Max Scherzer continued surging Saturday night, when he struck out 11 in seven scoreless innings as the New York Mets beat the visiting Atlanta Braves 6-2 to sweep a pivotal doubleheader between the National League East rivals.
David Peterson tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings in the Mets' 8-5 win in the opener, and Scherzer was even better in this one.
Scherzer (8-2) allowed four hits and walked none while tying his season high in strikeouts. The veteran right-hander is 3-1 with a 1.37 ERA in seven starts since returning from a six-week stint on the injured list due to an oblique injury.
The Mets have won three of the first four games of the five-game series to increase their lead over the second-place Braves to 5 1/2 games -- their largest lead since June 21.
Scherzer lowered his season ERA to 1.98, which would be the best in the NL if he had enough innings to qualify.
The Mets scored all the runs they'd need in the third against Max Fried (10-4). Tomas Nido led off with a double and Starling Marte drew a one-out walk before Francisco Lindor singled to load the bases. Pete Alonso delivered an RBI single on the next pitch.
Two pitches later, Darin Ruf hit a potential double-play grounder to first. Matt Olson fired to shortstop Dansby Swanson to force Alonso, but Swanson's throw sailed past Fried covering first as Lindor and Marte both scored.
The Mets took advantage of another Braves miscue in the sixth. Alonso led off with a single. Ruf legged out an infield single and both runners advanced a base when third baseman Austin Riley threw the ball away while trying to nab Ruf at first. Alonso then scored when he slid in just ahead of Travis d'Arnaud's tag on Mark Canha's grounder to shortstop.
Tyler Naquin added a pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth and scored the final run on a suicide squeeze by Nido.
Ronald Acuna Jr. had an RBI double in the eighth and William Contreras hit a homer in the ninth for Atlanta.
Fried allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and one walk while striking out five in six innings.
--Field Level Media