NEW YORK -- The Braves continue to ride the kids. Yes, Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna Jr. continue to prosper on the field. But this time, it was right-hander Mike Soroka, who turned in a gem of a start in his Major League debut for Atlanta, pitching six sharp innings
NEW YORK -- The Braves continue to ride the kids. Yes, Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna Jr. continue to prosper on the field. But this time, it was right-hander Mike Soroka, who turned in a gem of a start in his Major League debut for Atlanta, pitching six sharp innings to help the Braves top the Mets, 3-2, at Citi Field.
The Braves have won five out of their last six games and improved their record to 17-11. They are only a half-game behind the first-place Mets in the National League East.
Before the game, Braves manager Brian Snitker and catcher Kurt Suzuki talked about how polished Soroka, 20, looked on the mound. The Mets don't disagree, as the Braves' No. 3 prospect per MLB Pipeline held New York to six hits and struck out five batters.
"It's not like it shocked me," Snitker said about Soroka's performance. "I saw him in Spring Training and he is a very poised, mature [pitcher]. I watched the game the other day on the computer when he went seven innings [in a Minor League game]. He looked like he relaxed out there doing his thing."
New York only touched Soroka in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Yoenis Cespedes hit a solo homer over the left-field wall.
"He threw a lot of strikes. Anytime you keep the count in your favor, you're going to pitch good," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "At one point, he threw 27 strikes in 35 pitches. If you do that, you're going to have success."
Soroka said he stopped being nervous once he was able to get an at-bat in the top of the first inning before he even took the mound. It was smooth sailing after that.
"I got the jitters out of the way. It kind felt like another inning after that. I executed pitch one and went from there," Soroka said. "It's truly amazing to be with this team. They have been a really fun team to watch for the last month."
Soroka wasn't the only young buck on the Braves who shined on Tuesday. The two A's -- Albies and Acuna -- helped the Braves get to an early 3-0 lead off right-hander Noah Syndergaard in the top of the first inning.
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"[The Braves] have aggressive approaches, really," Snitker said. "You know what you are in for when you face [Syndergaard]. You are on the attack all the time. The guys put good swings on it and didn't miss."
Albies singled and Acuna doubled to put runners on second and third. Freddie Freeman followed and doubled them home to make it a 2-0 game. Nick Markakis scored Freeman on a single for Atlanta's fourth straight hit to open the game.
The Mets threatened in ninth, putting runners at first and second against Braves closer Arodys Vizcaino with no outs. After striking out Amed Rosario, Vizcaino induced an RBI groundout from Wilmer Flores. Pinch-hitter Jose Reyes lifted a deep fly to left field that Acuna appeared to lose, but he recovered in time to make the catch and end the game.
At 20 years, 270 days, Soroka is the youngest pitcher to make his debut in a start for Atlanta since Julio Teheran debuted for the Braves at 20 years, 100 days on May 7, 2011.
HE SAID IT
"You realize hitters like that are going to hit mistakes, and I think I made three mistakes. Right after he hit them, you realize that it was a mis-executed pitch; there is nothing wrong with the game plan. You have to keep going forward." -- Soroka, on allowing three hits to Cespedes
Left-hander Sean Newcomb will take the mound for the Braves on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. ET at Citi Field, making his sixth start of the season. Newcomb will face the Mets for the fifth time in his career. So far, he has been successful, allowing nine runs (seven earned) in 22 2/3 innings with 27 strikeouts. Right-hander Jacob deGrom, who is riding a 14 1/3-inning scoreless streak, will start for New York.
Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.