ATLANTA — Matt Olson and Dansby Swanson were too young to fully appreciate what Chipper Jones did when the Mets and Braves had last played a significant late-season series in Atlanta.
But the two suburban Atlanta natives imitated Jones as they pushed the defending World Series champs a step away from a fifth straight National League East title.
Showing they are primed to enjoy another deep postseason run, the Braves completed a three-game sweep with a 5-3 win over the Mets on Sunday night at Truist Park.
Olson and Swanson both homered in each of the three games, and Atlanta maintained control throughout one of baseball’s biggest series of the year.
“When I came to the park on Friday, I told my wife, ‘Well the playoffs start today,’ and that’s what it felt like the whole playoff weekend,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.
“These guys were ready for that. They were ready to fight that fight.”
The Braves entered 10 June 1/2 games behind the Mets, and they lost four of five to New York in early August.
But this same resilient bunch that won last year’s World Series despite not having a winning record before August once again finished the regular season strong.
With this sweep, Atlanta notched its 100th win, gained a two-game lead with three games remaining and further trimmed its magic number.
The National League East race would be decided with any one Braves win in Miami or any one loss the Mets could suffer against the Nationals.
The only way the Braves would be denied a division title is if they were to lose three in Miami while the Mets win each of their final three games.
“Nothing’s done yet,” Swanson said.
“This is still part of the journey, and there’s still plenty of time left to go. There’s no point in exhaling. I feel like you just got to continue to go out there and compete and perform each and every day.”
Swanson certainly allowed his competitive spirit to shine.
The Braves’ shortstop hit the decisive go-ahead home run off Max Scherzer on Saturday and then energized the home crowd again when he homered in Sunday’s first inning against Chris Bassitt. He aided Friday’s win with a homer off Jacob deGrom.
Swanson became the first Braves player to homer in all three games of a series against the Mets since Andruw Jones in 2006. Five innings later, Olson became the second.
Olson and Swanson were just five years old when Chipper Jones hit four home runs within the nine at-bats he totaled during a three-game sweep of the Mets in Atlanta near the end of the 1999 season.
New York entered that series one game back of the division lead and left it in second place for good.