Mets aim to continue hot hitting against Braves

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Just as the New York Mets were beginning to accept the fact they’d have to rely on some old-school small ball to generate offense until at least some of their everyday players returned form the injured list, the fill-ins went and had the Mets’ biggest and most powerful game of the year Saturday night.

The Mets will look to build off a long-awaited outburst Sunday night when they host the Atlanta Braves in the finale of a series shortened from three games to two due to rain.

Ace right-hander Jacob deGrom (3-2, 0.80 ERA) is expected to take the mound on his usual four days rest. deGrom would start in place of left-hander David Peterson, who was scheduled to start Saturday before Friday’s series opener was postponed due to rain.

Left-hander Max Fried (2-2, 4.63 ERA) is slated to start for the Braves, though rain is in the forecast all day into the early evening.

Taijuan Walker (side soreness) returned from the injured list by tossing five scoreless innings Saturday, when the Mets hit a season-high five homers and cruised to a 13-2 win over the Braves. The runs were the most — and the margin of victory the largest — for New York since an 18-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays last Sept. 11.

The 13 runs also were more than the Mets, who have 16 players on the injured list — including six position players who started on Opening Day — scored in their previous six games combined. New York’s seven-run sixth inning included a pinch-hit two-run homer by Brandon Drury, who was promoted from Triple-A Syracuse on May 21, and a three-run homer by Billy McKinney, who was acquired Tuesday from the Milwaukee Brewers.

“It’s kind of been that next man up mentality,” Walker said. “We know we’ve got a lot of injuries right now, but every guy that’s come in — that we’ve acquired or came up from the minor leagues — they’ve all done their part and we’ve all just kind of had each other’s backs.”

The Braves have scored just eight runs in 24 innings since All-Star left fielder Marcell Ozuna broke a pair of fingers on his left hand sliding into third base against the Boston Red Sox in the third inning Tuesday night. But Atlanta may be without the Ozuna for much longer than the six weeks he was projected to miss.

Ozuna was arrested in Sandy Springs, Ga., Saturday afternoon and charged with aggravated assault and misdemeanor battery. The 30-year-old, in the first year of a four-year deal, likely will be subject to investigation by Major League Baseball and a potential suspension under the domestic violence policy.

“We learned of Marcell Ozuna’s arrest earlier this evening and immediately informed the Commissioner’s Office,” the Braves said in a statement Saturday night. “The Braves fully support Major League Baseball’s policy on domestic violence, which stresses to the fullest that our society cannot and will not tolerate domestic violence in any form.”

Now, the Braves have the chore of facing deGrom, who returned from the injured list (side soreness) Tuesday. He didn’t factor into the decision after allowing one run over five innings with nine strikeouts in the Mets’ 3-1 win over the Colorado Rockies. Most recently, Fried earned the victory May 23, when he gave up one run over seven innings as the Braves beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-1.

deGrom is 8-7 with a 1.94 ERA in 23 career starts against the Braves. Fried is 3-2 with a 2.73 ERA in 14 games (nine starts) against the Mets.

–Field Level Media