NEW YORK -- For the first time since he began subbing for the superstars in New York's rotation, Logan Verrett was unable to make the Mets forget about Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom. Verrett gave up four runs in the fifth inning Tuesday at Citi Field, including a three-run homer to Hector Olivera, dropping the Mets to a 6-2 loss to the Braves.
Combined with Washington's loss to the Orioles, which lowered the Mets' magic number to six, the defeat kept their National League East lead at 6.5 games with 11 to play. The Mets are a half-game back of the Dodgers in the race for home-field advantage in their potential NL Division Series matchup, after the D-backs defeated Los Angeles on Tuesday, 8-0.
"I don't think we're tight," third baseman David Wright said. "There's just going to be some games where we get outplayed, and tonight was one of them."
Subbing for deGrom, whom the Mets pushed back in their rotation to lighten his workload, Verrett held the Braves scoreless until Jace Peterson homered to start the fifth. Five batters later, Olivera added a three-run shot to spoil Verrett's day.
That made a winner out of Braves rookie Matt Wisler, who pitched into the eighth to snap a seven-game losing streak.
"We aren't chasing a playoff berth, but we're here to play hard and we're not here to give games away," Olivera said through his interpreter, Alex Cotto. "We work hard and we're going to play hard. We're going to try to win every game that we can."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Rookie settles in: Wisler appeared to be in trouble when he allowed Wright's solo home run and a Daniel Murphy double before recording his second out of the night. But the poised rookie gathered himself and retired 20 of the final 25 batters he faced, while notching a career-high eight strikeouts. He walked Curtis Granderson to open the eighth, and then anxiously watched as the Mets ended up scoring just one run after loading the bases with one out. More >
Swing and a drive: For the first time since 2013, Wright homered to the opposite field when he took Wisler deep for a solo shot to right-center in the first inning. Wright also made a nifty play when he barehanded an Olivera grounder on defense in the third, firing across the infield diamond for the out. More >
Fifth-inning power: Peterson opened the four-run fifth with his first home run since going deep on Aug. 2-3. But the big blow came from Olivera, whose three-run shot proved decisive and served as the second homer of his young career. Statcast™ projected Olivera's home run to land 418 feet away. This marked just the second time in the past 25 games that the Braves hit two homers in an entire game.
"I don't even know when the last time it was we hit two home runs in one game, let alone in one inning," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "That was a big four-spot there." More >
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Murphy hit the 225th and 226th doubles of his career, passing Ed Kranepool for the second-most in franchise history. Wright is the Mets' all-time leader with 381 doubles.
Wisler has produced a 2.25 ERA in the four starts he's made against New York teams (the Mets and Yankees). He has compiled a 6.85 ERA in his other 13 starts this year.
IT'S NOTHING PERSONAL, A.J. Michael Conforto threw out A.J. Pierzynski in the sixth inning for his sixth outfield assist in 47 games. That is tied for the NL rookie lead with Washington's Michael Taylor, who has played in 128 games. Two innings later, he made a diving catch in left field to rob Pierzynski of a hit.
WHAT'S NEXT Braves:Williams Perez will take the mound when Atlanta and New York conclude their three-game series on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Perez has allowed three earned runs or less and pitched into the sixth inning in each of his three previous starts against the Mets.
Mets:Bartolo Colon, who quietly leads the Mets in wins and innings pitched, will look to continue stating his case for the playoff roster when the Mets conclude their series with the Braves. Colon is unlikely to win a rotation spot in October, but could still pitch his way into the bullpen.