ATLANTA (AP) — Ronald Acuña Jr. couldn’t have asked for a better time to end his personal hitting slump and the Braves’ home losing streak.
Acuña homered on the first pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Braves beat the New York Mets 5-4 on Wednesday night after blowing an early two-run lead.
Acuña’s plan was to end the game in the ninth.
“To be honest, every time one of those situations comes up I tell everybody or I tell whoever is listening that I’m going to end it, it’s over,” Acuña said through a translator.
The homer ended an 0-for-13 drought for Acuña, though he also had two walks before his ninth-inning drive.
Acuña drilled the first pitch he saw from Jacob Barnes (1-1) to center field for his NL-leading 13th homer.
“As soon as I hit it, I knew it was out,” Acuña said. “I turned and told everybody, `It’s over! It’s over!’”
Barnes had two strikeouts in the eighth before returning for a very brief ninth. He feared the worst when Acuña took a big swing.
“When he hit it, I knew there was a chance,” Barnes said. “I wasn’t sure it was out or not.”
The Mets were denied a sweep of the three-game series. Atlanta snapped a five-game losing streak in home games after dropping a season-worst four games under .500 overall.
“If there was ever a timely win, this was probably it,” manager Brian Snitker said.
Pinch-hitter Tomás Nido gave New York a 4-3 lead with a two-run single in the seventh.
The Braves pulled even in the eighth. Aaron Loup gave up three hits, including a run-scoring single by William Contreras, without getting an out. Dansby Swanson was caught stealing at third base on a strong throw by catcher James McCann for the second out of the inning.
The Mets wasted a scoring opportunity in the ninth. Cameron Maybin struck out but reached first on a wild pitch from Will Smith (1-4). Maybin, making his Mets debut after being acquired from the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday for $1, stole second and moved to third on another wild pitch before McCann and José Peraza popped out to end the inning.
The Braves snapped a five-game home losing streak.
The Mets trailed 3-1 before Braves left-hander A.J. Minter’s throwing error set the stage for three unearned runs — all with two outs — in the seventh. Nido’s bloop single to shallow center off Luke Jackson drove in two runs.
David Peterson gave up three runs in 4 2/3 innings.
Jonathan Villar’s leadoff homer in the fourth gave the Mets a 1-0 lead.
Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard allowed one hit in four scoreless innings for Class A St. Lucie during his first rehabilitation start in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. “He threw really well,” manager Luis Rojas said. “It was a very successful start.” … RHP Taijuan Walker (left side tightness) was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Tuesday. … RHP Jacob deGrom (lower back tightness) played catch without problems before the game and will make a rehab start for St. Lucie on Thursday. … 3B J.D. Davis (sprained left hand) went 1 for 3 in a rehab game with Triple-A Syracuse.
Braves: LHP Grant Dayton (thigh inflammation) was activated from the 10-day injured list. LHP Tucker Davidson was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett. … The team acquired C Kevan Smith from Tampa Bay for cash. Smith, 32, was designated for assignment by the Rays on Sunday. C Jeff Mathis was designated for assignment.
ALONSO HAS SORE WRIST
Rojas disclosed after the game that 1B Pete Alonso was unavailable due to soreness in his left wrist instead of just rest. It was the first game Alonso missed this season, and the Mets hope he’ll feel better following an off day on Thursday.
“We agreed on giving him the day off today,” Rojas said, adding the team “will reassess” how Alonso feels on Friday.
Rojas said X-rays on the wrist were negative.
STRONG START FOR MORTON
Charlie Morton left with a 3-1 lead after allowing only two hits in six innings. The right-hander had eight strikeouts and no walks while adding a run-scoring single in the Braves’ three-run fifth.
Mets: Following an off day Thursday, the Mets will continue their nine-game road trip when they open a weekend series at Miami on Friday night. RHP Marcus Stroman (3-4, 2.72 ERA) is New York’s scheduled starter.
Braves: LHP Drew Smyly (2-2, 5.23 ERA) is scheduled to start when the Braves open a four-game series against RHP Wil Crowe (0-2, 4.35) and the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday night.
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