In their first matchup against the Braves this season, some unlikely heroes came to the rescue to secure a 3-1 Mets victory on Monday night at Truist Park.
After six tough innings offensively, Tomás Nido's double off Max Fried in the top of the seventh inning got the Mets going. Then, after just three pitches from reliever Jacob Webb, pinch-hitter James McCann followed up Nido’s hit with his first double of the season to bring Nido home and break the scoreless tie.
Pillar was replaced by rookie outfielder Khalil Lee, who made his Major League debut.
“It's a big win,” manager Luis Rojas said. “Guys are stepping up. We had some more adversity show up in the game, lost a couple of players in the game and guys came in and stepped up.”
Nido and McCann helped propel the Mets’ offense to the victory. Once New York found itself with the momentum in the seventh inning, there was no going back.
Nido notched the first three-hit performance of his career and improved his season slash link to .267/.353/.820.
“I think it goes back to last year and the offseason and all through, what's put together on a daily basis builds up to what's happening right now,” Nido said. “I think every at-bat builds up to the next. You have the bad ones that you learn from -- and I'm trying to take one at-bat at a time -- and the good ones you build from that, the bad ones you take away.”
Along with Nido, McCann had one of the most important at-bats of the game. McCann delivered a clutch pinch-hit RBI double to give the Mets the lead in the seventh inning. McCann is batting .208 (20-for-96) with eight RBIs.
“Quality at-bats. You got to give it to McCann, you know, not starting today and coming in and getting an at-bat, [a] two-strike RBI double for our first run,” said Rojas.
Rojas called on Sean Reid-Foley to carry the momentum into the fourth inning, after the short yet dominant outing from Walker. Reid-Foley immediately made an impact with a three-up, three-down fourth inning to build the Mets’ momentum. He then retired the next six batters he faced, before being relieved in the seventh inning.
Reid-Foley had all three of his pitches working against the Braves, especially his changeup. He finished the night with a whiff percentage of 43%. To Reid-Foley’s advantage, Atlanta was likely not expecting to see him on the mound, which allowed him to attack the zone and display his full arsenal.
Reid-Foley struck out five over three perfect innings.
“Guys are keeping us in the game. The bullpen has done a tremendous job, and [in] games like this, [they] show up,” said Rojas. “Sean Reid-Foley did a tremendous job today. Three innings after just one day off in-between. These guys are stepping up to do whatever it takes to get a win.”
Next man up
Along with Lee, Johneshwy Fargas also made his Major League debut in his first start at center field. With Nido on second, Fargas took full advantage and added another first to his night with an RBI double to right field, driving home Nido and pushing the score to 3-0 in the eighth inning.
Both Lee and Fargas made solid Major League debuts. Although Lee did not record a hit, Rojas was pleased with what he saw from the outfielder and is confident that the Mets’ young players can step up when it counts.
“There are different heroes every day, and I think that's a good team when you see that,” said Rojas. “We have some guys down with injuries that have been the core of our offense, and when you see guys stepping up in situations like this and [helping] to manufacture runs, that just tells you how good this team is.”