The Mets almost broke through in the ninth. While the Braves entered the game with a streak of 25 consecutive scoreless innings from their bullpen, they struggled to close out the game. Mets first baseman Pete Alonso doubled to left field, and Michael Conforto grounded out. Alonso advanced to third on a single to center by Davis and scored when Todd Frazier grounded into a force out. Catcher Wilson Ramos entered as a pinch-hitter and singled to extend his hitting streak to 19 games, but second baseman Joe Panik grounded out to first to end the game.
“When we have opportunities, we’re not coming through,” said Frazier, who was 1 for 4. “That’s what the ballgame was. I know we had seven hits, but it wasn’t back to back to back like we have been doing. We did not fulfill our opportunities as hitters.”
The team’s anchors did their part in the first two games of the series, but their teammates could not provide the support they had in a previous surge. On Friday, Jacob deGrom, the reigning Cy Young Award winner in the National League, struck out 13 Braves, hit a home run to left field and then watched the team lose in the 14th inning. On Saturday night, Alonso, who is the front-runner for rookie-of-the-year honors, hit his 41st home run, which tied the team record, but the Mets lost again, 9-5.
There were positives, though. Jeff McNeil, the utility fielder who went on the injured list on Aug. 14 with a strained left hamstring, came off the bench Saturday night and had two hits, including a double. But in his first at-bat Sunday, he was hit by a pitch, and he failed to reach base the rest of the game. He is batting .333, the second-best average in the majors.
It was a long week for the Mets. After sweeping the Indians to extend their latest winning streak to five games, they looked primed to gain ground on the Braves, who had beaten the Mets in two of three meetings in Atlanta earlier this month. Instead, the Mets looked worn down by Sunday evening. Thursday night’s win over the Indians — interrupted twice by rain delays — took a toll, as did 14 innings against the Braves the next day.
“We haven’t been getting much sleep the last couple of days,” Davis said. “We were just kind of drained. I know that’s no excuse, but we’ve got the day off tomorrow. We’ll recharge and gather our thoughts, get ready to go.”
The Mets know more games against top competition are coming. Their next 12 games are against three teams they are trailing in the race for a wild-card berth: the Cubs, the Phillies and the Nationals.