Braves beat Mariners, move ahead of Mets in NL East

AP photo by Caean Couto / Atlanta Braves right fielder Robbie Grossman runs the bases after hitting a home run during Friday night’s game against the host Seattle Mariners.

SEATTLE — Out on the West Coast late Friday night, the Atlanta Braves moved into a spot familiar to them, though not this year.

All alone atop the National League East Division standings.

Dansby Swanson hit one of Atlanta's four home runs, and the reigning World Series champions grabbed sole possession of first place in the division for the first time all season with a 6-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

Robbie Grossman, Travis d'Arnaud and rookie Michael Harris II also went deep for the streaking Braves (87-51), who won their eighth straight game and jumped a half-game ahead of the New York Mets (87-52) in the NL East after chasing them for five months. New York lost 6-3 to the host Miami Marlins earlier in the night in a division matchup.

Atlanta is the four-time reigning champion in the NL East.

"That's why we're playing these games: trying to win the division," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "That's our goal. When we left spring training, our number-one goal was to win the division. I think they've been great in their approach and how they come to work."

Atlanta was seven games back on Aug. 8 and 10 1/2 behind on June 1. The only previous day this season the Mets did not hold at least a share of the division lead was April 11, when they were a half-game behind the Philadelphia Phillies.

"It shows how dedicated we are to winning and how much we want to win," said Harris, a rookie who was called up in late May. "We were down 10 games at one point, and now we're leading the East. That was our main goal. We got to it, and now we're just trying to keep it."

Carlos Santana homered twice and J.P. Crawford also connected for the Mariners (77-61), who are second in the American League West, 12 games behind the Houston Astros — but in position for the AL's third and final wild card.

Atlanta starter Charlie Morton (8-5) allowed four runs in 6 1/3 innings. Grossman, a journeyman added in an early August trade with the Detroit Tigers, had three hits and two RBIs.

"I can't say enough about (Grossman) — just the professional he is, how he shows up every day and he's ready to go," Snitker said. "Even if he's not in the starting lineup, he's always ready. We've been very fortunate this year that those guys at the back end of the lineup have done a lot of damage for us."

Swanson gave Atlanta a 2-0 lead in the first inning with a two-run homer off Robbie Ray (12-9), who gave up four runs in five innings.

After a walk to Jesse Winker in the second, Santana tied it with a home run. Atlanta regained the lead in the fourth when Harris led off with a double and scored on Grossman's single.

A two-out homer by d'Arnaud in the fifth made it 4-2. Crawford answered with a solo shot in the bottom half, his first home run since June 1. Harris and Grossman both homered in the sixth to make it 6-3.

"It was the night of the home run, I guess," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "They hit one more than we did. The ball was getting out of here tonight."

Santana hit his second of the game and 14th of the season in the seventh. Seattle then had runners on first and second with two outs, but A.J. Minter struck out Ty France to end the inning.

Atlanta's Raisel Iglesias struck out three in a hitless eighth, and Kenley Jansen whiffed two in a 1-2-3 ninth for his 33rd save.

Seattle has lost three of its past four outings but is four games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles in the AL wild-card standings.

"Carlos kept us in the game," Servais said. "Carlos had really good at-bats tonight when we needed it. It's hard to string a lot of hits together against a guy like (Morton), so you're going to have to hit the long ball, and we did. We were right there in the ballgame."

Braves left-hander Max Fried (13-5, 2.48 ERA) will start the middle game of the interleague series Saturday. The Mariners will go with right-hander George Kirby (6-3, 3.15).