Travis d’Arnaud haunts Buck-less Mets again with big night; lifts Braves to series-opening win

Travis d'Arnaud Mets Braves
May 2, 2022; New York City, New York, USA; Atlanta Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud (16) reacts after hitting an RBI double during the sixth inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

It appears that every time Travis d’Arnaud plays against his old team, the Mets, who were without manager Buck Showalter after he was suspended by MLB roughly 40 minutes before first pitch, it’s a revenge game.

And Monday night at Citi Field was no different as Glenn Sherlock led the Mets bench by committee.

The former New York catcher went 3-for-4 with three RBI in a 5-2 Braves victory — the death blow for the Mets (16-8) coming in the eighth inning when he lined a two-out, two-run double down the left-field line off reliever Trevor May to put the game out of reach. 

“He was hitting balls that weren’t even in the strike zone,” Sherlock said. “He was just reaching out and hitting them where they’re not playing. He’s a big-league hitter.”

He sparked a Braves (11-13) comeback that saw them overturn a 2-0 deficit when his first double of the night down the right-field line tied the game at 2-2 shortly before Atlanta took the lead for good. In nine games against his former club, d’Arnaud is 15-32 (.468) with 14 RBI.

New York took an initial lead in the second inning after Starling Marte, who doubled, came around to score on a wild pitch that Atlanta starter Max Fried spiked. Mark Canha doubled New York’s lead with his first home run as a Met in the third, a solo shot over the left-field fence.

It was the last mistake Fried would make on a night he six innings, allowing those two runs on just four hits while striking out six.

Atlanta got to Mets starter Chris Bassitt in the fourth when Austin Riley responded to Canha’s home run with a bomb of his own, sending a Bassitt curveball well into the left-center-field stands. 

After a blown strike-three call to Dansby Swanson forced him to work out of a needless jam in the fifth, Bassitt hit turbulence in the sixth as the Braves plated a pair to take the lead — d’Arnaud reaching out and doinking an RBI double down the right-field line before Adam Duvall’s sacrifice fly.

“I think umpires have one of the hardest jobs in the world and I have no problem if an umpire misses a call,” Bassitt said. “I say all the time that a pitch was a strike and I look back and they were right. So I’ll never get mad at an umpire.”

“He can hit any pitch,” he continued about d’Arnaud. “And that’s extremely rare. Literally every single pitch has to be a good one.”

Ronald Acuna made a bid to get Bassitt into more trouble in the seventh, but his deep drive to center was cut off at the fence by a leaping Brandon Nimmo to rob the Atlanta star. 

Bassitt still put forth another strong performance, going seven innings while striking out eight to go with those three earned runs. His 2022 ERA now sits at 2.61. 

“He pitched a great game,” Sherlock said. “He’s a tough kid… he did a great job. I can’t say enough good things about him.”

New York loaded the bases in the bottom of the frame on Braves reliever Tyler Matzek — all with two outs — after two walks and a hit-by-pitch (James McCann became the 21st Mets batter to be hit by a pitch this season). But Atlanta called on Collin McHugh to face Canha, who got the red-hot left fielder to strike out swinging to end the home side’s threat. 

The Braves took full advantage in the eighth behind d’Arnaud, whose game-clinching double raised May’s ERA to a swollen and alarming 8.64.