ATLANTA (AP) — Ozzie Albies' walk-off homer for the Braves did more than just complete their three-game sweep of the NL East-rival New York Mets.
The win also made Atlanta comeback history.
Albies lined a three-run homer with two outs in the 10th inning and the Braves rallied to beat the reeling Mets 13-10 on Thursday night.
The Braves trailed 9-5 and 10-7 after erasing three-run deficits in each of the first two games of the series. It marked the first time since moving to Atlanta in 1966 that the team won three straight games after trailing by three or more.
What did it mean for that to come against the $355 million Mets?
“I don't have to say,” a smiling Albies said in the clubhouse.
“I think the best thing we do is don't give up,” he added. “Yes, we expect to win. That's the way we play.”
It also marked the first time in Mets history (since 1962) they lost three consecutive games they led by at least three runs.
Orlando Arcia hit a tying solo homer off Mets closer David Robertson in the ninth to help the NL East leaders win their fifth straight.
“We're going to continue to fight and battle,” Arcia said. “That's who we are.”
New York, which has dropped six in a row for the first time since August 2019, had won 122 consecutive games when leading after eight innings — dating to a defeat at Washington on Sept. 6, 2021.
The franchise-record streak had been the longest active run for any team in the majors.
The Mets wasted two home runs from rookie Francisco Álvarez and an early grand slam from Brandon Nimmo as three-time Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander was ineffective.
New York (30-33) matched a season low at three games under .500, falling 8 1/2 games behind the first-place Braves. The fourth-place Mets have lost seven straight and nine of 10 in Atlanta.
But manager Buck Showalter sought consolation in his team scoring eight runs off Spencer Strider.
“Guys came in here and competed as good as you want to see,” Showalter said. “They came in here tonight against one of the best pitchers in the league and I’m real proud of them. There were a lot of opportunities there to fold the tent and these guys aren’t going to do that.”
Albies homered off Tommy Hunter (0-1) to drive in pinch-runner Sam Hilliard, who entered as the automatic runner at second base, and Travis d'Arnaud, who walked. Albies' homer, his 14th, sent Braves players spilling out of their dugout for an on-field celebration capped by a shower at the plate.
New York led 10-7 entering the eighth before d'Arnaud hit a two-run homer off Drew Smith. Robertson was summoned to try to get a five-out save but gave up Arcia's one-out homer in the ninth. It was his second blown save in 12 chances.
Nimmo's grand slam in the second gave New York a 5-3 lead and Álvarez drove in three runs with his two homers. The Mets had 14 hits, including three by Starling Marte, but it wasn't enough as Atlanta launched four homers.
Braves closer Raisel Iglesias (2-2) struck out Álvarez and Jeff McNeil in a perfect 10th.
Strider was given a 3-0 lead in the first, when Austin Riley hit a two-run homer, his first of four hits. Strider gave up the lead in the Mets' five-run second and allowed a career-high eight runs in four innings.
Despite the absence of slugger Pete Alonso, scoring was not the problem for the Mets. Alonso returned to New York for further tests after his left wrist was hit by a 96 mph fastball from Charlie Morton in the first inning of Atlanta’s 7-5 win Wednesday night. The team said Alonso had a bruise, and X-rays revealed no broken bones.
Strider was touched up for five runs on five hits in the second. Nimmo hit a 96 mph fastball over the middle of the plate into the right-field seats for his first career slam.
Strider's struggles continued in the fourth when Álvarez hit a two-run homer. He added a solo shot in the sixth.
Atlanta's Marcell Ozuna hit his 12th homer in the fifth.
STRUGGLES FOR VERLANDER
The 40-year-old Verlander lasted only three innings, allowing five runs — four earned. He issued four walks in his first career outing at Truist Park, the 34th stadium in which he has started.
“Not many first-pitch strikes,” Showalter said. “That’s not like him.”
Braves RHP Michael Tomkin (strained neck) allowed two runs over two innings in relief of Strider after he was recalled from his rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett. RHP Roddery Muñoz was optioned to Gwinnett.
Mets: RHP Tylor Megill (5-3, 4.40 ERA) will face Pirates LHP Rich Hill (5-5, 4.41) in Friday night's series opener at Pittsburgh.
Braves: Rookie RHP AJ Smith-Shawver makes his first career start against Washington LHP MacKenzie Gore (3-4, 3.66). The 20-year-old Smith-Shawver will be Atlanta’s 12th starting pitcher this season. Gore allowed three hits over 5 1/3 innings in a 4-1 home win against the Braves on April 2.