The Atlanta Braves defeated the New York Mets 5-2 on Friday night (box score) in the first of a three-game set, creating a tie atop the National League East. The Braves entered the contest trailing the Mets by a game in the division. Whichever team wins will, by virtue of having the NL's second-best record, gain a first-round bye.
The Braves fell behind early on Friday, with the Mets taking a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Atlanta answered back in their half of the frame, however, as Austin Riley and Matt Olson launched back-to-back home runs to give the Braves a 2-1 edge. It was the first time since June 2019 that deGrom surrendered back-to-back home runs, according to ESPN Stats & Info. (Coincidentally, that game was also versus Atlanta.)
The Braves were not done teeing-off on deGrom, as Dansby Swanson swatted a home run of his own in the sixth to put them up 3-1. That would prove to be deGrom's final frame, as he departed with a blister after having allowed three runs on five hits and no walks across six innings. He finished with 11 strikeouts on 86 pitches.
The Mets bullpen would subsequently cough up a few more runs, and a late Tomás Nido home run was not enough to prevent the Braves from sealing the deal to create a logjam at the top of the NL East.
Here are four other things to know about the Braves and Mets.
1. Fried leaves early with illness
Opposing deGrom on Friday night was left-hander Max Fried, who is likely to earn Cy Young Award consideration this winter. Fried pitched well, holding the Mets to a run on four hits and striking out three over the course of five innings. Alas, he had to leave the game early, after just 71 pitches, after becoming ill in the dugout.
2. Álvarez makes MLB debut
Prior to Friday's game, the Mets called up one of, if not the best prospect remaining in the minors, in catcher Francisco Álvarez. The Mets plopped Álvarez into the lineup as their DH on Friday night, but he didn't have a memorable debut. Instead, he went 0 for 4 and left seven runners on base, including three in the top of the ninth inning. Oh well. CBS Sports covered earlier today what he brings to the club and why he's so well regarded around the industry.
3. Tiebreaker may not favor Braves
It's worth remembering that Major League Baseball did away with tiebreaker games this season as part of the move to an expanded postseason. All ties, then, will be broken by a series of measures. The first tiebreaker is the outcome of the season series. Even with Friday night's victory, the Braves are on the wrong side of the ledger in that respect, as the Mets have won nine of the 17 contests. The Braves would have to sweep the series in order for them to possess the tiebreaker.
4. Wright, Scherzer to square off
The two sides will meet again on Saturday, with breakout right-hander Kyle Wright going up against ace Max Scherzer. Wright will enter with a 3.18 ERA in his first 29 appearances this season. Scherzer, for his part, has a 2.13 ERA in 22 starts. The winner of this contest will be in sole possession of first place in the division for the night.