NEW YORK -- — Kyle Muller threw five scoreless innings to earn his second big league win, helping the Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 2-0 on Monday afternoon in the opener of a doubleheader with seven-inning games.
Muller (2-3) allowed the Mets to advance just two runners as far as second base as he lowered his ERA to 2.55 in five games and six appearances.
“The thing I’ve noticed about him is he’s got a lot of confidence,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “I don’t feel that he gets caught up in the moment there a little bit. I think he keeps breathing and trusts his stuff.”
“I was really, really excited about that,” Muller said. “That was a big moment in the game right there.”
Muller got help defensively from Austin Riley in the fifth, when the third baseman leaped to snare Alonso’s high chopper to begin an inning-ending double play.
“I had some great defensive plays all day,” Muller said. “It was awesome. I’m going to be honest, I was pretty proud of myself. The fans were rocking, and being able to stay composed and stay over the rubber and executive some big pitches right there, that was pretty cool.”
Tyler Matzek threw a perfect sixth and Will Smith earned his 20th save in the seventh, when he allowed a one-out single to Tomas Nido before getting James McCann to hit a sizzling grounder to short, where Dansby Swanson began the game-ending double play.
An unusual double by Dansby Swanson leading off the fourth began the Braves’ second run-scoring rally. Swanson’s shot high off the centerfield wall was initially ruled a homer by second base umpire Jose Navas, but Kevin Pillar threw the ball into the infield and Swanson was tagged by shortstop Jonathan Villar as crew chief Doug Eddings overruled Navas and awarded Swanson second base.
Villar reached base in all three plate appearances via a single and two walks.
“I’m proud of some of the hard hits we had in the game,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “They stopped the momentum there (in the fifth) in turning the double play.”
Stroman allowed two runs on eight hits and one walk with four strikeouts over five innings.
PITCHERS WHO RAKE
Muller and Stroman helped their own cause in the third. With Heredia on second following a leadoff double, Muller missed while trying to bunt a Stroman splitter on the first pitch and showed bunt before pulling back and singling through the drawn-in infield for his milestone hit.
“That was a horrid bunt attempt on the first pitch,” Muller said with a grin. “I trust myself swinging more than bunting and it found a hole. It was perfect. It’s not how I pictured my first hit, but I’m not complaining at all.”
Muller said he was given with the ball in an acrylic case.
Stroman led off the bottom half with a well-placed bunt single down the third base line.
“I saw they were playing back,” Stroman said. “I’m not a very good hitter. I just saw an opportunity to hopefully get on base and get something started.”
It was the third straight day in which two starting pitchers had a hit in the same game. Lance Lynn and Brandon Woodruff did so for the Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers Sunday and Merrill Kelly and Alec Mills each doubled for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
Braves: LHP Drew Smyly (left knee) played catch Monday and could still start for the Braves on Thursday. Smyly left Saturday’s start after four innings due to soreness. … RHP Ian Anderson (right shoulder) threw from 120 feet Monday and is scheduled to throw from 150 feet Tuesday.
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (right forearm) threw again Monday, one day after he threw his first side session since going on the injured list July 18. Manager Luis Rojas said deGrom would likely throw another side session soon. … RHP Carlos Carrasco (right hamstring), who threw three scoreless innings for Triple-A Syracuse Sunday, could make his Mets debut this weekend.
Braves: RHP Charlie Morton (9-3, 3.65 ERA) will look to win his fifth straight decision in the third game of the five-game series.
Mets: Have not announced a starter.