Nimmo, McNeil back Wheeler in Mets’ win over Braves
ATLANTA (AP) — Brandon Nimmo didn’t mind getting dropped from first to eighth in the Mets’ batting order.
Nimmo couldn’t say for sure if he felt less pressure Friday night against Atlanta, but he managed to capitalize on pitches in the strike zone instead of missing or fouling them off.
“That’s what I’ve been I’ve been doing mostly,” he said. “I was glad to do that and find the barrel a couple of times.”
Nimmo hit a two-run homer, Jeff McNeil added a two-run double and New York kept hitting even without Pete Alonso, beating the Braves 6-2.
The Mets have scored at least six runs in six straight games and got there against Atlanta with the rookie Alonso, the team’s hottest hitter, getting most of the night off. The first-place Mets, who have won three straight, scored four times in the fourth inning on McNeil’s hit and RBI doubles from Robinson Cano and Michael Conforto.
Zack Wheeler (1-1) worked six solid innings after giving up a career-high seven runs in his last start. He allowed six hits, two runs and three walks, striking out eight.
“I was actually watching a video of (Atlanta) last year and watching myself,” Wheeler said. “I noticed I was a lot slower out of the windup. I got a stopwatch and timed it. I was way faster, so I slowed myself down and was more consistent today.”
New York went ahead 2-1 in the second on Nimmo’s second homer.
Atlanta took a 1-0 lead in the first on Nick Markakis‘ sacrifice fly. Ronald Acuña Jr.’s RBI double in the fifth made it 6-2.
Braves rookie starter Kyle Wright (0-2) gave up eight hits, six runs and four walks and struck out three in 3 2/3 innings.
“The biggest thing is everything plays off the fastball,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s just got to command it at both sides. It’s just part of a young pitcher. He’ll get it. The stuff is too good not to be really successful. He’ll have games like that. He’ll learn from it and going forward he’ll be better for it.”
New York improved to 8-3 against division opponents (9-4 overall). Atlanta dropped to 2-6 against the NL East.
Mets: 3B Todd Frazier was scheduled to play nine innings Friday with Class A St. Lucie and spend more rehab time at shortstop. Frazier played third and first the day before. He is on the injured list with a left oblique strain. … 2B Jed Lowrie, on the injured list with a left knee strain, has been hitting on the field, taking grounders and doing some light running, but he’s still not ready for a rehab assignment.
Braves: C Brian McCann was in uniform the second straight day for batting practice. Sidelined by a right hamstring strain, McCann is eligible to come off the injured list next week.
By scoring at least six runs in six straight games, New York tied for the longest such streak in franchise history. Its last six-game run scoring six or more was from Sept. 18-23, 2007.
NOT SO HOT
Wright, the No. 5 overall draft pick in 2017, has made seven major league appearances, and the Braves have yet to win a game in which he has pitched.
Mets manager Mickey Callaway stuck to his plan of giving Alonso, ranked second in the majors in slugging percentage and tied for third with six homers and 17 RBIs, a break during a stretch of nine games in nine days. Alonso popped up as a pinch-hitter in the eighth.
Callaway dropped Nimmo to eighth as he began the night batting .150 with 23 strikeouts, most in the majors, in 38 at-bats. Nimmo went 3 for 4, pushing his average to .205, and scored two runs. He also had a bunt single that helped spark the fourth.
Mets: LHP Jason Vargas (1-0, 9.00 ERA) will make his second start after pitching one scoreless inning of relief earlier this week. He is 2-2 with a 4.01 ERA in six career starts against Atlanta.
Braves: LHP Sean Newcomb (0-0, 1.64) is 2-2 with a 1.82 ERA in six career starts against New York.