After nearly coming all the way back from an eight-run deficit Friday night, the Mets made things much easier for themselves to start their doubleheader Saturday.
They grabbed the lead in the first inning, kept adding to it and got a strong spot start from David Peterson to capture an 8-5 win over the Braves in Game 1 of the twin bill at Citi Field.
Francisco Lindor powered the offense, continuing to swing a hot bat by going 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored. The shortstop led a lineup that piled up 13 hits and went 7-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
That was enough for Peterson and four Mets relievers. On a day when the bullpen was short, Peterson worked around some early traffic to deliver 5 ¹/₃ scoreless innings — earning him a standing ovation as he walked off the mound in the sixth inning.
Despite leading 8-2 entering the ninth, the Mets were forced to bring in Edwin Diaz with two on and one out after the Braves closed within 8-4 against Yoan Lopez. But Diaz needed just seven pitches to lock it down.
With the win, the Mets (68-39) improved to 30-9 following a loss and regained their 4 ¹/₂-game lead over the Braves (64-44) atop the NL East heading into the nightcap.
A day after four relievers had to cover eight innings in a 9-6 loss, the Mets lined up Peterson for Game 1 and Max Scherzer to square off against Max Fried for Game 2. Scherzer has previously taken on the responsibility of starting the nightcap of a doubleheader so he would know what kind of position a tired bullpen might be in and help pick up the slack.
Peterson, who was called up from Triple-A Syracuse before the game, got himself into a jam in the first inning when he loaded the bases with two outs. But the lefty escaped by getting Robbie Grossman to line out to Lindor.
The Mets then jumped on Braves trade deadline acquisition Jake Odorizzi in the bottom of the first for a 2-0 lead.
Starling Marte got the rally started when he took a 93 mph fastball off his left forearm, though he remained in the game. Lindor, Pete Alonso and Daniel Vogelbach followed with three consecutive singles, the last two each driving in a run to put the Mets ahead.
Lindor led off the third inning with a single and later took second on an errant pickoff attempt by Odorizzi with two outs. Jeff McNeil then made Odorizzi pay, lining a single to right field to make it 3-0.
After Peterson stranded a runner at third base in both the fourth and fifth innings, the Mets knocked Odorizzi out of the game with two outs in the fifth inning, an important feat in the first game of a doubleheader.
In the sixth inning, Lindor came within inches of a three-run homer, but his fly ball to dead center field hit off the top of the wall, making him settle for a two-run double and the 5-0 lead.
The Braves finally pushed a pair of runs across in the seventh inning off Seth Lugo and Adam Ottavino, but the Mets came right back in the bottom of the frame with an answer. James McCann and Marte connected for RBI singles before Lindor hit a sacrifice fly to put the Mets up 8-2.