Mets ride deGrom, Bassitt to doubleheader sweep of Pirates

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PITTSBURGH — Jacob deGrom threw seven dominant innings and the New York Mets routed the Pittsburgh Pirates 10-0 on Wednesday night to complete a doubleheader sweep that thrust them back into sole possession of first place in the NL East.

DeGrom (5-1) struck out eight and walked one to win his third straight start for New York, which rode seven strong innings from Chris Bassitt to a 5-1 victory in Game 1.

The Mets piled on Pittsburgh starter Johan Oviedo (2-2) and a handful of relievers to pound out 17 hits in support of deGrom. New York put up 15 runs on Wednesday after managing four in a three-game skid that briefly dropped the team into a tie with the Braves for the division lead.

Francisco Lindor doubled twice and drove in three runs in Game 2. Jeff McNeil and Eduardo Escobar each added three hits in the nightcap. Escobar also homered earlier in the day and went 6 for 9 in the twinbill.

DeGrom got off to a somewhat shaky start, allowing consecutive singles to Oneil Cruz and Bryan Reynolds leading off the bottom of the first. It was a mirage. A double play and a groundball got him out of the inning and after that, deGrom quickly settled in.

The 34-year-old righty retired 16 of 17 batters during one stretch and didn’t allow his third hit until Reynolds singled with one out in the sixth. By then the Mets were already firmly in control.

New York took advantage of shoddy command by Oviedo, acquired in a trade that sent veteran left-hander Jose Quintana to St. Louis in July. Oviedo walked five of the 11 batters he faced while giving up four runs in 1 2/3 innings.

Eric Stout came on in relief in the second and promptly gave up a two-run single to Lindor as New York went up 4-0 and cruised from there behind its ace.

The Pirates are 5-20 in their last 25 games and have lost eight games this season by at least 10 runs.

Bassitt (13-7) struck out 10 over seven innings in the opener, helping New York avoid its first four-game skid of the season. His 13 victories are a career best, topping the 12 games he won for Oakland in 2021.

And while the Braves have steadily chipped away at New York’s lead in the East – which grew to 10 1/2 games at one point – Bassitt insisted the Mets aren’t panicked by the push from the reigning World Series champions.

“I’m sure that the world was going crazy, but, I mean, we’re fine,” he said.

Tyler Naquin hit a three-run homer to the bullpen beyond the center-field fence for his 11th homer of the season. Escobar followed with a high drive to the seats above the 21-foot high Clemente Wall in right that staked the Mets to a 5-0 lead.

“I think it’s a reminder of what he’s capable of doing,” New York manager Buck Showalter said of Escobar, who has three home runs in his last six games and is a .431 career hitter (38 for 88) against Pittsburgh.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: RF Starling Marte sat out both games and is day-to-day with a non-displaced fracture in the middle finger of his right (throwing) hand. Marte was hit by a 96 mph fastball from Pittsburgh’s Mitch Keller in the first inning Tuesday. … New York placed RHP Max Scherzer on the 15-day injured list with left side irritation and called up left-handed reliever Alex Claudio from Triple-A Syracuse.

ON THE MOVE

The Pirates recalled infielder Hoy Park from Triple-A Indianapolis, and claimed 1B/C Zack Collins off waivers from Toronto and RHP Junior Fernandez off waivers from St. Louis. To make room on the 40-man roster for Collins and Fernandez, the Pirates designated left-handed reliever Cam Vieaux and utility infielder Josh VanMeter for assignment. VanMeter hit .187 with three home runs and 14 RBIs in 67 games for Pittsburgh.

UP NEXT

Mets: Off on Thursday before beginning a three-game series in Miami on Friday. LHP David Peterson (7-3, 3.32 ERA) will likely start in place of Scherzer.

Pirates: Finish up a nine-game homestand with a visit by NL Central-leading St. Louis beginning Friday. Roansy Contreras (4-4, 3.41) starts for Pittsburgh against veteran Miles Mikolas (11-10, 3.32).

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.