ATLANTA — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered for the third straight game, Travis d’Arnaud hit a two-run single in the third inning and the Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 5-3 on Sunday night to earning a critical tiebreaker in their season series.
The defending World Series champion Braves swept the three-game series and edged New York two games in the NL East. Any combination of a win at Atlanta or a loss for the Mets would give the Braves their fifth straight division title.
“It’s a club full of guys who want to win,” Olson said. “That’s all that’s happened since the moment I walked in. It’s number 1 in the program.”
New York plays its last games of the season against Washington, bottom of the division. Atlanta is going to Miami. Both series begin Monday.
If the season ended in a tie on Wednesday, Atlanta would win the NL East because it won the season series 10-9.
“We’ve felt that confidence since the start of the year,” d’Arnaud said. “It just didn’t work our way at the start of the year, but pulling the same string, supporting each other, not trying to do too much. We’re just trying to play baseball and to have fun with it.”
The Braves have won five of the last six games in the series, outscoring the Mets 42-19 during that streak. New York had a 10½-game lead on June 1 but is now lower in the standings than at any time this season.
It was a wasted weekend for New York, who came to Atlanta hoping to clinch their Premier League title since 2015. Instead, aces Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer lost on Friday and Saturday, respectively, before that 15-game winner Chris Bassitt lasts just 2⅔ innings on Sunday. .
Those three combined for a 2.79 ERA over 377 innings entering the series; they posted a collective 6.91 ERA over 14⅓ innings with six homers allowed over the weekend.
“We still have three games left in the regular season, we’re still going to the playoffs, that’s not changing, but there are a lot of learning points we can take from this series going forward,” said Mets slugger Pete Alonso. . “I think we played well, but the Braves played better. They played great baseball all weekend.”
Baseball’s new postseason format means the winner of the NL East will get a first-round bye into the divisional round as the second seed. The NL East runner-up will get the fourth seed and play in a three-game wildcard series, with the winner of that series advancing to the divisional round.
Atlanta is now on the doorstep of a fifth straight division title while looking to repeat as World Series champions.
All three games here were sold out, and the mood all weekend was remarkable for Braves manager Brian Snitker.
“I said Friday … to my wife, ‘Well, the playoffs start today,'” he said. “This whole weekend felt like a playoff weekend. … It’s about as electric as I’ve seen [Truist Park] …with the NFL and college football, this place was always packed.”
Swanson took Bassitt deep to right center in the first with his 25th homer, and Atlanta took the lead with a three-run third. Bassitt (15-9) walked a loaded Olson before d’Arnaud delivered a single down the middle to score Ronald Acuna Jr. and Austin Riley for a 4-3 lead. That chased Bassitt, who was charged with four runs, three hits and three walks.
Olson hit his 33rd homer to make it 5-3 in the lead in the sixth, his 410-foot shot landing in the right center seats. Olson, in his freshman year with Atlanta, topped 100 RBI for the second straight season.
“Everyone knew we were underperforming when we were flirting around that 0.500 range,” Olson said. “It was one of those things where he trusted the talent that we have and the guys in the clubhouse. Everyone was solid, heads down, do your job, it will backfire and eventually you will win.”
Charlie Morton grounded runners at first and second in the first, but he gave up Daniel Vogelbach’s 18th homer who tied it at 1 in the second. The right-hander retired Francisco Lindor with runners at first and second to end the threat.
Jeff McNeil went away from Morton in the third and Vogelbach followed with an RBI single to put the Mets up 3-1. Morton entered the game having allowed 28 homers, the sixth most in the NL.
Morton struggled throughout his start, giving up three runs and nine hits in 4⅓ innings as the 38-year-old made his first start since signing a one-year, $20 million contract for stay with Atlanta next season.
Dylan Lee (5-1) picked up Morton and pitched 1⅓ innings, leaving after a walk to Brandon Nimmo with two outs in the sixth. Collin McHugh came in and took Lindor out.
Raisel Iglesias faced four batters in the seventh, AJ Minter faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen converted his third save of the series with a clean ninth.
Jansen leads the NL with 40 saves in 47 chances.
The Braves bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA last month, has pitched 8⅔ scoreless innings over the past two nights.
“I’m proud of everything they’ve done,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “It’s not conditional. It’s unconditional, the support, and if I know these guys they’ll bounce back and make someone feel their pain.”
ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.