NEW YORK — For the second straight Sunday, the Atlanta Braves started a new week with Kyle Wright on the mound against a National League East foe.
His second win as a Major League Baseball pitcher was even better than his first — both by the numbers and in what it meant to the Braves as they took another step toward a third straight division title.
Wright allowed only one hit in the best start of his budding career, with the 24-year-old right-hander pitching into the seventh inning to lead the Atlanta Braves past the New York Mets, 7-0.
Ronald Acuña Jr. homered off Rick Porcello (1-6) in the sixth for the game's first run and finished with four RBIs. Atlanta Travis d'Arnaud added a two-run double in the eighth for his latest big hit against his former team.
Wright (2-4) went 6 1/3 innings and combined with three relievers on a three-hitter as the Braves took two of three in the series from the Mets, who entered Sunday leading the majors in batting average and on-base percentage.
A week earlier, Wright earned his breakthrough win in an 8-4 victory against the Washington Nationals. The Alabama native who played for Vanderbilt University has allowed three runs and 12 baserunners over 12 1/3 innings in his past two starts after posting a 7.86 ERA and allowing 89 baserunners in his first 44 2/3 career innings.
"It's very encouraging to see him kind of get that confidence," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "That was impressive today. That's a really good-hitting ballclub that he was facing."
Against the Nationals, Wright lasted six innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Against the Mets, he allowed one hit, struck out six and walked one.
His recent surge has come at a key time for the Braves: They sit atop the NL East standings with the regular season in its final stretch but have an uncertain back end of a potential playoff rotation. Atlanta has a 2 1/2-game lead over the second-place Miami Marlins, who split a doubleheader with the Nationals and now visit the Braves for a four-game series.
"I'm not too worried about it," Wright said about earning a spot in the postseason rotation. "Whatever the team wants me to do to help the team out, that's what I'll do."
The loss damaged the Mets' postseason hopes after they began the day 1 1/2 games out of the final NL playoff spot.
"Time is ticking away," center fielder Brandon Nimmo said. "We don't have many more (games) to try and recover."
Wright and Porcello were unlikely candidates for a pitchers' duel. They came in with a combined 6.45 ERA, but both entered the sixth working on a one-hit shutout.
Wright, who walked 20 batters in 25 innings in his first seven starts this season and had never pitched beyond the sixth in 10 starts in his MLB career, retired the first eight Mets he faced before Wilson Ramos doubled down the left-field line. Wright set down the next 11 before walking J.D. Davis.
"I don't know that there's ever a bad time for a kid like that to find himself and get the confidence and get himself going," Snitker said.
Will Smith entered and got Dominic Smith to hit into an inning-ending double play.
The two-run double by d'Arnaud off Jeurys Familia provided insurance in the eighth. The catcher also singled in the sixth and finished the season hitting .479 (11-for-23) with three homers and 11 RBIs this season against the Mets, the team he played for from 2013 to last year.
"You wish he was on your team," Nimmo said. "You wish you didn't have to play him."
The Braves added four runs in the ninth, when Acuña delivered a three-run double and scored on Marcell Ozuna's double. A fire broke out just beyond Citi Field during the outburst, and smoke briefly enveloped the diamond in a charcoal-scented haze before sirens began echoing in the distance.
Atlanta reliever Chris Martin walked one in the eighth and Mark Melancon allowed consecutive hits to Ramos and Nimmo before wriggling out of a jam in the ninth.
Porcello took the hard-luck loss despite allowing just three hits and two walks in seven innings with 10 strikeouts, his most since he whiffed 10 while pitching for the Boston Red Sox against the Philadelphia Phillies on Aug. 14, 2018. Sunday's start was the 350th of his MLB career. Only three pitchers who have debuted in the past 50 years — Felix Hernandez, CC Sabathia and Greg Maddux — have reached 350 starts at a younger age than Porcello (31 years, 268 days).