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4:08 PM PT5:08 PM MT6:08 PM CT7:08 PM ET19:08 ET23:08 GMT7:08 4:08 PM MST6:08 PM EST6:38 PM VEN3:08 UAE (+1)6:08 PM CT, June 30, 2019
Citi Field, Flushing, New York  Attendance: 31,743

Braves aim for sweep of struggling Mets

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The Atlanta Braves find it challenging to come up with new words to describe what they seemingly do every day. It's a far more pleasant plight than the similar yet vastly different one endured by the New York Mets.

The visiting Braves will look to complete a three-game sweep of the free-falling Mets on Sunday night. Left-hander Max Fried (9-3, 3.96 ERA) is scheduled to start for Atlanta against right-hander Noah Syndergaard (5-4, 4.55 ERA), who is lined up to come off the injured list for New York.

The Braves mounted yet another comeback -- and the Mets' combustible bullpen squandered another late-inning lead -- Saturday night, when Nick Markakis and Austin Riley homered on back-to-back pitches in the eighth inning of a 5-4 win.

It was the 21st comeback victory of the season for the National League East-leading Braves, who became the second team in the NL to reach 50 wins on Saturday night.

"I'm kind of lost (for) words, honestly," Riley told reporters afterward. "There's just no quit. I think that has a lot to do with it."

The Mets are adamant they won't quit, either, despite a seven-game losing streak that has all but ruined their season and exposed a bullpen that is down to zero reliable arms. Seth Lugo was New York's most trustworthy setup man, but he gave up the tying and go-ahead homers Saturday and has surrendered seven runs over 3 1/3 innings in his last three outings, during which his ERA has risen from 2.23 to 3.60.

Because Chris Mazza preceded Lugo with four innings of one-run relief in his big league debut, the Mets' bullpen ERA for June actually dropped Saturday from 7.98 to 7.62. But New York has blown a lead in the sixth inning or later five times during its losing streak.

"It's part of our reality," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "You have to deal with reality. You can't act like it didn't happen, obviously. So you've got to try to do the best you can to fix it and you've got to do the best you can to come in everyday and try to win the next game. Got to put it behind yourself, learn from it and then come out the next day to do better."

Fried won his second straight start Tuesday, when he gave up two runs over six innings as the Braves beat the Chicago Cubs, 3-2.

Syndergaard appears ready to return after missing 14 days with a strained left hamstring suffered while making his last pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 15, when he earned the win after allowing five runs (four earned) over six-plus innings in the Mets' 8-7 victory. He made one rehab start for short-season Class-A Brooklyn last Tuesday and allowed three runs while striking out nine over five innings.

Fried is 1-1 with a 1.77 ERA in seven career games (three starts) against the Mets. Syndergaard is 0-2 with a 3.49 ERA in seven starts against the Braves.

--Field Level Media

Updated June 30, 2019

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