Álvarez's clutch hit sends Mets past Braves 5-3 for DH split

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NEW YORK (AP) — Francisco Álvarez hit a go-ahead, two-run double in the sixth inning and the New York Mets beat Atlanta 5-3 to split a doubleheader Monday after Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr. exited the nightcap early with a bruised shoulder.

Sean Murphy had a pair of three-run homers in the opener, powering the Braves to a 9-8 victory after the teams were rained out the previous two days.

In the first game, Acuña launched a 448-foot home run into the rarely reached third deck at Citi Field and finished a triple shy of the cycle. Leading off the second game, he was drilled in the left shoulder with a 93 mph fastball from Tylor Megill on an 0-2 count.

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Acuña sat on the ground for a while holding his shoulder in obvious pain while receiving attention from an athletic trainer. He walked back to the dugout and was replaced by pinch-runner Kevin Pillar.

The win was just the second in eight games for the Mets, who snapped a six-game losing streak to their NL East rivals. The Braves won their fifth straight division title last year after sweeping New York on the final weekend of the regular season.

Daniel Vogelbach hit an RBI double in the nightcap and Starling Marte had a run-scoring single to stake the Mets to a 2-0 lead. Drew Smith (2-1) tossed 1 1/3 hitless innings in relief of Megill, who carried a shutout into the sixth before giving up a three-run double to Eddie Rosario.

Jeff McNeil homered leading off the eighth to provide insurance for the Mets.

David Robertson worked two scoreless innings for his sixth save — the fourth six-out save of his career.

Atlanta starter Charlie Morton (3-3) walked the first two batters in the sixth and was charged with four runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Pete Alonso hit a three-run homer in the opener for the Mets, trimming an early five-run deficit to 6-4. Brett Baty and pinch-hitter Eduardo Escobar also went deep.

“In this profession, you’ve got to put the good and bad behind you quickly,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said after the opener. “Our guys are a little frustrated after the game because we like our chances with eight runs. But that’s a good offensive team over there.”

Murphy, whose six RBIs in the first game tied a career high, singled in his first two at-bats in the nightcap before factoring into the sixth-inning rally against Megill. Murphy walked with two outs and slid in just under Álvarez’s tag with the go-ahead run on Rosario’s bases-loaded double to right-center.

The two-homer game was Murphy’s third as a big leaguer.

“That’s a strong man, I’ll tell you that,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s a threat every time he goes up there.”

Pillar had a two-run shot and Spencer Strider (4-0) earned the win after allowing four runs in five innings.

Strider struck out eight — snapping his team-record streak of nine straight starts with at least nine strikeouts. He fell two games short of the major league mark held by Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan.

A.J. Minter gave up Escobar’s solo homer with two outs in the ninth before retiring Baty on a line drive to right field for his sixth save.

Mets opener Denyi Reyes (0-1) gave up five runs in one-plus inning and was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse between games. It was his second big league start and first for New York.


Mets: RHP Stephen Nogosek (left elbow bone bruise) was activated from the 15-day injured list and tossed 2 2/3 innings of one-hit relief. … Showalter said RHP Carlos Carrasco (right elbow) could return to the rotation next week.


New York had won 42 straight games when scoring at least seven runs. ... The Mets have not been swept in their last 25 doubleheaders, sweeping 10 and splitting 15.


Mets RHP José Butto was added as the 27th player on the roster for the second game and LHP Zach Muckenhirn was selected from Syracuse. RHP Stephen Ridings was transferred to the 60-day injured list.

The Braves added LHP Danny Young as their 27th man for the second game.


Braves: RHP Bryce Elder (2-0, 2.17 ERA) opposes reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara on Tuesday night in Miami.

Mets: LHP Joey Lucchesi (1-0, 2.19 ERA) makes his third start of the season Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series at Detroit.


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Jerry Beach, The Associated Press