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Braves leap into tie for division lead with win over Mets

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Austin Riley and Matt Olson hit back-to-back homers off Jacob deGrom in the second inning Friday night for the Atlanta Braves, who moved into a tie for first place with the visiting New York Mets by earning a 5-2 win in the opener of a pivotal three-game series.

The National League East co-leaders are 98-59.

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The Mets need one win over the next two days to clinch the season series and the tiebreaker should the teams finish with the same record.

The NL East winner will earn the second bye in the NL playoffs while the second-place finisher will open the playoffs as a host team in a best-of-three wild card series scheduled to start Oct. 7 — two days after the regular season finale.

The Mets jumped out to a short-lived lead against Max Fried in the second, when Jeff McNeil and Eduardo Escobar led off with singles before Francisco Alvarez, the consensus top prospect in baseball, grounded into a double play in his first career at-bat. Luis Guillorme followed with an RBI single when Eddie Rosario misplayed a potential inning-ending flyout.

But the Braves responded immediately against deGrom, who gave up the homers to Riley and Olson in a six-pitch span to open the bottom half of the inning.

Dansby Swanson homered in the sixth for the Braves, who added insurance runs in the seventh when Orlando Arcia delivered an RBI double and Rosario lofted a sacrifice fly.

Tomas Nido homered in the eighth for the Mets, who loaded the bases with one out in the ninth against Kenley Jansen before the closer recovered to strike out Alvarez and Tyler Naquin to close out his 35th save on his 35th birthday.

Fried (14-7) earned the win by throwing five solid innings before exiting due to illness. Fried, who retired the final 10 batters he faced, allowed one run on four hits with no walks and three strikeouts.

deGrom (5-4), who allowed three homers in a start for the first time since Apr. 9, 2019, surrendered six hits and walked none with 11 strikeouts.

–Field Level Media

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