Travis d’Arnaud haunts former team as Mets lose series opener to Braves

In each of the past four seasons, the NL East has belonged to the Braves. 

On Monday, they served the Mets a reminder that they aren’t going anywhere, even if they have started out slowly in their World Series title defense. 

Ex-Met Travis d’Arnaud haunted his old team, going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs to power the Braves to a 5-2 win over the Mets at Citi Field. 

“He can hit any pitch, and that’s extremely rare,” said Mets right-hander Chris Bassitt, who tossed seven solid innings while giving up three runs, including an RBI double to d’Arnaud. “Literally every single pitch, you gotta throw a good one. A lot of times you have hitters that aren’t good at certain pitches. And d’Arnaud is good at literally every single pitch.” 

The Mets (16-8) mustered only five hits as they were mostly held in check by Braves left-hander Max Fried. 

Travis d’Arnaud hits an RBI double during the sixth inning.
Getty Images

It was still a 3-2 game in the bottom of the seventh inning when the Mets loaded the bases with two outs against the Braves bullpen without putting a ball in play. Braves reliever Tyler Matzek walked Jeff McNeil, bounced a pitch to James McCann that hit him on his lifted back leg and then walked Brandon Nimmo to load the bases. 

But Collin McHugh relieved Matzek and struck out Mark Canha to escape the jam. 

In the next half inning, d’Arnaud provided the Braves (11-13) some more breathing room when he roped a two-run double to left field off Trevor May. 

Since the Mets designated d’Arnaud for assignment a month into the 2019 season — after he missed most of 2018 to undergo Tommy John surgery — d’Arnaud has feasted on them. Including Monday’s effort, he is hitting .469 (15-for-32) with seven extra-base hits and 14 RBIs in nine games against the Mets. 

Chris Bassitt reacts during the Mets' loss to the Braves.
Chris Bassitt reacts during the Mets’ loss to the Braves.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post
Travis d'Arnaud rounds the bases during his two-run double.
Travis d’Arnaud rounds the bases during his two-run double.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“He was hitting balls that weren’t even in the strike zone,” said bench coach Glenn Sherlock, who filled in for Buck Showalter while he served a one-game suspension. “He was reaching out and hitting them where they’re not playing. Trav’s a good hitter, a big league hitter, so good for him.” 

May, who has now given up two runs in three of his last four outings, admitted that he is not pitching fully healthy. He has been bothered again by the triceps issue that he dealt with earlier this season and will get an MRI on Tuesday. 

“It’s hard to compete when you’re just worried about whether or not something’s going to hurt to throw,” May said. “It’s to the point where I’m not very comfortable throwing my best pitches and taking too much time between pitches to reset and try to get a little bit of energy to throw another one.” 

The Braves took the lead off Bassitt in the sixth inning, mostly on soft contact and well-placed hits. After Ozzie Albies hit a one-out single through the open left side of the infield to put runners on first and second, d’Arnaud lofted an RBI double just past first base that tied the game. 

Adam Duvall then hit a sacrifice fly to score Albies and put the Braves ahead 3-2. 

Trevor May reacts after giving up a two-run double to Travis d'Arnaud in the eight inning.
Trevor May reacts after giving up a two-run double to Travis d’Arnaud in the eight inning.
Robert Sabo for the NY POST

“It’s just baseball,” Bassitt said. “You know that ain’t going to happen a lot, but when it does, it’s baseball. … Make your pitches and whatever happens after that is up to the baseball gods.” 

Starling Marte had given the Mets the lead first in the second inning. After hitting a one-out double, he tagged up and moved to third base on McNeil’s flyout to center field and then scored on a wild pitch to put the Mets up 1-0. 

Canha made it 2-0 in the third inning when he crushed his first home run as a Met, a solo shot. 

Austin Riley got the Braves that run back in the top of the fourth when he clobbered a solo homer to left.

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