ATLANTA -- Chipper Jones hanging out in the New York Mets' clubhouse. The Mets having won a franchise-record six straight games in Atlanta. Are these the end of days for Turner Field ... or on a larger scale?
Putting further distance between himself and a disastrous season debut, left-hander Steven Matz allowed two runs on nine hits and a hit batter in 6 1/3 innings and the Mets beat the Atlanta Braves 8-2 on Saturday night. Matz struck out eight.
The Mets (9-7) moved a season-high two games over .500.
Things are certainly topsy-turvy for the Mets in their rivalry with the now-rebuilding Braves. With their six-game winning streak at Turner Field, the Mets now are 62-103 all time in what once was a house of horrors. The ballpark will close after this season, with the Braves moving north to Cobb County.
Even former tormentor Jones is now seemingly a closet Mets fan. After praising the team’s pitching staff on the radio throughout the winter, Jones visited the Mets’ clubhouse before Saturday’s game -- albeit, in part, to check in on Jacob deGrom, who hails from the same Florida hometown.
The lone damage against Matz came when Nick Markakis was hit in the right hand with a third-inning pitch and scored on Freddie Freeman's double into the right-field corner. Matz stranded a pair of baserunners in three different innings.
After recording only five outs in his season debut against the Miami Marlins on April 11, Matz rebounded by tossing seven scoreless innings against the Cleveland Indians. He improved to 2-1 and trimmed his ERA to 5.40 on Saturday.
Lucas Duda opened the scoring with a first-inning sacrifice fly. It snapped a 24-game drought for the Mets without a sacrifice fly. Freeman’s fielding error later in the inning allowed the Mets to take a 2-0 lead. David Wright produced a two-run double in the fourth against Jhoulys Chacin for a 4-1 advantage. It was the first of two doubles in the game for Wright.
The Mets even kept their homer barrage going, although the shots came late. Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera consecutively homered in what became a three-run ninth, giving the Mets 23 home runs in their past eight games. They have scored 51 runs during that stretch -- 6.4 per game. Walker, who has a team-best seven homers, earlier walked for the first time this season.
Walker's homer was the 100th of his career; his seven in April match the most in a calendar month in his career. The Mets' 23 home runs is a franchise record for an eight-game stretch.
What’s next: DeGrom makes his long-awaited return Sunday at 1:35 p.m. ET as the Mets look to sweep the three-game series. He is expected to oppose right-hander Aaron Blair in the prospect’s major league debut. The Mets are 6-2 on their trip to Cleveland, Philadelphia and Atlanta entering the final day of the three-city jaunt.