Mets have won 12 of their last 13 games

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With a 5-0 shutout of the Marlins on Tuesday night, the Mets won their fifth consecutive game. It is, in fact, their 12th victory in their last 13 games. Granted, it wasn’t the most difficult part of the schedule as those 13 games include a game against the Padres, six against the last-place Pirates, three against the third-place White Sox, and three against the last-place Marlins. But the Mets took full advantage, gaining ground on every other team in the NL East. Once as far back as 14.5 games on July 14, the Mets are now 8.5 games behind the Braves and could move into second place as soon as this week depending on how the Phillies and Nationals fare.

In Tuesday night’s game, Zack Wheeler — assumed to be on his way to a new team on July 31 — tossed a gem, blanking the Marlins over eight innings on eight hits and a walk with five strikeouts. Wilson Ramos hit a three-run homer and Pete Alonso also went yard for his 36th dinger of the year.

Entering Tuesday’s action, the biggest contributors on offense since July 25 (when the aforementioned streak began) have been Michael Conforto (5 HR, 11 RBI), Jeff McNeil (5 HR, 9 RBI), J.D. Davis (3 HR, 9 RBI). Meanwhile, Noah Syndergaard has an 0.63 ERA in his last two starts. Jacob deGrom has a 1.29 ERA over his last three. Seth Lugo has been perfect since July 18.

A month ago, manager Mickey Callaway said, “We can sneak into the Wild Card. We can sneak back into the division.” We all kind of laughed at him. I even wrote, “If they were to even sneak in and claim a Wild Card spot, that would be one of the most surprising things to ever happen in baseball.” Well, who’s laughing now? The Mets are two games out of the second Wild Card slot in the National League.

That being said, the Mets’ schedule gets tougher going forward. They still have nine games against the Braves remaining as well as six against the Nationals. Outside the division, the Mets will face the Indians, Cubs, and Dodgers three times apiece. The Mets did what they were supposed to do, taking advantage of a weak part of the schedule. Now they need to hold their own against better teams.

Swanson, Olson go deep vs Scherzer, Braves take NL East lead

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ATLANTA — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered off Max Scherzer, lifting the Atlanta Braves to a crucial 4-2 victory Saturday night over the New York Mets and a one-game lead in the NL East.

The defending World Series champions beat aces Jacob deGrom and Scherzer on consecutive nights to take their biggest lead of the season in the division. New York, which held a 10 1/2-game cushion on June 1, faces its biggest deficit of the year with four games remaining.

Atlanta will try for a three-game sweep Sunday night, with the winner earning the season-series tiebreaker between the teams. Even though both teams are headed to the postseason, that’s important because the NL East champion gets a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Swanson’s 24th homer, a go-ahead, two-run shot in the fifth inning, touched off a frenzy among the sold-out crowd at Truist Park, the ball sailing a few rows up into the seats in left-center to make it 3-2. Olson hit his 32nd homer in the sixth, a solo shot into Chop House seats in right to put Atlanta up 4-2.

Austin Riley led off the fourth with a double and scored on Olson’s single to make it 1-all.

Kyle Wright (21-5) gave up two runs and seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings as he won his eighth straight decision. The Braves have won 16 of his last 17 starts.

New York went up 2-1 in the fifth when Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil hit consecutive two-out singles.

The Mets led 1-0 in the first when Brandon Nimmo singled, advanced on a walk and a single and scored on Eduardo Escobar‘s groundout. Wright, who threw 30 pitches in the first, stranded two runners in scoring position to prevent further damage.

Scherzer (11-5) allowed a first-inning single to Riley and a third-inning infield single to Ronald Acuna Jr., who advanced to third on a fielding error by Lindor at shortstop but was stranded when Michael Harris II lined out to center. Scherzer patted his glove and pumped his fist as he walked off the mound.

Scherzer was charged with nine hits and four runs with no walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings as the Mets were knocked out of first place for only the third day all season.

The Braves have won five of the last six against New York to tie the season series 9-all, outscoring the Mets 37-16 over that stretch.

Atlanta’s bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA in September, got a perfect inning from Dylan Lee in the sixth. Jesse Chavez faced four batters in the seventh, Raisel Iglesias faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his NL-leading 39th save in 46 chances.

Since the Braves were a season low-tying four games under .500 at 23-27 after play on May 31, they have gone 76-32, tying the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the majors over that span. They were a season-worst 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Mets on June 1.

Wright, the only 20-game winner in baseball this season, hasn’t officially become the first Braves pitcher to lead the league in wins outright since Russ Ortiz had 21 in 2003, but the Dodgers’ Julio Urias has 17 and can’t reach 20 before the regular season ends.

Wright will become the first Braves pitcher since Hall of Famer Tom Glavine in 2000 to lead the majors in wins. Houston ace Justin Verlander also has 17.

Wright began the game 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA in six career starts and one relief appearance against the Mets.

The Braves, who got homers from Riley, Olson and Swanson off deGrom on Friday, lead the NL with 240 homers.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. Manager Buck Showalter said Marte is experiencing less pain but not enough to take the next step in his recovery. Marte has been sidelined since Sept. 7.

Braves: RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique. Manager Brian Snitker said there is no timetable for the rookie’s return. Strider has been sidelined since Sept. 21.

NICE GLOVE

Harris ran back and jumped to catch Nimmo’s fly against the wall in center field for the first out of the third.

UP NEXT

Mets RHP Chris Bassitt (15-8, 3.27 ERA) will face RHP Charlie Morton (9-6, 4.29) as the teams conclude a three-game series.