NEW YORK — Francisco Lindor, James McCann and Jonathan Villar hit three of their team's season-high five homers, and Taijuan Walker pitched five scoreless innings in his return from the injured list as the New York Mets routed the Atlanta Braves 13-2 on Saturday night.
Atlanta took the lopsided loss in a matchup of National League East Division rivals as word spread that Braves star Marcell Ozuna had been arrested.
Ozuna was charged with aggravated assault strangulation and misdemeanor battery/family violence, according to Fulton County (Georgia) Jail records. The 30-year-old outfielder was booked Saturday by the Sandy Springs Police Department, and an apparent photo of his arrest was posted on Twitter.
Ozuna, who led the NL with 18 homers last year during the pandemic-shortened season, was placed on the injured list Friday by the Braves with two dislocated fingers on his left hand, an injury that occurred while he was running the bases during Tuesday's road win against the Boston Red Sox. He re-signed with Atlanta in February on a $65 million, four-year deal.
Brandon Drury and Billy McKinney piled on with homers during the Mets' seven-run sixth inning. McKinney was playing his third game for New York after being acquired earlier in the week from the Milwaukee Brewers.
McCann had four hits and lifted his batting average from .197 to .221. The injury-depleted Mets finished with 13 hits and topped three homers in a game for the first time this season.
"That's something we haven't had all year," manager Luis Rojas said. "We haven't hit for power. We've been walking, getting our singles, and that's how we've been manufacturing runs. But the homers hit tonight, that's pleasant to see."
Lindor connected in the seventh, his fourth homer since being traded by the Cleveland Indians in January and signing a $341 million, 10-year deal with New York. He raised his average to .191 with two hits, snapping a 1-for-17 slide. Booed frequently at Citi Field this month, he said before the game he understood fan frustrations and was working fervently to fix his swing.
Walker (4-1) had been out since May 17 with tightness in his left side but returned in top form, striking out eight batters while allowing two hits and a walk. The right-hander threw 80 pitches and slimmed his ERA to 1.84 over nine starts since signing a a $23 million, three-year contract with the Mets as a free agent.
New York, on top of the division standings, has won four straight despite having 16 players on the injured list, improving to 25-20.
"We're in that dugout, we're together, we're united, we have our head held high," Villar, who is from the Dominican Republic, said via translator. "We have a lot of young guys in there who want to do well, who have that hunger to do well."
Atlanta, the three-time reigning NL East champion that came within a win of reaching the World Series last fall, dropped to 24-26. The Braves haven't had a winning record all season.
After Friday's scheduled series opener was postponed by rain, the skies cleared in time Saturday for the teams to play on a soggy but manageable field. The temperature at first pitch was 51 degrees, and showers forecast throughout the weekend held off long enough for the clubs to get the game in.
Braves starter Ian Anderson (4-2) allowed four runs in four innings. The 23-year-old from Clifton Park, New York, was trying to become the first Empire State native to beat the Mets and Yankees on the road in the same season. He won in the Bronx on April 21.
Villar homered right into the home run apple in straightaway center field leading off the fifth.
"Definitely an outing I want to put behind me, but it's going to happen," Anderson said.
Both teams flashed impressive leather early. In the first inning, Mets catcher Tomás Nido threw out Ronald Acuña Jr. trying to steal second, and Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman leaped to snare Dominic Smith's line drive. In the second, Villar ended the inning by sprawling at third base for William Contreras' line drive.
The series finale is set for Sunday night and a national telecast via ESPN. Mets ace Jacob deGrom (3-2, 0.80 ERA) is set for his second start since a stint on the injured list with tightness in his right side. The Braves plan to pitch left-hander Max Fried (2-2, 4.63), though rain is in the forecast all day.