Yoenis Cespedes nearly won the game for the Mets on a walk-off, three-run homer in the ninth, but center fielder Ender Inciarte robbed him with a leaping catch at the wall. The resulting win was the sixth in a row for the Braves at Citi Field and their fifth straight overall.
According to Statcast™, Cespedes’ drive had an exit velocity of 101.7 mph and a launch angle of 28 degrees. Batted balls with those traits go for a hit 84 percent of the time and a home run 72 percent of the time.
Inciarte had a first step of -0.73 seconds on the play, which means he was actually moving before the crack of the bat. He reached a top speed of 19.2 mph and covered 104 feet.
The loss ensured the Mets would remain tied with the Cardinals, who lost earlier Wednesday, while temporarily dropping them a half-game behind the Giants in the NL Wild Card race.
Jumping out to a 3-0 lead on Asdrubal Cabrera‘s two-run homer in the first inning and Rene Rivera‘s solo shot in the fifth, the Mets seemed as if they might cruise to victory from there. But an Anthony Recker two-run shot in the seventh inning brought the Braves back within a run of the lead, before a Dansby Swanson single chased starter Bartolo Colon from the game.
R. Rivera’s solo moonshot
ATL@NYM: R. Rivera extends the lead with long homer
Rene Rivera smashes a ball over the left-center-field wall to extend the lead, setting a new Mets record with their 205th homer in 2016
Mets manager Terry Collins made a series of unorthodox bullpen decisions at that point, bringing setup man Addison Reed into the game in the seventh, lefty specialist Josh Smoker in the eighth and, with the game on the line, closer Jeurys Familia in the ninth. The moves backfired when Matt Kemp tied things with a sacrifice fly off Familia.
Kemp’s game-tying sac fly
ATL@NYM: Kemp ties the game with a sac fly
Matt Kemp lifts a ball out to left field, allowing Ender Inciarte to tag and score from third to tie the game at 3 in the 8th
An inning later, with Familia still in the game, Inciarte hit a go-ahead RBI groundout.
Among outfield catches this season in which the ball had a hang time of less than 5.5 seconds and a launch angle of under 28 degrees, Inciarte’s distance covered of 104 feet ranks seventh.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Manufacturing a win: The Braves executed almost perfectly to get the winning run home in the ninth. After Jace Peterson led off with a single, manager Brian Snitker had Swanson bunt Peterson to second base. Pinch-hitter Emilio Bonifacio followed with a single to shallow left, but third-base coach Bo Porter had to hold Peterson at third. Inciarte followed with a slow grounder past the mound that allowed Peterson to score.
Braves take a late lead
ATL@NYM: Braves grab late lead with RBI groundout
Ender Inciarte hits a soft grounder out to second base, allowing Jace Peterson to score the go-ahead run in the 9th
Freddie ties Chipper: Freddie Freeman‘s fourth-inning single off Colon gave the Braves’ first baseman a 41-game on-base streak, equalling the longest by his mentor, Chipper Jones. Only two players in Atlanta Braves history and three in franchise history have had longer streaks: Gary Sheffield, 52 games in 2002; Dale Murphy, 48 games in 1987; and Hank Aaron, 43 games for the 1962 Milwaukee Braves. More >
Freeman extends 2 streaks
ATL@NYM: Freeman singles to extend 2 streaks
Freddie Freeman lines a single, extending his hitting streak to 25 games and his on-base streak to 41 games
Missed opportunity: After the Mets coughed up the lead in the top of the eighth, they had an opportunity to take it right back in the bottom of the inning. But Cespedes did not run hard out of the box on his one-out double, which saw Kemp leap at the wall in an unsuccessful catch attempt. The Braves loaded the bases on intentional walks, before pinch-hitter Kevin Plawecki struck out on five pitches — four of them outside the strike zone — to end the threat.
Krol escapes a jam
ATL@NYM: Krol fans Plawecki, escapes bases-loaded jam
Ian Krol gets Kevin Plawecki to swing at a fastball out of the zone, leaving the bases loaded and the score tied at 3
Return of Recker: Recker caught Colon in 17 games with the Mets from 2014-15. He got in the batter’s box against Colon for the first time in a game on Wednesday night and helped make it close with a two-run home run. Recker left the Mets as a free agent last offseason and signed with the Indians, then was acquired by the Braves in May.
Recker’s two-run tater
ATL@NYM: Recker lines a two-run homer to right
Anthony Recker laces a ball over the right-center-field wall, putting the Braves on the board in the 7th
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Cabrera’s home run gave him 21 on the season, including 20 as a shortstop — good for sole possession of the franchise record he briefly shared with Jose Reyes. Alex Rodriguez holds the MLB record with 57 homers as a shortstop in 2002, one of six seasons in which he hit more than 40 while manning the position.
Braves: The Braves move on to Miami, where they’ll play their final four road games of the season. Right-hander Josh Collmenter (2-0, 4.61 ERA), who beat the Nationals in his Braves debut, starts Thursday night’s 7:10 ET series opener at Marlins Park. Right-hander Jose Urena (4-7, 5.59 ERA) starts for the Marlins.
Mets: The Mets won’t be sorry to say farewell to the Braves, who made life difficult for them all summer. They’ve had more success against the Phillies, who will travel to Citi Field for a four-game series starting Thursday. Mets right-hander Seth Lugo (4-2, 2.35 ERA) will look to continue his rookie success opposite lefty Adam Morgan (2-10, 5.57 ERA) in the 7:10 p.m. ET opener.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.
Danny Knobler is a contributor to MLB.com based in New York.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Source: Mets News / After lost lead, walk-off dazzler denies Mets