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Nimmo shakes off injury, comes off bench and hits 2-run HR in 9th to lift Mets over Braves, 4-3

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NEW YORK (AP) — Brandon Nimmo shook off an injury and came off the bench to hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning that gave the New York Mets a 4-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Sunday night.

Pete Alonso had two RBIs and the Mets avoided a three-game sweep, a day after they were held hitless by three Atlanta pitchers until there were two outs in the ninth.

“We needed this one. We’re grinding. Everyone on this team is grinding right now,” second baseman Jeff McNeil said. “We’ll take any win where we can get it, and this is a big one.”

Batting leadoff in Nimmo’s place, DJ Stewart singled on the first pitch from Braves starter Bryce Elder to give the Mets a quick hit this time. Nimmo didn’t start after exiting Saturday’s game with discomfort on his right side, but he entered as a pinch runner in the seventh and stayed in to play left field.

“I couldn’t have imagined that today would work out this way,” Nimmo said at his locker afterward, still in full uniform and cleats.

Jarred Kelenic homered for Atlanta against the team that drafted him sixth overall and then traded him to Seattle. Marcell Ozuna’s second tiebreaking single of the night gave the Braves a 3-2 lead in the eighth.

McNeil led off the bottom of the ninth with a perfect drag bunt for a single, sparking a rally for the slumping Mets.

“Haven’t been feeling too great at the plate, so I know that’s always in the back pocket when I want it. Decided to pull it out,” he said.

McNeil advanced on Tomás Nido’s sacrifice bunt before Nimmo stepped into the batter’s box for his first plate appearance of the game.

Nimmo, who also made a terrific catch at the left-field fence in the eighth, drove a full-count cutter from A.J. Minter (5-3) to right-center for his sixth home run.

“I was just begging it to not be caught,” Nimmo said. “Just pure elation, just adrenaline running through me, and just was so excited.”

Wearing pink socks for Mother’s Day, a smiling Nimmo pumped his fist as he circled the bases. He was swarmed by excited teammates at home plate after the second walk-off homer of his career.

“This definitely is one of the coolest days that I’ve had, for sure,” Nimmo said.

Minter was on the mound because Braves closer Raisel Iglesias pitched the previous two days.

Nimmo also hit a tying homer off Minter in the seventh inning of an 8-7 win for the Mets in Atlanta on April 8.

“That’s what’s been killing me this year, just getting the ball to stay in the yard,” Minter said. “I don’t know how to fix that. I don’t know if it’s just all going to even out.”

Edwin Díaz (1-1) worked a 1-2-3 inning for the win.

Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr. was picked off first base twice. Atlanta had won four straight since getting swept at Dodger Stadium from May 3-5.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: All-Star 3B Austin Riley exited in the fourth as a precaution with tightness on his left side. He was replaced by Zack Short, who made his Atlanta debut. … RHP Pierce Johnson (elbow inflammation) threw a bullpen back home. He’ll throw another one this week and if all goes well he could come off the injured list Friday, manager Brian Snitker said.

Mets: RHP Tylor Megill (shoulder strain) pitched 5 1/3 shutout innings for Triple-A Syracuse against Lehigh Valley. He struck out six, walked none and threw 55 of 74 pitches for strikes. New York is expected to reinstate Megill from his minor league rehab assignment this week and decide whether to bring him back to the big leagues or option him to Syracuse. … RHP Drew Smith (shoulder soreness) pitched a hitless inning Saturday for Syracuse and could come off the injured list Monday or Tuesday. … LHP David Peterson (left hip surgery) is scheduled to make another rehab start Tuesday at Double-A Binghamton. He could be ready to come off the IL when eligible on May 27.

UP NEXT

Braves: RHP Reynaldo López (2-1, 1.53 ERA) starts Monday night at home against Chicago Cubs rookie sensation Shota Imanaga (5-0, 1.08) in the opener of a three-game series.

Mets: LHP Sean Manaea (2-1, 3.31) pitches Monday night against Philadelphia LHP Cristopher Sánchez (2-3, 3.22) at Citi Field.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

By MIKE FITZPATRICK
AP Baseball Writer

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