ATLANTA — The Mets sure resembled a team Saturday that had their hearts ripped out and shown to them the previous night.
Zombies was more like it, as manager Luis Rojas’ crew fell into an early hole then never bothered to muster much of a fight in losing their fourth straight, 7-1 to the Braves at Truist Park.
Michael Wacha turned in the latest blah performance by a Mets starting pitcher, but poor defensive execution and silent bats were also a factor. A night earlier the Mets had erupted offensively, but flushed a four-run lead in the eighth inning in their worst loss of the young season. Saturday they weren’t competitive enough to give the bullpen a shot at redemption.
Pete Alonso, Yoenis Cespedes, Wilson Ramos and Amed Rosario all appear lost at the plate for a team that could use a break from playing the Braves, who have won four of the five meetings this season. But two games still remain in this series before the Mets move on to play the Nationals.
Wacha was solid in his Mets debut Monday at Fenway Park, but didn’t approach that level of respectability against the Braves, racking up a high pitch count that necessitated his early removal, with the Mets trailing 5-0. The Mets will now turn to lefty David Peterson, who shined in his major league debut on Tuesday when he beat the Red Sox.
Franklyn Kilome made his major league debut in the fifth and surrendered an RBI single to Ender Inciarte before Ronald Acuna Jr. blasted a homer against the right-hander leading off the sixth that buried the Mets in a 7-1 hole.
Wacha was removed after throwing 97 pitches over four innings, in which he allowed five earned runs on seven hits with two walks and five strikeouts. It marked the second straight night the Mets couldn’t get a starting pitcher through at least the fifth inning — Rick Porcello on Friday departed after four-plus innings.
Just the fact Wacha survived through the fourth was something of an accomplishment given the manner in which the Braves tormented him in the second, scoring three runs to take a 5-0 lead, with shaky defense as a contributing factor.
Tyler Flowers, in an eight-pitch at-bat with two outs, hit a shot to right field that was catchable, but Michael Conforto mistimed his leap and saw the ball hit off his glove’s webbing for an RBI double. Acuna followed with an RBI double and Ozzie Albies hit a pop to center that confounded Brandon Nimmo and Robinson Cano, neither of whom got close to it. Albies’ RBI single placed Wacha in a five-run hole.
Marcell Ozuna continued his torment of the Mets since returning to the division (he played last year for the Cardinals after starting his career with the Marlins) by smashing a two-run homer against Wacha in the first inning. It was Ozuna last Saturday who homered against Edwin Diaz with two outs in the ninth, sending the game to extra innings with the Mets losing.
Wacha created his own mess, walking Freddie Freeman with two outs before missing up in the strike zone on a 2-0 fastball to Ozuna, who cleared the left-field fence.