Over on the twitter machine, I made a bit of a cynical quip about the Braves offensive hopes tonight, even with Dillon Gee starting for the Mets. Basically, I wanted to see if 2 runs would be enough for the Braves to win tonight, since that'd probably be their offensive threshold. Unfortunately: A) I was right and B) It wasn't enough to win, as a 2-run homer from Juan Lagares and 4 GIDPs from the Braves helped contribute to the Mets' 7th victory over Atlanta this season.
In the 2nd inning while the game was still scoreless, Justin Upton got on base with a walk to lead off the inning. Chris Johnson came up and merrily grounded to third base to wipe the slate clean for the Dillon Gee and the Mets. There's Double Play #1.
Meanwhile, the Mets had a pretty lovely 2nd inning. Travis d'Arnaud led off with a single to get on base, then Juan Lagares got on with a single of his own to put 2 on against Alex Wood. After a fly ball moved d'Arnaud to 3rd, Ruben Tejada completed the manufacturing of the run by hitting the ball into left field to put the Mets in the lead.
That lead stood until the 4th inning, which is when the Braves managed to get on the board. After Jason Heyward and Emilio Bonifacio both grounded out to kick things off in the 4th, Freddie Freeman broke the vicious cycle of ground outs by hitting a double, breaking a pretty nasty hitless streak that went back to the Cincinnati series. After Gee tossed a wild pitch (moving Freeman up to 3rd), Justin Upton capitalized on the chance he got by hitting a double of his own, scoring Freeman to tie the game. Chris Johnson flied out to end the offense for the Braves. This particular is becoming a theme.
With that being said, the Braves had a new lease on life at that point in the game. Everything was looking up, things were looking grand. Then Alex Wood gave up a homer to Juan Lagares. That was Lagares' 4th homer of the season, and it was of the 2-run variety, putting the Mets up by 2. To put Lagares' "power surge" into perspective, until Saturday, Lagares had 2 home runs all season. After hitting 1 on Saturday, 1 tonight (and nearly another), he's doubled his HR total in 3 days. In addition, Lagares demonstrated complete control of his domain in the outfield, making difficult catches in center look routine. Simply put, Lagares was all over the place tonight. What a great time for the Braves to run into him!
There were no more runs until the 7th inning, which is when the Braves managed to cobble together another run, though they did their level best not to. Justin Upton singled to start off the inning, and Chris Johnson shook the Spirit of the Double Play off of his bat for this moment and instead walked. Unfortunately, that spirit jumped onto Evan Gattis' bat, and El Oso Blanco hit a grounder to short that took him and Johnson off of the basepaths for Double Play #3 of the night. Tommy La Stella hit into Double Play #2 for the night back in the 5th inning when he hit an absolute screamer to first, which ended up getting Gattis tagged out. But in the 7th, TLS didn't get into a double play. Instead, he hit a single to right to cut the Mets lead down to 1.
Eventually, it came down to the Braves trying to extend the game into extras (or maybe even win it but maybe that type of thinking was too fanciful for the night) in the top of the 9th. Everything started off well enough, with Justin Upton getting on base once again to lead things off. Justin had a 3-3 night with a walk, which is about as good of a night that you could have. On the complete flipside, Chris Johnson had an 0-3 night with a walk, and this was the moment when Johnson grounded into the deadliest DP yet, Double Play #4. That one cleared the basepaths and effectively killed whatever hopes the Braves had at rallying their way into a run. Gattis wasn't able to deliver one of his towering shots, and that ended the game.
The Braves have now lost 4 of their last 5 at Citi Field, and this is starting to turn into one of those houses of horror. They're going to have to nip that (and their other offensive problems) in the bud real quick, because the Braves really can't afford to lose this series. They got a bit of help from the Phillies tonight, but it's high time for the Braves to start helping themselves again.