Mets, Jerad Eickhoff pounded by rival Braves

Help might be on the way, but at least for one more night, the Mets took one on the chin with a fill-in starting pitcher on the mound. Jerad Eickhoff, who last week was designated for assignment by...

Help might be on the way, but at least for one more night, the Mets took one on the chin with a fill-in starting pitcher on the mound.

Jerad Eickhoff, who last week was designated for assignment by the Mets for the second time this season, re-signed with the team on Tuesday and served as a punching bag for 3 ¹/₃ innings.

With the Mets in need of fresh arms, Eickhoff recorded only 10 outs while getting shelled for 10 runs by the Braves in a 12-5 loss at Citi Field.

In an important five-game series leading into Friday’s trade deadline, the Mets (53-46) have now lost two of the first three games to the Braves (50-51), who they are trying to push further down the standings in the NL East. Instead the Braves inched back to four games behind the first-place Mets.

The Mets had already asked their bullpen to handle a heavy workload of late, which was part of the reason why Eickhoff remained in the game as long as he did. Mets relievers were responsible for covering nine innings in Monday’s doubleheader, including all seven in the nightcap, a bullpen game.

Jerad Eickhoff reacts dejectedly in the dugout after getting yanked by Luis Rojas (background) in the third inning of the Mets’ 12-6 loss to the Braves.
Jason Szenes

Making his first start since July 19 — he was designated for assignment the next day and elected free agency, only to land back with the Mets on Tuesday — Eickhoff got tagged for three home runs and walked five batters (one intentional), all of which came around to score. He began his night by hitting the first batter he faced and it didn’t get much better from there.

The Braves scored two runs in each of the first three innings — including two-run homers by Ozzie Albies and Abraham Almonte — before delivering the knockout punch in the fourth to finally put Eickhoff out of his misery.

Braves pitcher Charlie Morton led off the inning with a single, followed by an Ehire Adrianza double. Eickhoff then struck out Albies before intentionally walking Freddie Freeman to load the bases and set up a potential double play.

But Eickhoff’s next pitch never even touched the ground, instead getting smoked to the left-field seats by Austin Riley for a grand slam that put the Braves up 10-1.

Dansby Swanson then rocketed another single off Eickhoff, at which point manager Luis Rojas mercifully pulled him after 80 pitches.

Yennsy Diaz relieved Eickhoff and threw the next 2 ²/₃ innings before Drew Smith (two innings) and Anthony Banda finished the game.

Jeff McNeil extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games in the fifth inning when he crushed a two-run homer off Morton to make it 10-3.

Riley answered back in the sixth inning with his second home run of the night, clobbering a Diaz changeup for a two-run shot that put the Braves ahead 12-3.

Brandon Drury, who was double-switched into the game in the fourth inning when Eickhoff came out, ripped a two-run home run of his own in the seventh inning off Edgar Santana to get the Mets within 12-5.

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

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