Pete Alonso, Mets stymied by Braves to open doubleheader

The Mets returned to NL East competition Monday and quickly discovered vultures are circling.

It’s hard to identify whether the Braves or Phillies are the larger threat, but the Mets aren’t in position to sleep on either, even with a respectable division lead.

On this afternoon/early evening, the new “home run horse” took a siesta, and the Mets’ bats were silent in a 2-0 loss to the Braves in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Citi Field.

After averaging 5.67 runs in their previous nine games, the Mets were shut out for the first time since the All-Star break as they began a stretch in which they play 15 of 18 games against the NL East. The Braves moved four games behind the Mets with the victory. The Phillies were 3 ¹/₂ games behind as Game 2 commenced.

Only adding to the Mets’ angst, they were staring at a bullpen performance for the nightcap of the doubleheader (with Aaron Loup as the starter) and were without a starting pitcher for Tuesday’s game against the Braves. The teams are playing a rare five-game series, the result of a postponement during the Braves’ last visit to New York. The doubleheader was the Mets’ 11th this season, with two remaining on the schedule.

Pete AlonsoCorey Sipkin

Kyle Muller stifled the Mets over five shutout innings in which he allowed four hits and two walks with three strikeouts. The left-hander was recalled from Triple-A…

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