Mets overcome crucial error to beat Braves in opening game of double-header – The Mercury News

The Mets dodged a bullet in the shape of a big, fat E1 on Tuesday afternoon, as what could have been a crucial fielding blunder by pitcher David Peterson ended up as nothing more than a footnote.

In the Mets’ 5-4 win to start their double-header against the Braves, a 5-1 lead quickly became 5-4 when Matt Olson followed Peterson’s error with a three-run crack into the Braves’ bullpen. Peterson, the obvious odd man out whenever Jacob deGrom returns from his scapula injury, was solid but unspectacular yet again.

His final line (five innings, four hits, four runs, six strikeouts) would have been much prettier if he was able to turn Ozzie Albies’ comebacker into an inning-ending double play. Instead, Albies became a base runner ahead of Olson’s home run, and one of the runs that turned a leisurely walk in the park into something much more stressful.

That’s why it pays to have talent in the batter’s box.

The Mets got all of their RBI from Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso — their incumbent superstars — as well as Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar, two of the transformational acquisitions from the offseason. Not to be outdone, Travis Jankowski (who was signed to a minor league deal three weeks before the season started) added two hits and scored three crucial runs while holding down the leadoff spot for the first time as a Met.

“He’s as excited as a guy going to his first game in Little League, playing today and leading off,” Showalter said of Jankowski. “Guys like him and [Luis] Guillorme bring it in situations like this. Trav’s been a pro. That’s why we wanted to keep him. He brings some tools that we need. He’s a great piece for us.”

Under a grayscale sky at Citi Field, the Mets and Braves’ infielders took turns flashing the leather. Guillorme filled in at shortstop so Lindor could begin the doubleheader as a DH. He only had to wait five pitches before making a diving play that immediately brought a smile to his pitcher ‘s face his.

In the bottom of the second, with the Mets already on top 2-0 thanks to Alonso and Escobar’s RBI singles, Olson sprawled into the grass in foul territory to make a diving catch on Tomas Nido’s bunt attempt. Albies came back in the seventh with a diving snag of his own, snaring a hard-hit ball in shallow right field and firing to first to rob Lindor of a hit.

The biggest defensive play of the day, albeit a fairly easy one, came from an outfielder, though. With the Mets clinging to their 5-4 lead in the bottom of the seventh, Olson came up again, this time to face reliever Drew Smith. Olson ran the count full before taking the sixth pitch for a ball, sending up the equally powerful Austin Riley.

Riley came up hacking, fouling off two pitches. On a 2-2 count, the crack of his bat rang through a tense Citi Field, sending hearts into throats and outfielders to the warning track. But Starling Marte had just enough room — right where the right-center field fence juts in from the 380-foot mark — to make the catch.

Smith also came back for the eighth and set the Braves down in order. The unheralded pitcher has now begun his season with 10 straight scoreless appearances, giving him a 0.00 ERA in 11.1 innings. Smith, like his namesake his on the offensive side who had a timely 4-for-4 game on Sunday, simply played too well for the Mets to send him down during their recent roast cuts.

“I can’t think too much about what’s happened in the past,” Smith said after logging two more clean innings. “You just gotta reset every time. It’s a good start, but it’s barely May. It’s a long season.”

The Edwin Diaz trumpets came in the ninth, and with Smith having already gotten through the thick of Atlanta’s lineup, the voltaic closer held on for his fifth save of the Mets’ season.


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