At Turner Field on Monday it would’ve been difficult to find anyone who labored as much or as ineffectively as Mets pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. Braves hitters vented recent frustrations by pounding the fading former Red Sox standout for seven hits and six runs in the first three innings of a 13-5 series-opening rout against New York matching their highest run total of the season. Freddie Freeman’s three-run homer in the second inning pushed the lead to 6-1 for the Braves who bounced back from Sunday’s 7-0 loss to the Marlins with an outburst that matched their highest runs total this season. The win and the Nationals’ loss to the Phillies dropped the Braves’ National League East magic number to 11. “You never want to get shut out but when we do when you come out here and score six in the first two innings that kind of takes a little weight off your shoulders and you can just go out there and play the rest of the game” said Freeman who also had a two-run double in the first inning and matched his career-high with five RBIs. Freeman ranks fourth in the league with 93 RBIs only one away from the career high he set last season. “He gave us a couple of great at-bats” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “On a tough day to play really. The first two innings almost took an hour. Both (pitchers) weren’t around the plate. He gave us great at-bats and put us on the board.” Any combination of Braves wins and Nationals losses totaling 11 would give the Braves their first division title since 2005 and they hope to have their offense humming again as they near the postseason. It was tough to gauge much Monday against an injury-depleted Mets team that arrived at their Atlanta hotel at 4 a.m. after playing a night game at Washington and against a pitcher (Matsuzaka) with a 10.95 ERA in three starts since signing with the Mets. But the Braves were nonetheless encouraged by a couple of developments on a day when they matched their season-high scoring total.
Braves rough up ‘Dice-K’ in 13-5 win over Mets
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Sep 2