Mets nip Braves after Brett Baty homers in first MLB at-bat

ATLANTA — Brett Baty needed only his first swing to announce his major league arrival Wednesday night.

The product of that swing was a ball that disappeared for a home run over the right-field fence at Truist Park, bringing with it a hope the Mets have a rookie who can contribute to this pennant race and beyond.

As for debuts go, Baty crushed it. He became just the fifth player in franchise history to homer in his first major league at-bat, helping the Mets to a much-needed 9-7 victory over the Braves.

Brett Baty is mobbed by Mets teammate after hitting a homer in his first big-league at-bat in the Amazin's 9-7 win over the Braves.
Brett Baty is mobbed by Mets teammate after hitting a homer in his first big-league at-bat in the Amazin’s 9-7 win over the Braves.
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Baty wasn’t alone in displaying power on this night: Starling Marte homered twice and Francisco Lindor hit another to help lead the Mets’ 14-hit attack. After producing one run combined in losing the first two games of this series, the Mets snapped their skid and moved 4 ½ games ahead of the Braves in the NL East.

The 22-year-old Baty, the organization’s No. 2 prospect, behind catcher Francisco Alvarez, was selected from Triple-A Syracuse before the game after Eduardo Escobar was placed on the injured list with a left oblique strain.

Batting eighth, Baty came to the plate for the first time in the second inning and took a pitch for a ball against Jake Odorizzi before jumping on a curveball for a homer. He joined Benny Ayala, Mike Fitzgerald, Kaz Matsui and Mike Jacobs as the only Mets to homer in his first major league at-bat.

“Just pure joy,” Baty said when asked about his emotions rounding the bases. “Just being able to help this ballclub out in my first at-bat and looking up and seeing my family up there and celebrating it with them. Pure joy for sure.”

Max Scherzer was in the tunnel after pitching the first inning and by the sounds he heard, he knew Baty had accomplished something special.

“It gives him a lot of confidence to continue to play and he probably thinks he belongs here,” Scherzer said. “That is the good thing. That is what we need from this team. Escobar gets hurt, we call up the next guy and he goes out there and produces. That is what we have been doing this whole season and it’s great to see Baty gets a chance and he goes out there and does it.”

Baty was still in full uniform an hour after the game ended, talking with his “support staff” of 20-25 family members, friends and former coaches who had come to watch his debut. Baty, as he stood at his locker with a soaked uniform, was asked if his teammates had pushed him into the shower.

Max Scherzer allowed four runs but still picked up his ninth win of the season.
Max Scherzer allowed four runs but still picked up his ninth win of the season.
PA

“I don’t know anything about that,” he said smiling.

In the sixth inning, Baty hit a shot that registered 113 mph off the bat against lefty Tyler Matzek, but it went for a fielder’s choice groundout. He finished the night 1-for-4.

“I told myself when I got out there on defense I was just going to take a look around and soak it all in and that is what I did,” Baty said. “I thought maybe I was going to hit in the first inning, but it didn’t get to me, so I went out on the field and took a look around and it was unbelievable.”

After a 34-minute rain delay, Scherzer returned in the third inning. He lasted 6 ¹/₃ innings, allowing four earned runs on three hits with eight strikeouts and three walks for win No. 199 in his career. The right-hander retired 13 straight batters before walking Eddie Rosario in the seventh to start the rally that brought the Braves within a run at 6-5.

Marte and Lindor hit consecutive homers in the first inning that gave the Mets a 2-0 lead. Lindor’s homer was his 21st of the season. Mark Canha doubled to lead off the second inning before Baty blasted the Mets’ third homer of the game.

Starling Marte salutes after the first of his two homers in the Mets' victory.
Starling Marte salutes after hitting the first of his two homers in the Mets’ victory.
PA

After Jeff McNeil’s leadoff single in the sixth, Canha delivered an RBI double that gave the Mets a 5-1 lead. Odorizzi was removed after allowing five earned runs on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts over five-plus innings.

Marte’s second homer of the night, a solo blast in the seventh against Tyler Matzek, put the Braves in a 6-1 hole.

Adam Ottavino surrendered a three-run homer to Robbie Grossman in the seventh that erased most of what had been a 6-1 Mets lead. Edwin Diaz and Trevor May combined to get the final six outs, though May surrendered two runs in the ninth.

The Mets received insurance runs in the ninth on Pete Alonso’s two-run single and Daniel Vogelbach’s RBI double. Nimmo and Lindor each singled in the inning.

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