SEATTLE – Dansby Swanson hit one of Atlanta's four home runs and the World Series champion Braves grabbed sole possession of first place for the first time all season with a 6-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.
Robbie Grossman, Travis d'Arnaud and rookie Michael Harris II also went deep for the streaking Braves, who won their eighth straight and finally jumped a half-game ahead of the Mets in the NL East after chasing them for five months. New York lost 6-3 at Miami earlier in the night.
“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 No. 1 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.
“It shows how dedicated we are to winning and how much we want to win,” Harris said. “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 for the Mariners, and J.P. Crawford also connected.
Braves starter Charlie Morton (8-5) allowed four runs in 6 1/3 innings. Grossman 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 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 reclaimed 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 home run 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.
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 four but is four games ahead of Baltimore for the final American League wild card.
“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.”
The Mariners placed utility player Dylan Moore (oblique) on the 10-day injured list Aug. 30. Servais said Friday that Moore is “feeling better,” but not doing much rotational work or swinging a bat yet. “We’ll find out in the next couple of days where he’s at,” Servais said. “He’s a nice weapon to have. We’ve missed him. We’ll know more once we get through the weekend.”
Braves: LHP Max Fried (13-5, 2.48 ERA) starts the middle game of the interleague series Saturday. He pitched five scoreless innings before a rain delay Sunday during Atlanta’s win over Miami.
Mariners: RHP George Kirby (6-3, 3.15) will take the mound. Kirby was the AL rookie of the month for August after going 4-0 in five starts with a 2.15 ERA.
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