Braves 9, Mets 6 (ATL: 12-6, NYM: 11-6...0.5 back)
Tom Glavine - still 7 wins shy of 300 for his career. The Mets bullpen - worse than it was on Saturday. David Wright - still under the 'johnnymets.blogspot.com Beat the Streak jinx'. Sorry about that.
This was a see-saw game - and the Braves jumped out to a 1-0 lead on the first pitch of the game. Tom Glavine left a pitch up high, and Kelly Johnson jumped all over it to lead off the game with a homer.
In the 5th, Shawn Green tied the game with a solo homer off of John Smoltz. At that point, Green was 11-for-23 in his career against Smoltz. The fifth inning was exciting - after the homer, Jose Valentin had a long flyout to the wall opposite field in left, then Tom Glavine hit a roller down the third base line. Smoltz jumped off the mound, barehanded the ball, and threw a strike to first to get Glavine. It was some play. Jose Reyes reached, then Paul Lo Duca blasted one to the right-center gap, and it bounced over the wall for a ground rule double - it would have scored a run otherwise. So with runners at second and third, Carlos Beltran took a third strike -the strikeout that tied Smoltz with Cy Young on the all-time list.
In the sixth, Jeff Francoeur had a 2-run single, making it 3-1, Atlanta, off Glavine.
In the bottom half, Carlos Delgado singled, then David Wright struck out (0-for-12 since his hitting streak ended). Moises Alou singled, putting runners at first and second. Shawn Green walked controversially, and when Bobby Cox argued, he got ejected from the game (127 career, four from a major league record). With the bases loaded, Jose Valentin made it 3-2, Braves, with a single. Then, after Julio Franco pinch hit for Tom Glavine and flew out, THE GREATEST BALLPLAYER WHO EVER LIVED lined a ball down the right field line - 3-run triple, the Mets were ahead, 5-3, and Tom Glavine could win the game. (Paul Lo Duca added an insurance run.)
No way the Mets could lose the game now...they just don't lose games like this. Well, they lost this one. In the 7th, Ambiorix Burgos got two quick outs, then got a fly ball to right field. Shawn Green jumped for it, when he didn't have to (he was on the run, but it was a routine fly ball), and it went off his glove....and it wasn't ruled an error. Scott Schoeneweis came on, gave up a walk, then a 3-run homer to Edgar Renteria. 6-6.
In the 8th, Aaron Heilman served up a 3-run homer to Kelly Johnson, following an error by Jose Valentin. (Valentin has been very sure-handed, so this is the exception, not the rule. Looking dopey in right field has almost come to be expected out of Green.) All of the runs were unearned, but Heilman lost the game.
The Mets mounted a mini-rally, but came up short. With two on in the 8th, Jose Reyes and Paul Lo Duca failed to get a run home. In the 9th, Bob Wickman struck out Carlos Beltran in a 12-pitch at-bat to lead off the inning, walked Carlos Delgado, got David Wright on a fielder's choice, gave up a single to Moises Alou, then got the tying run, Shawn Green, to ground out to short.
The Mets have lost just two series this season, and they've both been to the Braves. That doesn't bode well, if only because it lets the Braves believe they still have some sort of a shot. The Braves have played better than I thought they would to begin this season...but I don't think they'll have staying power.
The Mets are now a half-game back of Atlanta, but they can do some damage this week - they host Colorado, then go to Washington. It's John Maine against Taylor Buchholz Monday night.
Kelly's Roast Beef johnnymets.blogspot.com Player of the Game: Kelly Johnson killed the Mets on Sunday. He was 3-for-4 with 2 home runs, 4 RBI, a walk, and three runs scored. Clearly he reads the blog and took offense to me saying earlier in the year that the Braves don't have anyone who can lead off for them.
CITI FIELD UPDATE: The fact that the Mets will have a new stadium soon is quite possibly the most exciting thing for me since 1986 as far as the Mets go. Every time I drive by Shea now as I head to my parents' house in Queens, there is more and more progress on the new stadium.
That was one of the things I was looking forward to in going to the game on Friday night - seeing the construction over the outfield wall. Unfortunately, I couldn't go to Friday's game. However, my sister went to Sunday's game against the Braves, as the Mets held their annual Autism Awareness Day. (My sister does fantastic work with children, day in and day out...many of the children she works with have some form of autism. Last year The Wife and I went to Autism Awareness Day with her, and we saw Tom Glavine versus Dontrelle Willis. But I digress.) My sister took a couple of pictures with her cell phone, forwarded them to my cell phone, and I was able to get them into my e-mail, and now onto the blog (I feel like Jack Bauer). So I present you with the latest visual proof that the Mets are, in fact, building a new stadium.
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As for the Southern Bureau's comments on David Wright's homers...I can't tell you why he's not homering. I'll only say that if he wasn't hitting at all, I'd be worried. When you look at Wright's numbers since last year's All Star break, he has just 6 homers since last July. Now, he has tended to fade late in the seasons, so maybe he's made an adjustment, and is keeping himself fresher for the second half of the season/post-season. Also, Southern Bureau, maybe it just serves you right for drafting him and not allowing me to have him on my team.
BEAT THE STREAK: David Wright has to get a hit eventually, so I'm taking him against Buchholz on Monday. My longest streak so far this season has been 2 games. That's disgusting.