Braves nearly convert combined no-hitter as Mets rookie Christian Scott records loss in home debut

NEW YORK — Christian Scott occupies a locker in a corner near the showers in the Citi Field clubhouse. It’s a quiet corner of pitchers — often pitchers who don’t occupy lockers in the big league clubhouse for extended periods.

The rookie right-hander was mostly left alone before he made the first home start of his career Saturday against the Atlanta Braves, and in a joyful moment, he danced. Donning headphones, the 24-year-old boogied to his pregame tunes like no one was watching. He shimmied his shoulders and bobbed his head hours before facing one of baseball’s best lineups.

The joy was sucked out of the ballpark soon after that.

The Braves nearly tossed a combined no-hitter with left-hander Max Fried throwing seven innings in the Mets‘ 4-1 loss. J.D. Martinez broke it up with a home run off closer Raisel Iglesias in the bottom of the ninth with two outs, his first long-ball in a Mets uniform.

Though it was a stellar start from Scott, he was charged with the first loss of his career (0-1), allowing three runs on six hits over six innings.

The Mets (18-20) have frequently been referencing the “roller coaster ride” that a 162-game season brings, and this game was a ride all on its own. Getting two-hit by a division rival is about as low as it gets, but the emergence of Scott as a pitcher capable of handling a lineup like Atlanta’s is undoubtedly a positive.

At the very least, it was a memorable game for all involved.

Fried (3-1) gave up plenty of hard contact, especially early in the game, but the ball found gloves each time. With two outs in the bottom of the third and the Mets trailing 2-0, he walked Tomas Nido and Brandon Nimmo, facing traffic for the first time. But Starling Marte struck out to end the inning and even worse, Nimmo tweaked the intercostal muscle on his right side in that at-bat. He was later removed from the game.

Scott gave up a two-run homer to Orlando Arcia in the top of the third. The Braves (24-12) pushed another run across in the fourth to go up 3-0. Scott pitched into the seventh inning but was replaced by right-hander Sean Reid-Foley after he put the first two runners on base.

An error by Francisco Lindor loaded the bases, with Jarred Kelenic’s grounder popping right out of his glove. It should have been an easy out and possibly a double play ball.

Ronald Acuña Jr. then sent a hard grounder to Jeff McNeil at second, knocking his glove clear off his left hand. McNeil recovered in time to grab the ball with his bare glove hand and flip it to Lindor at second, effectively starting the double play and keeping the runners from scoring.

Scott struck out eight and walked two.

Meanwhile, Fried dazzled. The left-hander struck out five and walked three. With his pitch count in the high 90s in the bottom of the seventh, the Braves started getting relievers loose in the bullpen. Martinez nearly broke up the no-hitter with a two-run home run to center field but Michael Harris II caught it at the wall.

Right-hander Joe Jimenez came in to preserve the no-hitter for the Braves in the eighth. He walked two hitters but struck out Tyrone Taylor and Marte. The ballpark went eerily quiet in the top of the ninth as Jorge Lopez walked in a run.

The joy returned to Queens after Martinez’s homer. The Mets might have lost the game and the series, but they didn’t lose their dignity.