Mets bust out in blowout win over Braves

Taijuan Walker delivered five shutout innings and the Mets bats took care of the rest, teeing off on the Braves for five home runs in their fourth straight win, 13-2, on a chilly Saturday night at...

The Mets’ rotation got healthier Saturday night, when Taijuan Walker returned to action and continued to dominate as he had before he joined the team’s crowded injured list.

The Mets’ lineup remained beat-up, but the rag-tag group of hitters and two underperforming stars came together for an offensive explosion anyway.

Walker delivered five shutout innings, and the bats took care of the rest, teeing off on the Braves for five home runs in the Mets’ fourth straight win, 13-2, on a chilly night at Citi Field.

James McCann led the charge with a four-hit effort, adding two RBIs and two runs while falling a triple short of the cycle. McCann hit the Mets’ first home run of the game, and Francisco Lindor crushed the last — an encouraging performance for the two big offseason acquisitions who have largely struggled this season.

Jonathan Villar, Brandon Drury and Billy McKinney also homered for the Mets, who piled up a season-high 13 runs on 13 hits to turn what was a tight game for the first four innings into a laugher.

James McCann celebrates with teammates after belting a solo home run in the Mets’ 13-2 blowout win over the Braves.
Robert Sabo

Walker, meanwhile, picked up where he left off by striking out eight and allowing just three baserunners while lowering his ERA to 1.84 through nine starts.

The Mets (25-20) extended their lead atop the NL East, now leading both the Braves (24-26) and Phillies by a season-high 3.5 games. Between injuries and a lack of production from their stars, little has gone according to plan so far for the Mets, yet strong pitching has largely been the backbone for their claim to the top spot in the division.

Walker was activated off the IL before the game to make his first start since May 17, when he left a game in Atlanta after three innings with tightness in his left side. He had settled into a groove before the injury and fell right back into it Saturday as he allowed one run or fewer for the fifth time in his past six starts.

The Mets’ rotation, even without a single pitch thrown by Carlos Carrasco or Noah Syndergaard, now owns an ERA of 2.79 through 45 games.

McCann, starting at first base for the fourth time in five games, gave the Mets a 1-0 lead with his third home run of the season and second in the past five games. He added a rocket of a double off Braves starter Ian Anderson in the third inning and scored on Dominic Smith’s RBI single to make it 2-0.

After just missing out on a grand slam in the second inning, Villar got his home run in the fifth, crushing a solo shot into the apple in center field for a 3-0 lead.

Lindor followed with a bunt single before McCann picked up his third hit of the night with a single. Lindor came in to score on Tomas Nido’s fielder’s choice to make it 4-0.

The Braves got a run back in the sixth inning off Miguel Castro, as Guillermo Heredia doubled and eventually scored from third on a wild pitch.

But the Mets kept adding to their lead in the bottom of the sixth with a seven-run rally. After Cameron Maybin recorded his first hit with the team — a squibber down the third base line — to snap an 0-for-27 start, Drury smashed a pinch-hit home run to push the Mets ahead 6-1.

A pair of run-scoring singles by McCann and Nido continued the inning before McKinney drilled his first home run in a Mets uniform, a three-run shot to make it 11-1.

Lindor added his fourth home run of the season in the seventh inning as the Mets continued to obliterate the Braves’ bullpen.

This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Greg Joyce

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