Butch Dill
April 23, 2016

ATLANTA (AP) The Mets already had a nice lead entering the ninth inning but had not yet played their usual power game.

That quickly changed.

Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera hit back-to-back home runs in the ninth, Steven Matz got his second straight win and New York stayed hot by beating the power-deprived Atlanta Braves 8-2 on Saturday night.

Walker already has seven homers - an unusually strong start for the second baseman whose career high is 23 for Pittsburgh in 2014.

''I'm trying to see the ball big, see the ball up in the zone and put the barrel on it,'' Walker said.

The Mets had 15 hits and have 23 homers in their last eight games.

''I think it's contagious more than anything else,'' Walker said. ''... Nobody on this team on the offensive side of things feels like they need to carry the load. One through eight we feel like we've got a good chance every time we go out there.''

David Wright hit a two-run double and Matz (2-1) allowed two runs on nine hits with eight strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.

The Mets have won seven of nine, including the first two games of the series against Atlanta.

The Braves have lost four straight and were held without a homer for the 12th straight game. Atlanta is last in the majors with only three homers through 17 games - 22 fewer than the Mets. It is the team's longest drought since going 13 straight games without a homer in May, 1983.

Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman, who began the day hitting .167, had two hits, including a run-scoring double off Matz in the third.

''It's slowly but surely coming,'' said Freeman of his swing. ''I wish it came a little bit faster. I seem to be able to only hit lefties right now.''

Wright had two doubles, including his fourth-inning drive into the right field corner that drove in Travis d'Arnaud and Curtis Granderson. Juan Lagares had a run-scoring triple in the three-run ninth.

Mets leadoff hitter Curtis Granderson had two hits and scored two runs one day after driving in five runs with two homers, including a grand slam.

Matz is 4-0 in six career road starts, including back-to-back wins at Cleveland and Atlanta this season.

Jhoulys Chacin (0-1) allowed four runs, three earned, in 5 2/3 innings.

UMPIRE CHANGE

Greg Gibson replaced injured Jeff Kellogg as acting crew chief for games Saturday and Sunday. Kellogg was the home plate umpire when he was hit by a foul tip in the first inning on Friday night. He left the game after the inning. MLB spokesman Mike Teevan said Kellogg is considered day to day. Teevan didn't disclose the nature of Kellogg's injury.

BULLPEN HELP

The Braves optioned right-hander Casey Kelly to Triple-A Gwinnett and recalled left-hander Matt Marksberry from Gwinnett. Marksberry replaced Chacin in the sixth, allowed one run while recording two outs, and was optioned back to Gwinnett following the game.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mets: OF Yoenis Cespedes was held out after aggravating his bruised right leg while sliding into second with a double in Friday night's game. Manager Terry Collins said Cespedes also will be held out on Sunday. ''The bruise is pretty big. It's looking pretty bad,'' Collins said.

Braves: OF Ender Inciarte, on the DL since April 9 with a strained left hamstring, may return in about two weeks. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Inciarte is hitting in extended spring training games but not running full speed. Gonzalez said the plan is to ''ramp him up'' in a few days.

UP NEXT

Mets: RHP Jacob DeGrom will start Sunday against the Braves after missing one turn because of a sore right lat muscle and another start due to his son's health concern. DeGrom joined the team Saturday and said his son had a form of apnea that caused him to stop breathing after falling asleep. He said his son no longer has the problem.

Braves: RHP Aaron Blair, who was 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA and 22 strikeouts in three starts for Gwinnett, was recalled after the game and will make his major league debut on Sunday.

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