Nimmo, Peterson lead Mets past Rockies 3-0 for 17th shutout

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NEW YORK — Brandon Nimmo hit a leadoff homer and an RBI double, and David Peterson pitched six innings of four-hit ball as the first-place New York Mets defeated the Colorado Rockies 3-0 on Saturday night for their third straight victory.

Starling Marte added an RBI double in the seventh for the Mets, who moved three games ahead of second-place Atlanta in the NL East when the Braves lost 6-5 in St. Louis.

New York (82-46) holds the second-best record in the majors and is 36 games over .500 for the first time since finishing 100-60 in 1988.

“Good game for me personally,” Nimmo said. “I’m glad I was able to contribute.”

Colorado has lost 10 of 13 and dropped to 18-42 away from Coors Field, the worst road record in the big leagues.

After winning Friday night on Pete Alonso‘s walk-off single, the Mets wasted little time getting on the scoreboard against Kyle Freeland (7-9). Nimmo sent Freeland’s second pitch well over the right-center field wall to give New York an early lead. The 433-foot drive was Nimmo’s sixth career leadoff homer, half of which have come against Colorado.

“If you start talking about the best leadoff hitters in baseball, his name has to be mentioned,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said.

Nimmo doubled the lead one inning later. Freeland plunked Mark Canha to open the second – the 17th time the Mets’ outfielder has been hit by a pitch this season. New York batters have been hit a major league-leading 87 times. Jeff McNeil worked a 10-pitch walk and, two batters later, Nimmo again connected on Freeland’s second offering, driving it into right field for an RBI double.

“A little too much Nimmo,” Rockies manager Bud Black said.

The two-run lead was more than enough for Peterson (7-3), who was making his second career start against his hometown Rockies. Peterson, recalled from Triple-A Syracuse before the game, scattered four singles and struck out seven in his best start of the season.

“He stayed in attack mode,” Showalter said. “He was the key to the game.”

The 26-year-old lefty set a career high for wins and has fanned seven or more batters in seven of his 16 starts this season. The Mets rank second in the majors with 1,207 strikeouts after recording 11 more Saturday.

“I take a lot of pride when I am given the ball,” Peterson said.

Three relievers combined to complete New York’s league-leading 17th shutout. Adam Ottavino worked the ninth for his second save this season – both in the past three days against his former team.

New York has won 15 of its last 17 home games.

Freeland, who signed a five-year contract in April, allowed two runs on four hits over five innings. The 29-year-old left-hander walked one and hit two batters. He is tied for the major league lead with 15 hit batters.

“The Met hitters battled him,” Black said. “They put the ball in play. They fought the change, they fought the slider, they fought the curve, they fought the fastball.”

SAY HEY SURPRISE

Before the game, the Mets held their first Old-Timers’ Day since 1994. To conclude the ceremonial portion of the event, the team retired Hall of Famer Willie Mays’ No. 24. Mays played 135 games in two seasons with the Mets and hit his final 14 home runs for the team before retiring at the end of the 1973 season.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rockies: Outfielders Charlie Blackmon, Sam Hilliard and Connor Joe were given the night off.

Mets: RHP Carlos Carrasco (left oblique) is scheduled to throw a simulated game Monday. . 3B Eduardo Escobar (left oblique) was activated from the 10-day injured list. He started and went 0 for 3.

UP NEXT

Mets ace Max Scherzer (9-3, 2.33 ERA) pitches Sunday as New York tries for a four-game sweep. He is one win shy of becoming the third active pitcher with 200. RHP German Marquez (6-10, 5.22) starts for Colorado.

Braves sweep Mets, take 2-game lead in East with 3 remaining

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ATLANTA — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered for the third straight game, Travis d'Arnaud hit a go-ahead two-run single in the third inning, and Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 5-3, completing a three-game sweep of their NL East rival and taking a two-game lead in the division with three games to play.

The defending World Series champion Braves have been chasing the Mets the entire season. In the final series of the season, any combination of one Atlanta win or one Mets loss would give the Braves their fifth straight division title.

New York plays its final three games of the season against worst-in-the-majors Washington. Atlanta closed out the regular season with a three-game set in Miami. Should the season end Wednesday in a tie, Atlanta would win the division after claiming the season series 10-9 with Sunday’s victory.

The Braves won five of the last six games in the series, outscoring the Mets 42-19 over that stretch. New York had a 10 1/2-game lead on June 1 but now is the lower in the standings than at any point this season.

It was a lost weekend for New York, which came to Atlanta hoping to clinch its first division title since 2015. Instead, aces Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer lost Friday and Saturday before 15-game winner Chris Bassitt lasted just 2 2/3 innings on Sunday.

Swanson took Bassitt deep to right-center in the first with his 25th homer, and Atlanta took charge with a three-run third. Bassitt (15-9) issued a bases-loaded walk to Olson before d’Arnaud delivered a single up the middle to score Ronald Acuna Jr. and Austin Riley for a 4-3 lead. That chased Bassitt, who was charged with four runs, three hits and three walks.

Olson connected for his 33rd homer to make it 5-3 leading off the sixth, his 410-foot shot landing in the seats in right-center. Olson, in his first year with Atlanta, surpassed 100 RBIs for the second straight season.

Charlie Morton stranded runners on first and second in the first, but he gave up Daniel Vogelbach‘s 18th homer that tied it at 1 in the second. The righty struck out Francisco Lindor with runners on first and second to end the threat.

Jeff McNeil went deep off Morton in the third and Vogelbach followed with an RBI single to put the Mets up 3-1. Morton entered the game having allowed 28 homers, sixth-most in the NL.

Morton scuffled throughout his start, giving up three runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings as the 38-year-old made his first start since signing a $20 million, one-year contract to remain with Atlanta next season.

Dylan Lee (5-1) relieved Morton and pitched 1 1/3 innings, leaving after a walk to Brandon Nimmo with two outs in the sixth. Collin McHugh entered and struck out Francisco Lindor.

Raisel Iglesias faced four batters in the seventh, A.J. Minter faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen converted his third save of the series with a clean ninth.

Jansen leads the NL with 40 saves in 47 chances.

The Braves’ bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA last month, pitched 8 2/3 scoreless innings the last two nights.

BIG NUMBERS

Atlanta leads the NL with 241 homers. And the Braves have their first 100-victory season since 2003.

TWO, DARN HOT

McNeil went 3 for 5 and has multiple hits in five straight games. His average is .326, one point behind the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman for the NL batting title. In 23 career games at Truist Park, McNeil is hitting .395 with 12 runs, nine doubles, two homers, seven RBIs and four walks. … Jansen tied Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley for eighth place on the career list with 389. He’s also is the 10th closer to have four different seasons with at least 40 saves.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. … Braves 2B Ozzie Albies (broken right pinky finger) is still wearing a cast. … Braves RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique.

ATTENDANCE

The Braves drew 42,713 in their regular season finale, the club’s 42nd sellout of the season. Overall. that’s 3,129,931 for the season – and the most tickets sold since 2000. In 2019, the team’s last full season before the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlanta drew 2,655,100.

UP NEXT

Mets: RHP Carlos Carrasco (15-7, 3.95 ERA) will face Nationals RHP Cory Abbott (0-4, 5.11).

Braves: RHP Bryce Elder (2-3, 2.76 ERA) will face Marlins LHP Jesus Luzardo (3-7, 3.53).