By GEORGE HENRY, Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) — Ozzie Albies watched the ball sail into the right-field seats and savored the moment.
“It feels great,” he said. “I just see the ball going and I just enjoyed it.”
Albies hit a grand slam and Freddie Freeman homered during a six-run sixth inning, and the Atlanta Braves beat the reeling New York Mets 8-2 on Tuesday night.
Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz pitched five scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out six, but left the game after batting in the fifth with triceps tightness. He told reporters that “it’s nothing to worry about” and that he’ll make his next scheduled start.
Ender Inciarte added a pair of RBI singles to help Atlanta shake a rough West Coast trip, when it lost four of six. The Braves moved ahead of Washington for first in the NL East by beating a Mets team that has lost nine of 10 and 16 of 20
The Braves led 1-0 in the fourth on Inciarte’s RBI single. New York went up 2-1 in the sixth on Jay Bruce’s two-run ground-rule double, but that was it for the Mets, who have scored 10 runs in their last 78 innings.
Freeman’s 13th homer in the bottom half of the inning tied it, and Inciarte’s single put the Braves ahead for good. A walk to pinch-hitter Preston Tucker loaded the bases and chased starter Zack Wheeler (2-5), and Albies cleared the bases with his 16th homer, coming off Paul Sewald, for a 7-2 lead.
Albies is the first player 21 or younger to hit multiple grand slams in a season since Adrian Beltre hit two for the Dodgers in 2000. He’s the second Braves second baseman with two grand slams in a season, joining Davey Johnson in 1973.
Albies, the NL leader in extra-base hits and runs, had been scuffling with a .125 average since June 1.
“The last two games he’s had some really good at-bats,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “You know what he’s capable of. He’s a dynamic young man.”
Shane Carle (4-1) faced just one batter to get the win. Devin Mesoraco grounded sharply to third baseman Johan Camargo, who lunged to his right to tag Asdrubal Cabrera and made a low throw from his knees that Freeman dug out at first for a double play.
Wheeler allowed eight hits, six runs, four walks and struck out two in 5 2/3 innings.
Foltynewicz, who pitched his first career complete game in his last home start, hit the first batter Tuesday before retiring 13 straight. Mesoraco and Dominic Smith each singled with one out in the top of the fifth, but Foltynewicz escaped trouble with a pair of popups.
Braves pitching coach Chuck Hernandez noticed Foltynewicz was uncomfortable, shaking his right arm after making a pitch. After Foltynewicz acknowledged the triceps were tight, Snitker decided to take him out.
TAKE A SEAT
Mickey Callaway was ejected for the first time as Mets manager after arguing with home plate umpire Stu Scheurwater in the top of the sixth. Brandon Nimmo was hit by Jesse Biddle’s pitch on his elbow, but Scheurwater ruled he did not attempt to get out of the way and declined to award Nimmo first base. Callaway was thrown out while standing near the right-hand side of the batter’s box. “Obviously they thought Nim put his elbow out in front of the plate to get hit on purpose, but the ball was in the batter’s box, kind of at our player,” Callaway said.
Nick Markakis went 3 for 4 and added an RBI double in the seventh to make it 8-2. … Freeman improved to 8 for 16 with 10 walks against Wheeler. … New York’s bullpen has a 6.68 ERA in its last 17 games. … Smith, in his first major league game this season, went 1 for 3 with two strikeouts.
Mets: Cabrera was back in the lineup, going 0 for 4 after leaving Sunday’s win over the Yankees in the third inning with left hamstring tightness. Callaway said he will likely give Cabrera an off day with a 12:10 p.m. start on Wednesday.
Braves: LF Ronald Acuna Jr. is hitting off a tee, swinging in the batting cage and running, but has yet to resume what manager vigorous baseball activities. It will be Thursday, at the earliest, before the 20-year-old begins a rehab assignment. Acuna, sidelined 14 games with a left ACL sprain and bruises to his left knee and lower back, said through a translator that he feels no pain when he runs, swings and throws.
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (4-1, 1.57 ERA) leads the majors since April 21 with a 0.81 ERA — a span of nine starts and 55 1/3 innings — but New York has lost his past four outings. He is 5-3 with a 1.84 ERA in 14 career starts against Atlanta.
Braves: Snitker said RHP Mike Soroka will be on a 90-pitch limit while returning from a shoulder strain that’s sidelined him since May 12. Soroka made his first career start May 1, allowing six hits and one run in six innings to beat the Mets in New York.
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