By The Sports Xchange
ATLANTA — Pinch-hitter Rio Ruiz had the first game-ending hit of his career Friday night, scoring another rookie for the Atlanta Braves’ third walk-off victory of the season.
Dansby Swanson hustled an apparent single up the middle into a double with one out in the ninth inning and Ruiz singled to the opposite field on reliever Josh Edgin’s first pitch to give the Braves a 3-2 victory over the New York Mets.
“I’m not surprised with anything from him,” Ruiz said of Swanson. “He will always take the extra base if he has the opportunity. He saw it and was aggressive and he’s usually not wrong. He started that whole thing and put me in position to drive him in.”
Swanson, who had smashed a two-run double in the sixth inning, used his speed, instincts and aggressiveness to do in the Mets in the ninth as center fielder Curtis Granderson, who doesn’t have a strong arm, was slow getting to the ball.
“As we’re always saying, ‘Just make them stop you.’ I kept going and didn’t really hesitate,” Swanson said. “I felt that was the right thing to do and it worked out. Any way to get in scoring position.”
“He is a kid who comes out of the box thinking two,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of his shortstop. “That’s a baseball player. That’s why we love that kid the way we do, because he never stops playing the game.”
Granderson and Travis d’Arnaud hit homers, but the Mets couldn’t get a victory for starter Matt Harvey. Braves starter Julio Teheran wasn’t rewarded, either.
Jim Johnson, who pitched the top of the ninth for the Braves, got the victory to go to 4-1 and Fernando Salas, who gave up the one-out hit by Swanson, took his second loss.
“It seems like every day it’s something that happens that has kept us from getting going, from an injury or whatever it might be,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “We can’t seem to put it together right now.”
Jason Motte gave up the tying homer in the seventh inning by d’Arnaud, who connected on a 1-1 pitch and sent a drive to left field for seventh blast of the season.
Teheran, who has an 8-4 career record against the Mets, allowed four hits and a run in six innings, walking three and striking out three before being lifted for a pinch hitter.
Harvey was pulled with a 1-0 lead after throwing 102 pitches in five innings in his first scoreless outing of the season and the Braves pounced on reliever Paul Sewald in the sixth.
Matt Kemp, who had three hits, led off with a double and Danny Santana was intentionally walked after Sewald threw three balls. Swanson pulled a 3-2 pitch to left field for a double, driving in both runners.
Harvey, who gave up six runs each time in consecutive losses to the Braves earlier this season, allowed four hits, walked two and struck out three.
“I thought it was a step forward for Matt,” Collins said.
Teheran retired the first six batters before Granderson led off the third inning by picking on a 2-0 pitch and smashing his sixth homer over the center-field fence.
The blast was the 15th allowed by Teheran, and it gave the Mets at least one homer in 12 straight road games and 23 of their past 25 away from New York.
The Braves left six runners on base in the first four innings against Harvey, including the bases loaded in the second.
“It’s definitely a step in the right direction for where I want to be in terms of keeping runs off the board,” Harvey said. “Obviously … you’d like to be able to go deeper in the game. That’s the thing that’s frustrating to me, especially with the doubleheader coming up tomorrow.”
NOTES: OF Yoenis Cespedes, sidelined since April 28 because of a hamstring injury, will be activated by the Mets as the extra 26th man for Saturday’s split doubleheader and start one of the games against the Braves. … Mets 2B Neil Walker was out of the lineup for a second straight game because of a sore left knee. … LHP Steven Matz, who hasn’t pitched for the Mets since August because of shoulder and elbow issues, will start the second game Saturday, with RHP Robert Gsellman (4-3, 5.53 ERA) pitching the opener. … LHP Sean Newcomb will make his major league debut as the starter of the first game for the Braves. … RHP Matt Wisler (0-0, 7.00 ERA) will come up from Triple-A Gwinnett as a 26th man and start the second game. … The doubleheader was caused by a rainout on April 25. … The Mets began a stretch of 18 games in 17 days Friday. … The Braves end 14 games in 13 days next Wednesday in Washington.