Atlanta at New York

Scoreboard
Atlanta (60-53) «1230001007151
N.Y. Mets (63-49)000120000360

Braves solve Perez puzzle, gain ground on NL East-leading Mets

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- The way the Atlanta Braves ganged up on Oliver Perez in the first three innings Tuesday night, it seemed they had finally solved the New York Mets left-hander, who had beaten them three times this season.

"Nah," said Atlanta manager Bobby Cox.

Then he waffled a bit, adding, "We've seen him so much, maybe we learned a little. Who knows? We hit some hard balls that found holes and some not so hard that found holes."

Perez gave up six runs and seven hits in the first three innings and Jeff Francoeur paced a 15-hit attack with four hits, including a three-run homer, in Atlanta's 7-3 win.

"We attacked him early," Francoeur said. "That was the biggest thing. Other times, we'd be down 2-0, 3-0 and he relaxed. We never jumped out the way we did tonight."

In his first three starts against Atlanta this season, Perez (10-8) had allowed three runs in 20 2/3 innings. He allowed that many in the first two innings Tuesday night.

Matt Diaz hit a solo home run against Perez in the first inning and Francoeur added a three-run shot in the third as the Braves began the three-game series with a sense of urgency. The victory, Atlanta's seventh in 10 games against New York this season, moved the second-place Braves within 3½ games of the Mets in the National League East.

Perez struggled right from the start, needing eight pitches to retire leadoff batter Yunel Escobar in the first inning. Diaz, Atlanta's second batter, then hit Perez's next pitch for a home run. It was the eighth of the season for Diaz and third in his last five games.

In the second, Francoeur doubled with one out and scored on a single by Brian McCann. Then pitcher Buddy Carlyle singled and Escobar doubled for a 3-0 Atlanta lead. Perez retired Diaz for the third out, stranding two runners in scoring position.

But the Braves were back for more an inning later. Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones singled and Francoeur hit his 13th home run of the season to make it 6-0. Perez, usually energetic and exuberant, kicked the dirt disgustedly as he walked off the mound at the end of the inning. He allowed two earned runs or less in 12 of his first 19 starts but was nowhere near that efficient in No. 20.

"When Chipper and Andruw hit bloopers, you can't do anything about that," Perez said. "We tried to change speeds but that wasn't working. You've got to keep the ball down. I threw a lot of pitches that were up."

Mets manager Willie Randolph thought the Braves' approach at the plate made the difference.

"I thought they fought him pretty good," he said. "They fouled off a lot of pitches. I didn't think he threw all that bad. Obviously, when they hit home runs, it's location."

Perez gave up six runs and 10 hits in five innings, throwing 109 pitches.

Nobody appreciated the early runs more than Carlyle (7-3), who worked the first five innings.

The journeyman right-hander allowed three runs and six hits in five innings. The Mets nicked him for a run in the fourth when David Wright walked, took third on a single by Carlos Delgado and scored as Moises Alou hit into a double play.

In the fifth, Lastings Milledge opened with a double and scored on a triple by pinch hitter David Newhan. Jose Reyes then bounced out, scoring Newhan.

"It's easier to pitch when you get those early runs," Carlyle said. "I know my role. Try to keep my team in the game every game, give my team a chance to win. If I can do that, I've done my job."

Francoeur went further than that. "He's our MVP, to come and do what he's done," he said.

Four Braves relievers pitched four hitless innings to close out the game.

Chipper Jones opened the Braves seventh against Mets reliever Aaron Sele with a triple off Milledge's glove in center field and came home as Alou made a diving grab, turning Mark Teixeira's line drive into a sacrifice fly.

Notes

  • Mets 3B Wright and SS Reyes let a foul pop by Kelly Johnson drop in the second inning. Perez came back to strike out Johnson.
  • Francoeur fell a triple short of the cycle.
  • Alou hit into two double plays.
  • Braves pinch hitter Scott Thorman doubled off the top of the right field fence in the sixth, missing a home run by inches.
  • Martin Prado, just called up from Triple-A Richmond, had a pinch double in the eighth.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Left fielder Matt Diaz's solo homer in the first inning jump-starts the visiting Braves.  (AP)
Left fielder Matt Diaz's solo homer in the first inning jump-starts the visiting Braves. (AP)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

J. Francoeur
AB 5
R 2
H 4
HR 1
RBI 3
Atlanta

C. Jones
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 0
RBI 0
 

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Atlanta Braves
Yunel Escobar, SS5021012 .333
Matt Diaz, LF5111025 .344
    Rafael Soriano, P0000000 .000
    Peter Moylan, P0000000 .000
Chipper Jones, 3B5230021 .338
Mark Teixeira, 1B3001001 .292
Andruw Jones, CF4110110 .217
Jeff Francoeur, RF5243003 .310
Brian McCann, C5111005 .267
Kelly Johnson, 2B5000024 .297
Buddy Carlyle, P2010010 .148
   a- Scott Thorman, PH1010000 .220
    Ron Mahay, P0000000 .000
    Octavio Dotel, P0000000 .000
   b- Martin Prado, PH1010000 .207
    Willie Harris, LF0000000 .328
Totals41715719  
a-doubled for Carlyle in the 6th
b-doubled for Dotel in the 8th
Batting
2B - Yunel Escobar (11, Perez), Chipper Jones (26, Mota), Jeff Francoeur 2 (31, Perez, Sele), Scott Thorman (17, Sele), Martin Prado (1, Mota)
3B - Chipper Jones (3, Sele)
HR - Matt Diaz (8, Perez), Jeff Francoeur (13, Perez)
SF - Mark Teixeira (2)
RBI - Yunel Escobar (17), Matt Diaz (31), Mark Teixeira (57), Jeff Francoeur 3 (75), Brian McCann (65)
2-OUT RBI - Yunel Escobar (8)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Jones-Johnson-Teixeira, Jones-Johnson-Teixeira, Escobar-Johnson-Teixeira
E - Kelly Johnson (11, Misplayed grounder)
Atlanta Braves
Buddy Carlyle (W,7-3) 5633110 4.28
Ron Mahay (H,2) 1000100 2.66
Octavio Dotel 1000010 4.61
Rafael Soriano 1000000 3.73
Peter Moylan 1000010 1.91
Pitches-Strikes - Buddy Carlyle 79-51, Ron Mahay 14-9, Octavio Dotel 7-7, Rafael Soriano 14-10, Peter Moylan 9-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Buddy Carlyle 5-8, Ron Mahay 2-0, Rafael Soriano 2-1, Peter Moylan 2-0
Batters Faced - Buddy Carlyle 21, Ron Mahay 3, Octavio Dotel 3, Rafael Soriano 3, Peter Moylan 3
New York Mets
Jose Reyes, SS4011000 .303
Luis Castillo, 2B4010001 .304
David Wright, 3B3100102 .301
Carlos Delgado, 1B3010111 .254
Moises Alou, LF4000001 .301
Shawn Green, RF4010000 .269
Paul Lo Duca, C3000001 .266
Lastings Milledge, CF3110020 .306
Oliver Perez, P1000000 .205
   a- David Newhan, PH1111000 .212
    Aaron Sele, P0000000 .000
    Scott Schoeneweis, P0000000 .000
   b- Ruben Gotay, PH1000000 .344
    Guillermo Mota, P0000000 .000
    Pedro Feliciano, P0000000 .000
Totals3136223  
a-tripled for Perez in the 5th
b-flied out for Schoeneweis in the 7th
Batting
2B - Lastings Milledge (7, Carlyle)
3B - David Newhan (1, Carlyle)
RBI - Jose Reyes (46), David Newhan (5)
Team LOB - 3
New York Mets
Oliver Perez (L,10-8) 51066052 3.31
Aaron Sele 1.2311010 4.12
Scott Schoeneweis 0.1000000 5.31
Guillermo Mota 1.1200120 4.91
Pedro Feliciano 0.2000010 2.83
HBP - Teixeira (by Guillermo Mota)
Pitches-Strikes - Oliver Perez 109-78, Aaron Sele 32-18, Scott Schoeneweis 1-1, Guillermo Mota 29-16, Pedro Feliciano 7-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Oliver Perez 1-9, Aaron Sele 2-2, Scott Schoeneweis 1-0, Guillermo Mota 2-0
Batters Faced - Oliver Perez 25, Aaron Sele 8, Scott Schoeneweis 1, Guillermo Mota 8, Pedro Feliciano 2
Game Information
Attendance - 52177
Game Time - 2:45
Temperature - 82
Umpires - Home - Gary Darling, First Base - Larry Poncino, Second Base - Jerry Meals, Third Base - Bruce Dreckman