|N.Y. Mets «||1||0||1||0||0||0||4||0||x||6||10||0|
NEW YORK -- Don't panic over the state of the Atlanta Braves. They're not.
The Braves lost their fourth straight game Saturday, beaten 6-5 by the New York Mets, to drop to 12-18, nine games behind the Mets. Atlanta, winner of 14 straight division titles, hasn't been this far out of first place since Aug. 11, 1993.
The Braves seem a tad concerned but not exactly terrified. Maybe that's because they ended the season in first the last time they were this far back.
"Nobody in here is going to panic," Chipper Jones said. "We're going to show up for work tomorrow, play hard and see how we stand after 27 outs. There's a lot of baseball left to play."
John Smoltz, who will start Sunday, said it's not as if his team isn't trying.
"It's not a matter of effort," he said. "It's a matter of finding a way to win some of these games. Everybody realizes the importance of getting ourselves going. It's just not working right now. We need to start winning."
Saturday's loss was similar to Friday night's 14-inning setback with the Mets coming from behind late to overtake Atlanta.
"Both games, we had the lead in the seventh inning and managed not to win the game," manager Bobby Cox said. "We didn't make a couple of pitches. We didn't make a couple of plays. We've had a lot of leads and managed to lose ballgames."
The difference Saturday was a four-run Mets rally in the seventh punctuated by run-scoring hits by Jose Reyes and Kaz Matsui as New York won its fourth straight.
The Mets, who wiped out a four-run Atlanta lead with a seventh-inning rally Friday night, were trailing 3-2 after Adam LaRoche homered for Atlanta in the top of the seventh.
Xavier Nady opened the bottom half with a single against Tim Hudson (2-3) and after Ramon A. Castro struck out, pinch-hitter Jose Valentin also singled. Reyes, who had five hits Friday night and went 3-for-5 Saturday, delivered an RBI single to tie it. Reyes took second when the throw to third got away from Jones.
Matsui followed with a two-run double into right field. Carlos Beltran, who homered for the second straight day, was walked intentionally and then walks to David Wright and Cliff Floyd forced in another run.
LaRoche's fifth home run of the season gave Atlanta the lead in the top of the seventh. He connected against reliever Bartolome Fortunato (1-0), who was recalled from the minors earlier in the day.
Jorge Julio gave up a one-out RBI single to pinch-hitter Matt Diaz in the ninth before retiring the last two hitters for his first save since 1994. With runners on first and third, Julio shattered Edgar Renteria's bat on a groundout to shortstop to end it.
Fortunato had come into the game in the sixth inning after Atlanta tied it 2-2 on a double by Renteria and an RBI single by Jones. The run chased Darren Oliver, who relieved Mets starter Victor Zambrano after just four batters when Zambrano experienced discomfort in his right elbow.
"I kind of knew that might happen," Oliver said of Zambrano's sudden exit. "I knew to be ready. We talked a couple of days ago. I didn't know how serious it was."
Zambrano kept his problem private. Manager Willie Randolph said he was unaware of the problem and his starter struck out two of the first three batters he faced. While working to Andruw Jones, he looked uncomfortable, prompting Randolph, trainers and catcher Ramon A. Castro to come to the mound.
"He said he was OK," Castro said. "He was throwing good. He said, 'I'm OK, let's go.'"
Zambrano struck out Jones and then sprinted off the mound straight through the dugout and into the clubhouse. He had an MRI after the game.
The Mets scored first when Reyes opened the first with a double, moved to third on an infield out and scored on an RBI single by Carlos Delgado.
After Oliver relieved Zambrano, he retired one batter and then gave up a first-pitch home run to Jeff Francoeur to tie it at 1-1. It was Francoeur's fifth homer of the season.
Beltran put the Mets back in front in the third with his seventh home run of the season.
|Kaz Matsui's seventh-inning double drives in two of the Mets' four runs in the inning. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Marcus Giles, 2B||5||1||1||0||0||2||1||.220|
|Edgar Renteria, SS||3||1||1||0||2||0||2||.348|
|Chipper Jones, 3B||4||0||1||1||0||2||3||.281|
|Andruw Jones, CF||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.283|
|Brian Jordan, LF||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||.333|
|Adam LaRoche, 1B||4||1||1||1||0||1||2||.207|
|Jeff Francoeur, RF||4||1||1||1||0||1||0||.218|
|Ryan Langerhans, LF-CF||3||1||1||0||1||1||0||.261|
|Todd Pratt, C||3||0||0||0||0||2||1||.143|
|a- Brian McCann, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.325|
|Tim Hudson, P||2||0||0||0||0||2||0||.154|
|Mike Remlinger, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Peter Moylan, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Wilson Betemit, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.262|
|Oscar Villarreal, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|c- Matt Diaz, PH||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||.250|
|a-singled for Pratt in the 9th|
|b-struck out for Moylan in the 8th|
|c-singled for Villarreal in the 9th|
|2B - Edgar Renteria (6, Oliver)|
|HR - Adam LaRoche (5, Fortunato), Jeff Francoeur (5, Oliver)|
|RBI - Chipper Jones (12), Brian Jordan (2), Adam LaRoche (15), Jeff Francoeur (18), Matt Diaz (5)|
|2-OUT RBI - Brian Jordan (2), Jeff Francoeur (11)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Jones-Giles-LaRoche|
|E - Chipper Jones (5, Missed catch), Todd Pratt (2, )|
|Tim Hudson (L,2-3)||6.1||9||6||6||3||2||1||5.09|
|IBB - Beltran by Tim Hudson|
|Pitches-Strikes - Tim Hudson 107-61, Mike Remlinger 3-2, Peter Moylan 16-6, Oscar Villarreal 19-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Hudson 9-7|
|Batters Faced - Tim Hudson 30, Mike Remlinger 1, Peter Moylan 3, Oscar Villarreal 4|
|New York Mets|
|Jose Reyes, SS||5||2||3||1||0||0||1||.280|
|Kaz Matsui, 2B||5||1||1||2||0||0||3||.250|
|Carlos Beltran, CF||2||1||1||1||2||1||1||.273|
|Carlos Delgado, 1B||4||0||2||1||0||0||2||.296|
|David Wright, 3B||3||0||0||0||1||0||2||.307|
|Cliff Floyd, LF||2||0||0||1||2||0||2||.190|
|Xavier Nady, RF||4||1||1||0||0||1||4||.296|
|Chad Bradford, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Pedro Feliciano, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jorge Julio, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Ramon Castro, C||4||0||0||0||0||2||1||.333|
|Victor Zambrano, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Darren Oliver, P||2||0||1||0||0||0||0||.500|
|Bartolome Fortunato, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Jose Valentin, PH||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||.185|
|Endy Chavez, RF||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.296|
|a-singled for Fortunato in the 7th|
|2B - Jose Reyes 2 (7, Hudson, Villarreal), Kaz Matsui (4, Hudson), Darren Oliver (1, Hudson)|
|HR - Carlos Beltran (7, Hudson)|
|RBI - Jose Reyes (14), Kaz Matsui 2 (5), Carlos Beltran (15), Carlos Delgado (25), Cliff Floyd (14)|
|2-OUT RBI - Carlos Beltran (7), Cliff Floyd (7)|
|SB - Kaz Matsui (2, 3rd base off Moylan/Pratt), Carlos Beltran (4, 2nd base off Moylan/Pratt)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|DP - Reyes-Matsui-Delgado|
|New York Mets|
|Bartolome Fortunato (W,1-0)||1.2||1||1||1||0||0||1||5.40|
|Chad Bradford (H,2)||0.1||1||1||1||1||1||0||4.22|
|Pedro Feliciano (H,1)||0.2||1||0||0||0||2||0||1.13|
|Jorge Julio (S,1)||1||2||1||1||1||1||0||6.06|
|Pitches-Strikes - Victor Zambrano 23-14, Darren Oliver 63-39, Bartolome Fortunato 18-11, Chad Bradford 11-7, Pedro Feliciano 13-9, Jorge Julio 29-14|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Darren Oliver 2-4, Bartolome Fortunato 1-3, Jorge Julio 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Victor Zambrano 4, Darren Oliver 17, Bartolome Fortunato 5, Chad Bradford 3, Pedro Feliciano 3, Jorge Julio 6|
|Attendance - 48369|
|Game Time - 3:07|
|Temperature - 74|
|Umpires - Home - Randy Marsh, First Base - Angel Hernandez, Second Base - Hunter Wendelstedt, Third Base - Sam Holbrook|