After nearly coming back from an eight-round deficit Friday night, the Mets made it a lot easier on themselves to start their double header on Saturday.
Of course, it pays to have Francisco Lindor and David Peterson have the kind of games they’ve played.
The Mets clinched the lead in the first half, going on to add to it and getting a solid springboard from Peterson to claim an 8-5 win over the Braves in Game 1 by the double-sheet at Citi Field.
Lindor turned on the attack, continued to swing a hot racket by going 3-for-4 with three RBIs and scored twice. Shortstop, who also had another great day with a glove, has extended his streak on base to 13 games while hitting .328 with a 0.968 OPS in 31 games since the beginning of July.
“It’s like you’re mining for gold,” said manager Buck Showalter. “You take a piece of gold and put it there. You take the rock, you put it here and you spawn more. When you get enough coins, you play in October. Lindor is a nugget.”
Lindor’s big match ignited a 13-goal lineup and scored 7 to 14 with the runners in the scoring position.
This was enough support for Peterson and four of the Mets’ painkillers. On a day when the Bulls were short, Peterson worked around some early traffic to deliver 5 point-free runs – earning him a standing ovation as he walked off the hill in the sixth inning. He was rewarded back to Triple-A Syracuse after the match so the Mets could summon a new arm for the Cup of the Night.
Despite going 8-2 to enter ninth, the Mets had to bring in Edwin Diaz with two back and one after the Braves closed within 8-4 against Yuan Lopez. But Diaz only needed seven pitches to keep his 25th blocker.
With the win, the Mets (68-39) improved to 30-9 after a loss and regained a 4¹/in-game lead over the Braves (64-44) atop the NL East, heading into the nightcap.
“The most important thing is that we won matches,” Lindor said. “Who on the other side doesn’t matter. You should go there and do it.”
After Peterson worked out a rule-laden jam at the top of the first, the Mets jumped on the Braves’ takeover of the trade in deadline for Jake Odorizzi in the bottom of the half to advance 2-0.
Starling Marte started the rally when he took a 93 mph fastball off his left forearm, though he stayed in the game. Lindor, Pete Alonso and Daniel Vogelbach followed with three in a row, the last two leading each in a race to put the Mets ahead.
Lindor led the third inning on his own and then finished second on a wrong attempt by Odorizzi with two outs. Jeff McNeill then made Odorizzi push, lining up one field to the right to make it 3-0.
In the sixth inning, Lindor came within inches of the three-stroke Homer, but his ball flying into a dead center field hit the top of the wall, capping the duo twice and advancing 5-0.
The Braves finally made a pair of seventh-inning kicks from Seth Lugo and Adam Ottavino, but the Mets came right back down the frame with an answer. James McCann and Starling Mart made contact with the RBI singles before Lindor hit the sacrifice fly to put the Mets ahead 8-2.
“We talk about grinding bats and we want to be known about this,” Lindor said. “The team that grinds, the field after the throw, will not give up no matter what the outcome.”