NEW YORK — Rick Porcello was staggered in his New York Mets debut by Dansby Swanson and the Atlanta Braves.
The 26-year-old shortstop tied his MLB career high with five RBIs Sunday night, and the Braves chased an erratic Porcello during the third inning of a 14-1 blowout of their National League East Division rivals.
"This is a dream of mine since I was a kid," Porcello said. "Makes it very disappointing today."
Porcello grew up in nearby Morristown, New Jersey, starred at Seton Hall Prep and was taken by the Detroit Tigers 27th overall in the 2007 Major League Baseball amateur draft. He won the American League Cy Young Award with the Boston Red Sox in 2016 and signed a $10 million, one-year deal with the Mets during the offseason to be able to pitch a one-hour drive from home.
He lasted 15 batters, allowing seven runs (six earned) on seven hits and three walks in two-plus innings.
"Obviously, I don't feel good about what I did today. It was a terrible performance," Porcello said.
Porcello was hurt by Jeff McNeil, who shifted from third base to the grass in short right field and allowed Ozzie Albies' leadoff grounder in the third to bounce out of his glove for an error.
"He didn't pitch up effectively, not high enough where he can be effective," Mets manager Luis Rojas said. "It was up where he could serve the hitters a little more."
"Any different kind of game, we can play: home runs, small ball or use our speed. It's a very dynamic team, which is very fun to be a part of," Swanson said.
Swanson, Marcell Ozuna and Austin Riley all went deep against Corey Oswalt, who has allowed 18 home runs in 20 appearances in the majors. He was optioned to the Mets' alternate training site after throwing 73 pitches.
Riley's drive went off the facade of the left-field upper deck and would have traveled 458 feet unimpeded, according to Statcast.
Albies had three hits and three RBIs, including a two-run homer off Paul Sewald.
Swanson blooped an RBI single to center for the second run of the first inning, hit a two-run double that chased Porcello in a five-run third, then had a two-run, opposite-field homer to right-center in the fourth for a 9-1 lead. The shortstop also had five RBIs against the Philadelphia Phillies last July 4, which had been the last time he homered.
Given an eight-run lead, Atlanta starter Sean Newcomb was removed after pitching 3 1/3 innings and failed to get the win. He struggled with command, starting seven of his first nine batters with balls, throwing 42 of 82 pitches for strikes, hitting two batters and throwing a wild pitch.
He was replaced by Jhouyls Chacín (1-0) after allowing a double to the No. 8 hitter, backup catcher Tomás Nido. Released by the Minnesota Twins in mid-July, Chacín allowed one hit over 3 2/3 scoreless innings in his first Braves appearance since 2016.
Matt Adams, who opted out of a minor league deal with the Mets to sign with the Braves, put Atlanta ahead in the two-run first when he lined an RBI single through the shortstop hole vacated by the defensive shift. The night got worse from there for Porcello.
"We've got 57 more games, and it's a race to the finish," he said. "So we'll bounce back in four days and get back on track and make some better memories than it did tonight."
New York second baseman Robinson Canó was dropped to seventh in the batting order in a regular-season game for the first time since the last day of the 2009 season. He went 0-for-3, finishing 1-for-9 with zero RBIs in the series.
Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, voted the NL's top rookie in 2019, debuted rakish bright blue spikes with a white pattern that resembled an ice sheet. His nickname is Polar Bear.
After the game, New York headed to Boston for its first trip of 2020, doing so on six charter buses rather than a private plane.
Mets reliever Justin Wilson said he will miss team dinners on the road, among the casualties of MLB's health and safety protocol.
"That stuff's fun, but we understand the benefits of still practicing social distancing and not losing guys," he said.
Michael Conforto anticipated a "Call of Duty" competition and lauded Brandon Nimmo.
"A lot of guys are bringing their Xbox, PlayStation," he said. "Nimmo didn't really play a whole lot of video games, but he's strategic, calling out the plan. He's just super smart."
Back in Atlanta, Braves left-handed pitcher Will Smith, who has recovered from COVID-19, played catch at Truist Park and will pitch off a mound in the next few days.
Atlanta manager Brian Snitker was asked about top catchers Tyler Flowers and Travis d'Arnaud, who went on the injured list Friday with symptoms of possible coronarvius.
"They're still not feeling great. They're still kind of under the weather, so to speak. The tests are coming back negative so far," Snitker said. "They haven't turned the corner yet in just how they feel."
The Braves remain on the road for a two-game set at Tampa Bay on Monday and Tuesday, and then they'll host the Rays on Wednesday and Thursday before welcoming the Mets for a four-game series that starts Friday.