Murphy, Acuña power Braves past Mets 9-8 in DH opener

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New York Mets catcher Tomas Nido, left, looks on as Atlanta Braves’ Sean Murphy, right, celebrates his three run homer with teammates during the seventh inning of the first baseball game of a doubleheader at Citi Field, Monday, May 1, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

NEW YORK (AP) — Sean Murphy hit a pair of three-run homers, powering the Atlanta Braves to a 9-8 victory over the New York Mets in the opener of a doubleheader Monday after the teams were rained out the previous two days.

Ronald Acuña Jr. launched a 448-foot home run for the Braves into the rarely reached third deck at Citi Field. Acuña scored three times and finished a triple shy of the cycle.

Kevin Pillar had a two-run shot and Spencer Strider (4-0) earned the win after allowing four runs in five innings.

Pete Alonso hit a three-run homer for the Mets, trimming an early five-run deficit to 6-4. Brett Baty and pinch-hitter Eduardo Escobar also went deep.

New York has dropped six of seven. The Braves have won eight of the past nine meetings between the NL East rivals dating to last year, including a pivotal three-game sweep in Atlanta near the end of last season that sent them to their fifth straight division title.

The game was a makeup of Sunday’s postponement. The clubs were also postponed by rain Saturday and are scheduled to make up that game on Aug. 12 as part of a day-night doubleheader.

The six RBI were a career-high for Murphy, who homered in the first to stake the Braves to an early lead and then again in the seventh after the Mets had pulled within a run. The two-homer game was Murphy’s third as a big leaguer.

Pillar and Acuña went back-to-back in the second.

Strider struck out eight — snapping his team-record streak of nine straight starts with at least nine strikeouts. He fell two games short of the major league mark held by Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan.

Francisco Lindor had an RBI single for the Mets in the first and then scored their first run in the seventh, when Alonso dashed home on a throwing error by shortstop Vaughn Grissom.

Jesse Chavez got the final two outs of the inning with the potential go-ahead run at the plate. Nick Anderson threw a perfect eighth and A.J. Minter gave up Escobar’s solo homer with two outs in the ninth before retiring Baty on a line drive to right field for his sixth save.

Mets opener Denyi Reyes (0-1) gave up five runs in one-plus inning. It was his second big league start and first for New York.

For more on the Mets, visit AMNY.com