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Monday November 29th, 2021 7:10AM

Riley homers again as Braves win series, inch closer to Mets

By Jerry Beach
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NEW YORK (AP) — Austin Riley concluded his big week at Citi Field by hitting a two-run homer and finishing with three RBIs, and the Atlanta Braves inched closer to the NL East-leading New York Mets with a 6-3 victory on Thursday.

The Braves won three games in the unusual four-day, five game series to move within four games of the Mets.

Riley made it 2-0 in the fourth when he took Taijuan Walker deep to left-center. He added an RBI single in the fifth. Riley had four homers and seven RBIs in the last three games of the series and has eight longballs in 20 career games at Citi Field.

The 24-year-old also made a handful of impressive plays this week at third base. He snared a sharp grounder by J.D. Davis to rob the Mets’ third baseman of a third-inning hit on Thursday.

Abraham Almonte and Dansby Swanson also homered for the Braves.

Jesse Chavez (1-2), the second of five Braves pitchers, worked a scoreless fifth. Atlanta starter Drew Smyly allowed three runs in four innings, including Pete Alonso's two-run homer to the third deck in left field — a blast estimated at 453 feet.

Tyler Matzek and Luke Jackson combined for three scoreless innings before Will Smith worked the ninth for his 21st save.

Walker (7-5) allowed five runs on six hits and two walks with seven strikeouts over five innings. He’s 0-2 with a 15.43 ERA in his last three starts.

Jonathan Villar had three hits for the Mets.

RAIN, RAIN, STAY AWAY

The Braves’ final scheduled visit to Citi Field this season was played without interruption. Overnight forecasts had thunderstorms descending upon the area, but no rain fell as the game was played under increasingly cloudy skies.

STREAKING

Jeff McNeil, who went 2-for-4 Wednesday to extend his hitting streak to 15 games — the longest of his career and the longest active streak in the majors — didn’t play. The Mets have been cautious with McNeil, who missed a month with a left hamstring injury and sat out three of the first four games on the current homestand with a sore left leg.

In McNeil’s place the Mets started Brandon Drury, who entered Thursday with hits in each of his last six at-bats. He extended the streak to eight with singles in the second and fourth innings. With a chance to tie the franchise record for consecutive at-bats with a hit — set by Jose Vizcaino in 1996 and tied by John Olerud in 1998 — Drury grounded into a double play in the sixth.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: Smyly didn’t miss a start after exiting last Saturday’s outing against the Phillies with a sore left knee.

Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (right forearm) threw a side session, his third since going on the injured list on July 18.

UP NEXT

Braves: RHP Touki Toussaint (1-1, 1.32 ERA) makes his third start of the year as Atlanta returns home to begin a three-game series with the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers.

Mets: RHP Carlos Carrasco is slated to make his New York debut in the opener of a three-game series against the visiting Cincinnati Reds. Carrasco, acquired from the Cleveland Indians in January, has been out all year with a right hamstring injury.

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