By LARRY FLEISHER
NEW YORK (AP) — Rookie David Peterson struck out NL batting leader Freddie Freeman three times and fanned a career-high 10 in six sharp innings as the New York Mets beat the Atlanta Braves 7-2 Saturday night.
Atlanta saw its NL East lead over second-place Miami drop to 2 1/2 games. The Braves have eight games remaining, the Marlins nine.
The Mets moved to within 1 1/2 games of the NL’s last playoff spot with eight games left.
A night after New York’s 15-2 loss ended with infielder Todd Frazier pitching a 1-2-3 ninth, Peterson (5-2) fanned Freeman in the first, third and fifth innings.
“Freddie, he’s been one of the best hitters, if not the best hitters in the National League so far in this season,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “He’s definitely a tough matchup and Petey, he was able to mix well against him.”
Peterson allowed one run and three hits and threw a career-high 102 pitches. The left-hander also matched his longest outing and went six innings for the second time against Atlanta.
Adam Duvall homered in the Atlanta sixth.
Peterson got Freeman to foul tip a fastball into catcher Robinson Chirinos’ glove after he picked off Ronald Acuña Jr. in the first. In the third with Acuña on first, Peterson fanned Freeman on a slider and in the fifth with Austin Riley on second, he got the star first baseman on another slider.
“He’s been around a while for a reason,” Peterson said. “He’s a great hitter and a tough out. Like you saw tonight it was just mixing things up, fastball, slider, left on left changeup.”
“It takes everything to get that guy out. He’s a great hitter and a great player in this league. It was good to have success tonight,” he said.
Freeman struck out four times for the second time this season. He had four strikeouts July 28 at Tampa Bay.
Freeman, who began the game batting .359, hit an inning-ending double play in the seventh with the bases loaded on a 1-0 pitch against Justin Wilson. Freeman struck out in the ninth to end it.
“He’s not an easy AB for anybody,” Wilson said. “He’s a great hitter, it’s been proven. Luckily, he hit it hard enough to Robbie.”
Freeman’s 12-game hitting streak ended and his batting average dropped to .349. He leads Washington’s Juan Soto by 11 points in the batting race.
The MVP candidate also saw his on-base streak ended at 33 games, the longest in the majors this season on the same day Braves legend Chipper Jones tweeted his support for Freeman’s MVP candidacy.
Robinson Canó had three hits, including a two-run double off rookie Ian Anderson (3-1) after the Mets opened the game with three straight walks. He added a solo homer in the eighth after Dominic Smith opened the inning with a homer off Shane Greene, who allowed multiple runs for the first time in 31 appearances.
“He’s had an unbelievable, spectacular year,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of Greene. “Unfortunately, you keep going out there, that might happen once in a while.”
Brandon Nimmo had a two-run single and Chirinos added an RBI single for the Mets.
Anderson allowed three runs on four hits in 4 2/3 innings. He got eight strikeouts but also issued four walks.
“It didn’t start the way I wanted, walking the first three guys, but I managed to get through four and change,” Anderson said.
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (right hamstring spasm) threw his second side session Saturday and is set to start Monday against Tampa Bay. DeGrom will likely have two starts in to enhance his bid for a third straight National League Cy Young Award. … RHP Corey Oswalt was activated from the 10-day injured list. … RHP Franklyn Kilomé was optioned to the alternate training site.
Braves: RHP Kyle Wright (1-4, 7.20 ERA) makes his seventh start Sunday. He picked up his first career win last Sunday in Washington when he allowed four runs in six innings.
Mets: RHP Rick Porcello (1-5. 6.06 ERA) starts Sunday. Porcello has allowed 11 runs (nine earned) over six innings in two starts against Atlanta this season.