslaught.
First of all, the Braves and Mets have now split the six games played against each other dating back to last week. A win in Thursday’s series finale would allow Atlanta to inch a little closer before ending the season’s first half with six games against the Marlins and three against the Pirates.
Secondly, the Braves haven’t been able to get out of their own way much of this season. Even with Charlie Morton constructing a strong start in Tuesday’s series opener, they found a way to fall to 33-8 when leading after six innings. One way to expel the ugly taste of yet another disheartening loss is with a blowout win.