The Braves brought their bats to life in a big and loud way tonight. Austin Riley in particular had a great night at the plate, as his two home runs (including one grand slam) helped push the Braves to a seven-run victory over the New York Mets.
In the run-up to tonight’s game, the Mets announced that they were going with Jerad Eickhoff as their starter for the evening. This is after Eickhoff had been designated for assignment and then re-signed by the Mets twice in two weeks. So needless to say, the expectations for Eickhoff weren’t particularly high and the Braves proved early on that they would have little problem figuring out the 31-year-old pitcher. Atlanta started off the game by loading up the bases without a hit or an error (one hit-by-pitch and two walks), and the Braves capitalized after Dansby Swanson hit a double to bring in a couple of runs. That was all the Braves got in the first inning but they were far from being finished at the plate.
As a matter of 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 surrendered a two-out walk to Ehire Adrianza to extend the inning. The Braves continued to do two-out damage in the third inning, as Abraham Almonte hit a dinger that went the opposite way that just barely cleared the fence in left field. Almonte’s fourth homer of the season made it 6-0 in favor of the Braves, but Atlanta still wasn’t done.
The Mets got a run back in the bottom of the fourth after Charlie Morton walked a couple of batters and gave up an RBI single to Pete Alonso. New York’s rate of production was not enough to keep up with the Braves on this night, who continued their onslaught into the fourth inning. Charlie Morton led off the fourth with a single, Ehire Adrianza followed that up with a double and after Freddie Freeman got intentionally walked 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 it 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 dugout and finished the game with a gaudy line of 3.1 innings, seven hits allowed, five walks, four strikeouts, and ten runs allowed. It was an extremely rough night for Eickhoff but you will not see any of us Braves fans complaining about it.
The Mets got in on the home run craze in the bottom of the fifth, as Jeff McNeil smashed one off of Charlie Morton to put two more runs on the board for New York. It was still a pittance compared to what the Braves had done up to that point, but the Mets were refusing to go quietly after getting their doors blown off during the first four innings. That fifth inning also ended up being the first frame of the game where the Braves didn’t score. Don’t worry, they weren’t finished there.
Specifically, Austin Riley wasn’t finished there. The big third baseman apparently wasn’t satisfied with just hitting a grand slam, and after Freddie Freeman led off the sixth with a single, Riley followed it up by hitting another majestic home run shot into the left field seats. Just 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 that point.
Sadly, this is where the Braves ended up finishing their scoring on the night. It wouldn’t be the last home run of the night, though, as the Mets continued to at least show some life even if they had been left in the dust in this one. By the time the seventh inning rolled around, Edgar Santana was starting 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 that was one of three hits that Drury picked up coming off of the bench for the Mets. New York could’ve used about two or three more guys getting production like Drury did, as his efforts alone were nowhere near enough to come close to beating the Braves tonight.
Simply put, 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 tossed against the Braves back on June 21. Instead, Atlanta absolutely pulverized Eickhoff’s pitching and ran him from the game after scoring ten runs. The Braves have had some quiet nights at the plate recently, but hopefully a big night like this can help boost morale and confidence going forward.