Home » Entries posted by MIKE FITZPATRICK AP Baseball Writer

Alonso, McNeil lead Mets past Blue Jays 5-4 in Hill's debut

Alonso, McNeil lead Mets past Blue Jays 5-4 in Hill's debut

Pete Alonso homered again, pinch-hitter Jeff McNeil broke a tie with a two-run double and the New York Mets beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 in a successful debut for new starter Rich HillBy MIKE FITZPATRICK AP Baseball WriterJuly 25, 2021, 9:07 PM• 4 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleNEW YORK — Pete Alonso homered again, pinch-hitter Jeff McNeil broke a tie with a two-run double and the New York Mets beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 on Sunday in a successful debut for new starter Rich Hill.Acquired from Tampa Bay in a trade Friday, the 41-year-old Hill gave New York’s injury-thinned rotation precisely the boost the NL East leaders were seeking.Five relievers followed Hill and held Toronto to one run over four innings. Edwin Díaz struck out three in a hitless ninth, fanning cleanup batter Bo Bichette on a full-count slider with a runner on second for his 21st save in 26 chances.Hill threw only 49 pitches over the first five innings and worked around three leadoff doubles, carrying a four-hit shutout into the sixth before running into trouble the third time through Toronto’s power-packed lineup.The veteran curveballer, pitching for his 11th team in 17 major league seasons, let the first three batters reach in the sixth and was removed. He walked off the mound with the bases loaded to a warm ovation from the Citi Field crowd of 23,675.Seth Lugo (3-1) allowed all three inherited runners to score, two on Bichette’s two-run single, as the Blue Jays took a 3-1 lead. But then Lugo limited the damage, and Alonso tied it in the bottom half with a two-run drive off reliever Ryan Borucki and looked into the Mets’ dugout with his palms up as he began rounding the bases.Alonso hit three homers as New York took two of three in the series. He has five home runs since the All-Star break, when he repeated as Home Run Derby champion.McNeil gave the Mets a 5-3 lead later in the inning and extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games with a shot to the right-center gap off Jacob Barnes (1-2), who was traded by the Mets to the Blue Jays in June.Toronto trimmed it to 5-4 in the eighth on an RBI single by Teoscar Hernández off Trevor Mat, who combined with Aaron Loup to escape a bases-loaded, one-out jam. Loup retired Cavan Biggio on a fly ball to end the inning.Toronto stranded nine runners, finished 14-4 in interleague play this season and fell to 2-14 all-time against the Mets in Queens.TRAINER’S ROOMBlue Jays: Pitching coach Pete Walker said rookie RHP Alek Manoah will rejoin the rotation after throwing 60-75 pitches in a simulated game Monday in Florida. Manoah has been nursing a bruise on the right side of his back.Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (forearm tightness) threw off a mound and felt good, according to manager Luis Rojas. He said deGrom is progressing, but his next step hadn’t been determined yet and no decision will be made on whether to schedule a minor league rehab assignment until the two-time Cy Young Award winner goes “full tilt” off a mound. … RHP Carlos Carrasco could finally be ready to join the Mets after a strong rehab start Sunday for Triple-A Syracuse. The 34-year-old Carrasco struck out six and walked none in three scoreless innings of two-hit ball against Buffalo. He threw 32 of 38 pitches for strikes following a rough outing last time out. Carrasco has been sidelined all season recovering from a hamstring injury after coming over from Cleveland in the January trade that also brought Francisco Lindor to New York. … McNeil missed his third consecutive start because of left leg fatigue. He might be able to start a game in Monday’s doubleheader against Atlanta, Rojas said.UP NEXTBlue Jays: RHP Thomas Hatch is expected to make his season debut Monday night at Boston against RHP Nick Pivetta (8-4, 4.37 ERA) in the opener of a four-game series.Mets: Begin a five-game home series against Atlanta with a doubleheader Monday. RHP Marcus Stroman (7-8, 2.59) is scheduled to start the opener, with the nightcap TBD. The third-place Braves are five games behind the Mets.———More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Torres, Odor homer to back Taillon as Yanks beat Red Sox 9-1

Torres, Odor homer to back Taillon as Yanks beat Red Sox 9-1

NEW YORK — Ryan LaMarre, Greg Allen and Trey Amburgey.That was the New York Yankees’ starting outfield Sunday night for a critical game against rival Boston.Not exactly the Bronx Bombers of Mantle, Maris and Berra. But not to be taken lightly, either.Gleyber Torres, Rougned Odor and LaMarre homered to back another strong start from Jameson Taillon as the depleted Yankees pulled away for a 9-1 victory over the scuffling Red Sox.Playing without All-Star slugger Aaron Judge and five of his teammates who also tested positive for COVID-19 recently, the Yankees took their second straight from Boston after dropping the first seven meetings this year.“It would have been easy for us to roll over after everything that’s happened,” Taillon said.Taillon (5-4) pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings in his 100th major league start, improving to 4-0 in his past five outings. Chad Green escaped a jam in the sixth to protect a three-run cushion.New York won two of three in a series originally set for four games before Thursday’s scheduled opener was postponed for testing and contact tracing.Boston, which has lost six of eight overall, left town with a half-game lead in the AL East over Tampa Bay, and seven in front of the fourth-place Yankees.“We haven’t hit,” manager Alex Cora said. “We’ve been chasing pitches.”DJ LeMahieu extended his on-base streak to 30 games, longest in the big leagues this season, with a single that set up a third-inning run for New York.LaMarre, just called up from the minors, added a two-run homer in the eighth — his first with the Yankees and first in the majors since September 2019.New York’s no-name outfield began the night with 12 career home runs — fewest for a Yankees starting trio since June 10, 1991.“It’s kind of weird not seeing certain guys’ faces around here, but we have a good environment in there,” Taillon said.Torres hit his fifth homer on an 0-2 pitch from Martín Pérez (7-6) leading off the second. Torres also homered his last time up Saturday night in a 3-1 victory that was called after six innings because of heavy rain. That gave him long balls in consecutive games for the first time since a three-game streak in June 2019.Odor reached on a bunt single leading off the fifth and scored on Allen’s sacrifice fly. He added a two-run homer to make it 5-0 in a four-run seventh that featured five walks, including three in a row — two with the bases loaded.“I think we’re OK,” Pérez said. “We’re one of the best teams in the big leagues.”BEST BEHAVIORThere was no visible trouble between Red Sox players and unruly fans, one night after Boston left fielder Alex Verdugo was hit by a baseball thrown from the Yankee Stadium stands. The fan who threw the ball was banned for life from attending big league games.COUNTING ON YOUStruggling closer Aroldis Chapman worked a 1-2-3 ninth after his first pitch sailed to the backstop. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he would have called on Chapman in a save situation, too.TRAINER’S ROOMRed Sox: 1B Christian Arroyo strained his left hamstring when he went into a split stretching for a throw and is most likely headed to the injured list, Cora said. It was the first career appearance at first base for Arroyo, who was replaced by Bobby Dalbec. … OF/1B Danny Santana (left quadriceps strain) is expected to come off the injured list Monday. … All-Star SS Xander Bogaerts doubled twice after sitting out Saturday night with a sore left wrist. He was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the eighth with Boston trailing 7-0.Yankees: RHP Luis Severino threw 30 pitches to hitters, simulating two innings. “I thought he threw the ball really well. Looks strong, healthy,” Boone said. Severino will likely face hitters again in five or six days before potentially beginning another minor league rehab assignment. He hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2019 after having Tommy John surgery, and his return was slowed because of a groin injured sustained June 12 in a rehab outing. … Boone said RHP Darren O’Day’s season is likely over due to a left hamstring injury. … Boone said all six Yankees players who recently tested positive for the coronavirus are doing pretty well as far as symptoms are concerned. RHP Jonathan Loaisiga, one of those players on the COVID-19 injured list, was expected to fly to New York and rejoin the team by Tuesday. … RHP Michael King (bruised right middle finger) still feels discomfort and won’t throw for another five to seven days. … Amburgey exited after four innings with a right hamstring cramp and was replaced in the lineup by Brett Gardner.WITH A BANGA leaping LaMarre hit the right field wall with a loud thud trying to catch Christian Vázquez’s fifth-inning double and was shaken up. He was checked by Boone and two athletic trainers, but remained in the game.“I told Boonie, `I’m not coming out,’” LaMarre said. “You don’t get too many chances to wear pinstripes.”LaMarre was called up from Triple-A before the game to replace outfielder Tim Locastro, put on the 10-day injured list with a torn right ACL.UP NEXTRed Sox: Shuffle off to Buffalo for the opener of a three-game series Monday night against the division-rival Blue Jays. RHP Nick Pivetta (7-4, 4.30 ERA) faces Toronto RHP Ross Stripling (3-5, 4.34).Yankees: Following an off day, RHP Domingo Germán (4-5, 4.72 ERA) starts Tuesday night at home against Philadelphia RHP Aaron Nola (6-5, 4.53).———More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Yankee Stadium fan banned from MLB parks for hitting Verdugo

Yankee Stadium fan banned from MLB parks for hitting Verdugo

The fan who hit Boston Red Sox left fielder Alex Verdugo with a baseball thrown out of the Yankee Stadium stands has been banned for life from attending big league gamesBy MIKE FITZPATRICK AP Baseball WriterJuly 19, 2021, 1:19 AM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleNEW YORK — The fan who hit Boston Red Sox left fielder Alex Verdugo with a baseball thrown from the Yankee Stadium stands has been banned for life from attending big league games.The decision was confirmed Sunday by spokesmen for both the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball.Red Sox manager Alex Cora briefly pulled his team off the field in the sixth inning Saturday night after Verdugo was struck in the back by a ball thrown from the left-field seats. He was not hurt.“While the Yankees appreciate the spirit and passion of our fans in our various rivalries — especially with the Red Sox – reckless, disorderly and dangerous behavior that puts the safety of players, field staff or fellow fans in jeopardy will not be tolerated,” the Yankees said in a statement Sunday.“There is absolutely no place for it at Yankee Stadium. The safety of everyone at Yankee Stadium, including guests in the stands and players on the field, will always be the top priority for the Yankees organization every time we open our doors.”An angry Verdugo shouted at fans and was restrained by first-base coach Tom Goodwin as the game was held up in a driving rain. The fan was ejected from the ballpark.“When I went out there, it was loud and it got nasty — from both sides,” Cora said Sunday. “I just needed to calm him down. That was the whole reason that I just took everybody off the field. I’m like, where he’s at right now mentally, he’s not going to be able to play right now. No chance.”Verdugo said he tossed the ball into the stands to a young Red Sox fan, but a Yankees fan intercepted it and threw it back onto the field, hitting the outfielder.“It’s awful, embarrassing, unacceptable,” New York manager Aaron Boone said afterward.Verdugo returned to left field when play resumed following a discussion with umpires near Boston’s dugout.“It felt like it was targeted towards me and it don’t sit well with me,” he said.New York won 3-1 in a game called after six innings due to heavy rain.“Obviously the player was upset, understandably so,” umpire crew chief Jeff Nelson told a pool reporter Saturday night. “We tried to make sure that there was a security presence in left field, that the issue was addressed by security, and then also balancing that with continuing the game and keeping the game moving, knowing that we had continuous rain.”NJ.com reported Sunday the fan was not arrested.“I’m surprised that nothing has happened, let’s put it that way,” Cora said.“I’m just glad that (Verdugo’s) OK. He saw the video and all that I guess, and he’s OK,” the manager added. “Obviously yesterday, it wasn’t great for the game, it wasn’t great for the people here. I know how bad they feel. Hopefully it’s the last time that something like that happens.”———More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Alonso's tiebreaking double sends Mets past Brewers 4-2

Alonso's tiebreaking double sends Mets past Brewers 4-2

NEW YORK — Pete Alonso pulled into second base and wind-milled his big arm — a little air guitar on center stage at Citi Field.Halfway through an injury-riddled season, the New York Mets keep hitting the right notes.Alonso broke a seventh-inning tie with a two-run double off All-Star Brandon Woodruff, and the Mets beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 on Monday night in a matchup of National League division leaders.“I like the way we’ve played the entire season,” New York manager Luis Rojas said. “I think we’ve just been consistent.”Edwin Díaz pitched out of trouble in the ninth, retiring three straight batters with two on after giving up an RBI single to Tyrone Taylor.Michael Conforto added an RBI single and Dominic Smith had a sacrifice fly for the Mets, who managed only one hit through six innings against an efficient Woodruff (7-4).Still, they improved to 25-11 at Citi Field with another stingy pitching performance — New York began the day with a major league-best 2.08 ERA at home.The Mets reached the midpoint of the season with a 44-37 record that put them at least four games up in the NL East pending Monday’s late games.“Where we are now is where we want to be at the end of 162,” Alonso said. “I think this team is extremely battle-tested and we’ve earned our spot.“We’re going to have a target on our backs for the entire second half.”Rookie right-hander Tylor Megill, with his parents in the stands for his third big league start, allowed just two hits and two walks in five impressive innings. He struck out seven.“He’s fit right in and really filled a big hole,” Alonso said. “He’s been super clutch for us the way he’s carved guys up.”Omar Narváez homered for the Brewers, who won 11 straight before a 2-0 loss Sunday in Pittsburgh. Milwaukee entered with the best record in baseball (30-11) since May 22 and the largest cushion (seven games) of any first-place club.Seth Lugo (2-1) struck out two in a perfect seventh, and Díaz earned his 18th save in 19 opportunities.Díaz, idle since last Tuesday, put his first three batters on before a visit from pitching coach Jeremy Hefner. Then the closer struck out Jace Peterson and Keston Hiura before Jackie Bradley Jr. flied out to end it.“We gave ourselves a chance, but we’ve got to give ourselves a chance in more innings,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “I think that’s kind of the message from tonight.”Hiura fanned all four times up.Narváez connected off Megill in the fourth, but the Mets responded immediately.Woodruff had retired his first nine batters, striking out five, before Brandon Nimmo doubled leading off the Mets fourth. He advanced on a sacrifice bunt by $341 million shortstop Francisco Lindor and scored on Smith’s tying sac fly.“I feel like right now we’re hitting on all cylinders,” Alonso said.Lindor drew a leadoff walk in the seventh and dashed to third on Smith’s single. Alonso, who homered in both ends of a day-night doubleheader the Mets split Sunday at Yankee Stadium, lined the next pitch into left field and celebrated when he reached second base.“That’s just high-quality championship baseball,” Alonso said. “Execution was perfect.”One out later, Conforto snapped an 0-for-13 skid with a run-scoring single that made it 4-1.“I just started catching too much of the plate,” Woodruff said. “We’re still playing good baseball.”TRENDINGThe Brewers won eight of the previous nine games and 16 of the past 22 between the teams — though this was their first meeting since May 2019.TRAINER’S ROOMBrewers: OF Lorenzo Cain (strained right hamstring) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Wednesday with Triple-A Nashville that will extend past the All-Star break. “Because he’s been off the field for quite a bit,” Counsell said, “I think it’s important that we get him out playing, just playing regularly.” … OF Avisaíl García (tight left hamstring) was rested but is expected back in the lineup Tuesday. “We’re just being careful with it. It was kind of the plan to just make sure we don’t go too many days in a row,” Counsell said. García flied out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. … Slumping slugger Christian Yelich went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts after receiving a rest Sunday.Mets: RHP Carlos Carrasco, sidelined all season by a strained right hamstring, practiced fielding from the Citi Field mound. He is scheduled to throw live batting practice in the next few days and then probably begin a minor league rehab assignment. Rojas said Carrasco might be able to join the Mets by the end of July. … Acting general manager Zack Scott said it’s possible Carrasco and RHP Noah Syndergaard (Tommy John surgery) could be activated without being fully stretched out, hinting one or both could be used out of the bullpen. … 3B J.D. Davis (sprained left hand) is on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Syracuse and could rejoin the Mets this weekend. … With LHP David Peterson (right side soreness) on the injured list, Rojas said Robert Stock is “a strong option” to make a spot start Wednesday in the series finale. Rojas also mentioned RHP Nick Tropeano, another recent minor league acquisition. … RHP Dellin Betances is scheduled for season-ending shoulder surgery Wednesday.UP NEXTMets ace Jacob deGrom (7-2) looks to lower his major league-best 0.95 ERA in the middle game of the series Tuesday night. LHP Brett Anderson (2-5, 4.69) comes off the injured list for Milwaukee (bruised knee).———More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Ohtani flops, exits early in Yankee Stadium pitching debut

Ohtani flops, exits early in Yankee Stadium pitching debut

Shohei Ohtani’s debut on the Yankee Stadium mound sure didn’t last longBy MIKE FITZPATRICK AP Baseball WriterJuly 1, 2021, 3:37 AM• 4 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleNEW YORK — Shohei Ohtani’s debut on the Yankee Stadium mound sure didn’t last long.Babe Ruth, he was not. At least on this night.The two-way phenom got only two outs Wednesday for the Los Angeles Angels during his highly anticipated first pitching appearance in the Bronx. Ohtani, who leads the majors with 28 home runs, was chased after four early walks and charged with a career-worst seven runs in a game later delayed more than two hours by rain during a pair of stoppages.Making his career-high 12th pitching start of the season on a 92-degree night, Ohtani flopped long before the showers arrived.He was handed a 2-0 lead on Phil Gosselin’s two-run homer in the top of the first but quickly gave it back. The 26-year-old right-hander walked his first three batters and crossed up catcher Kurt Suzuki, resulting in a passed ball that advanced two runners.A visit from pitching coach Matt Wise didn’t do the trick, either.Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres hit consecutive RBI singles to tie it before Ohtani struck out Rougned Odor on a splitter, finally getting his first out on his 30th pitch.Miguel Andújar drove in a run with a slow groundout, and Ohtani had a chance to get out of the inning when he got ahead 0-2 on Clint Frazier. But then Frazier was hit in the hand by an off-speed pitch, and Ohtani walked No. 9 batter Brett Gardner on four pitches to force in a run that made it 4-2.Angels manager Joe Maddon strolled out to the mound and removed Ohtani, who slumped at the shoulders. He got pats on the back and chest from teammates, had a quick, upbeat chat with Maddon and then thanked plate umpire John Libka as he walked off.Ohtani threw just 20 of 41 pitches for strikes — though it wasn’t the shortest start of his major league career. He gave up five runs without getting an out on 30 pitches last July 26 at Oakland during his first pitching appearance in almost 23 months following Tommy John surgery.Aaron Slegers, just recalled from the minors, replaced Ohtani and gave up a three-run double to DJ LeMahieu, who punched a grounder inside first base on a half-hearted swing. That made it 7-2 and closed the book on Ohtani, whose ERA jumped from 2.58 to 3.60.Ohtani also batted leadoff Wednesday and flied out against Domingo Germán to begin the game. The slugging designated hitter/pitcher had 11 homers in his previous 13 games.He became the first pitcher to start one game after hitting two home runs for his team since Ruth did it for the Yankees on Sept. 28, 1930. Ohtani socked three homers in the first two games of the four-game series.“I haven’t talked to him specifically about this, but I know he enjoys this,” Maddon said before Wednesday night’s game. “And yes, I think playing here has a little extra thing going on for him right now. It’s hard to deny that.”Los Angeles scored a run in the second and then Maddon sent up a pinch-hitter for Slegers in the leadoff spot.By the third inning, the taxed Angels were on their fourth pitcher. Dylan Bundy, who vomited on the Yankee Stadium field in the heat Monday night and lasted only 1 2/3 innings, was summoned for his first relief appearance since 2016 with Baltimore.With one out in the bottom of the third, the game was halted for 42 minutes because of rain. Play was stopped again for 91 minutes in the middle of the fifth with New York leading 7-4.———More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Nola strikes out 10 straight Mets to match MLB record

Nola strikes out 10 straight Mets to match MLB record

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola has struck out 10 straight New York Mets batters, tying a major league record that stood alone for more than five decadesBy MIKE FITZPATRICK AP Baseball WriterJune 25, 2021, 9:58 PM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleNEW YORK — Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola struck out 10 straight New York Mets batters Friday, tying a major league record that stood alone for more than five decades.Hall of Fame ace Tom Seaver fanned his final 10 hitters for the Mets in a 2-1 victory over the San Diego Padres at Shea Stadium on April 22, 1970.That mark for consecutive strikeouts held for 51 years until Nola whiffed Michael Conforto leading off the fourth inning in the first game of a doubleheader at Citi Field, which replaced Shea Stadium as the Mets’ home in 2009 on the same site in Queens.Featuring a nasty knuckle curve, Nola started and ended his streak with punchouts of Conforto, who came off the injured list Wednesday. With the late-afternoon crowd chanting his name, Pete Alonso halted the astounding run of Ks when he reached across the plate to poke a 1-2 slider inside the right-field line for a line-drive double.Nola got off to an inauspicious start. He hit leadoff batter Jeff McNeil with a curveball in the first inning and then gave up a double to Francisco Lindor that left runners at second and third.The right-hander struck out Conforto, Alonso and Dominic Smith in succession to keep New York off the scoreboard — and didn’t slow down. James McCann, Kevin Pillar and Luis Guillorme went down in the second, then pitcher Taijuan Walker, McNeil and Lindor in the third.Seven of the strikeouts during Nola’s string were swinging. He caught Smith, McCann and Walker looking.The streak alone gave Nola his 19th career double-digit strikeout game and third this season.Nola also singled off the left-field wall for Philadelphia’s first baserunner in the third and laced an RBI double to deep right-center off Walker with two outs in the fifth to deliver the first run of the game.———More AP MLB coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Lindor, Conforto, new pitchers lead Mets past Braves 7-3

Lindor, Conforto, new pitchers lead Mets past Braves 7-3

NEW YORK — With the arrival of Michael Conforto and a few other reinforcements, the banged-up New York Mets got back in the swing of things.Francisco Lindor homered and drove in three runs, Conforto jolted New York’s stagnant offense in his delayed return from injury and the Mets beat the Atlanta Braves 7-3 on Wednesday night.“It was good to jump right into the action,” Conforto said.Tylor Megill and Corey Oswalt came up from the minors to provide steady pitching for a New York staff ravaged by recent injuries, and the NL East leaders rebounded from consecutive shutouts to split the four-game series.Leadoff man Jeff McNeil had three hits after coming off the injured list Monday, including a run-scoring single in the second inning for his first RBI since May 8. Lindor followed with his ninth homer of the season off Kyle Wright (0-1) to make it 5-0.“Having McNeil and Conforto is going to be huge for us,” said Lindor, who batted between them as the top trio combined for seven hits, five runs and four RBIs. “We had a great team approach.”Edwin Díaz got five outs for his 16th save in 17 tries.“We were very short,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “The guys are leaving their arms out there to get wins.”Called up from Triple-A Syracuse earlier in the day as New York made eight roster moves, Oswalt (1-0) allowed one run over 2 1/3 innings of relief for his first major league win since 2018.With the tying run at the plate, Oswalt picked off Ozzie Albies at first base to end the seventh.“It’s incredible,” Conforto said. “Every day it feels like we’ve got some new guys in here and they jump right in. They’re here to do their job.”Megill also was summoned from Triple-A to start in place of Joey Lucchesi, who is scheduled for season-ending Tommy John surgery Thursday. The right-hander permitted two runs and three hits with four strikeouts over 4 1/3 valuable innings in his major league debut.“A lot of emotions. It was exciting. It was fun. It was competitive. Couldn’t ask for anything more while I was out there,” said Megill, who didn’t even have enough notice for family and friends to be on hand for his big night.“I wanted to go full force and just go out there and make a statement and help the team win.”When he was lifted, Megill got a pat on the chest from Lindor and a boisterous ovation from fans. Then he was checked by umpires for sticky stuff on his way off the field to a chorus of boos from the crowd of 15,645.“He definitely had nerves going, but he didn’t show them. He executed,” Lindor said. “He stepped up for us.”Freddie Freeman went 4 for 4 with a walk and Ender Inciarte hit a two-run homer off Megill in the fifth, but that was all he conceded.“I’m impressed with his poise,” Rojas said. “He threw the ball so well.”Conforto finished 2 for 4 with a walk and scored twice. He lined a double in the first to key a two-run inning that included Dominic Smith’s RBI groundout.Wright was tagged for five runs, four hits and three walks over two innings in a disappointing return from the minors. He was called up to start in place of injured Max Fried (blister).“Stuff was flat. He just couldn’t really get untracked and get anything going,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s a young guy that’s still trying to figure it out. I mean, we see the stuff and all — he just hasn’t been able to put it together. I don’t know. You just hope some day it clicks.”Luis Guillorme doubled and reached on a perfect drag-bunt single for the Mets, scoring twice. James McCann had a double and an RBI single.New York had dropped six of eight, totaling only 13 runs and getting shut out four times during that span.“Once we have all the pieces of the puzzle, it’s going to be great to put it together,” Lindor said.WAIT JUST A MINUTEConforto had been sidelined since straining his right hamstring May 16. He was ready to return Tuesday, but wasn’t activated after Syracuse’s game was postponed to allow for more COVID-19 testing and contact tracing within the organization. The right fielder spent last weekend on a rehab assignment with Syracuse, so the Mets said they decided not to reinstate him Tuesday “out of an abundance of caution.”“It was definitely a rollercoaster,” Conforto said before the game, adding he tested negative three times.FAMILY TIESMegill’s brother, Trevor, pitched for the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field on June 14.TRAINER’S ROOMBraves: RF Ronald Acuña Jr. was scratched from the lineup before batting practice because of a stiff lower back. He is day-to-day. … OF Guillermo Heredia (right wrist inflammation) sat out for the second consecutive game. … RHP Huascar Ynoa (broken right hand) is playing catch and long toss.Mets: RHP Marcus Stroman is optimistic he can make his next scheduled start Monday in Washington after an MRI showed no damage to his sore left hip. Stroman exited Tuesday’s outing in the second inning. … New York placed second-string catcher Tomás Nido on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Tuesday, with a bruised right wrist. … 3B Jonathan Villar (calf) sat out for the second consecutive game. An MRI came back clean, Rojas said, but Guillorme started at the hot corner again. … CF Brandon Nimmo (finger) went 0 for 2 with a walk in a rehab game at Syracuse. He played five innings in center field. … RHP Dellin Betances (shoulder impingement) pitched a scoreless inning for Syracuse in his fourth rehab outing. … RHP Robert Gsellman (right lat strain) was transferred to the 60-day IL.UP NEXTBraves: A bullpen game Thursday night at Cincinnati in the opener of a four-game series.Mets: Following a much-needed day off, the Mets begin a four-game set Friday against NL East rival Philadelphia with a single-admission doubleheader at Citi Field to make up an April 15 rainout. Taijuan Walker and David Peterson are scheduled to start for New York. Aaron Nola and Matt Moore are expected to pitch for the Phillies in a pair of seven-inning games.———More AP MLB coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports