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Atlanta at New York

N.Y. Mets
W: A. Heilman (7-3) L: R. Soriano (2-3)
S: B. Wagner (26)
HR: ATL - None   NYM - M. Alou (5)

Mets hold off Braves' late rally, increase lead in NL East

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

NEW YORK -- Bases loaded, nobody out, one-run game. Billy Wagner never lost his cool on a sweltering night at Shea Stadium, and the New York Mets hung on for a big victory against Atlanta.

Wagner escaped a major jam in the ninth inning and Moises Alou hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth to help New York edge the Braves 4-3 on Wednesday.

Wagner earned his 350th career save and extended his scoreless streak to 21 innings when slumping Andruw Jones grounded into a game-ending double play. Jeff Francoeur bounced into a force play at the plate for the first out of the inning.

"I made two good pitches, one to Francoeur and one to Andruw and that's all I needed tonight," Wagner said. "There's always a way to get out of it and tonight we proved it."

Shawn Green went 4-for-4 for the Mets, who beat Atlanta for only the fourth time in 11 meetings this season. Luis Castillo's broken-bat, two-run single off reliever Ron Mahay tied the score with two outs in the seventh.

By rebounding from a 7-3 loss Tuesday night, the NL East leaders increased their cushion over the Braves to 4½ games. Atlanta, which had won three straight overall, fell to third place, a half-game behind Philadelphia.

"It was a big game, a huge game. We got a great performance from El Duque and a big hit from Castillo," Green said.

A pair of 12-game winners will start the deciding game of the series Thursday afternoon, with Tim Hudson opposing New York's John Maine.

After an early pitchers' duel between fortysomethings John Smoltz and Orlando Hernandez, the Braves went ahead 2-1 in the sixth on a two-out, two-run double by Mets nemesis Chipper Jones. Mark Teixeira followed with an RBI single.

On a 93-degree evening at Shea, Wagner entered in the ninth with a 4-3 lead. But Chipper Jones and Teixeira hit consecutive singles before the closer walked pinch-hitter Chris Woodward, who was squaring around to bunt.

Francoeur, on a recent tear, hit a grounder to third baseman David Wright for an out at the plate. Andruw Jones, struggling through a poor season and dropped to seventh in the lineup for the second time this year, then hit a grounder to Castillo at second for a tailor-made double play.

Andruw Jones also grounded into an inning-ending double play in the fifth and finished 0-for-4, dropping his batting average to .215.

"He's a good hitter. He should break out. We're waiting," Braves manager Bobby Cox said.

The victory preserved, Castillo did a jubilant little dance with shortstop Jose Reyes. It was Wagner's 26th save in 27 chances this season. He has not permitted a run in 19 outings since June 15.

"Set the table, just didn't clear it," Chipper Jones said. "Nobody to kick but ourselves."

After two long flyouts earlier in the game, Alou drove an 0-2 pitch from Rafael Soriano (2-3) over the left-field fence.

"My previous couple at-bats, I felt more comfortable at the plate. I trusted my hands," Alou said.

Aaron Heilman (7-3) worked a scoreless eighth for the win, becoming the first Mets pitcher to beat Atlanta this season other than Oliver Perez.

Wright hit a sacrifice fly in the first off Smoltz, who left with a 3-1 lead. He was charged with three runs -- two earned -- and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings.

"That's the toughest one of the year so far," Smoltz said. "They found every hole."

Cox said Smoltz tweaked his back in the sixth, but it was nothing serious.

Hernandez allowed three runs and four hits in seven innings. He didn't give up a hit until Brian McCann's leadoff single in the fifth.


  • Mets RHP Pedro Martinez gave up five runs and six hits in three innings for Class-A St. Lucie against Lakeland, his first minor league rehab start as he attempts to return to New York's rotation after offseason shoulder surgery. The three-time Cy Young Award winner struck out five and threw 44 of 63 pitches for strikes. He did not walk a batter, but allowed two homers.
  • The gametime temperature was the highest at Shea Stadium since a 98-degree day on Aug. 9, 2001, against Milwaukee.
  • The Mets have won El Duque's last six starts and eight of his past nine.
  • New York improved to 15-6 in one-run games.
  • Green is 16-for-29 (.552) against Smoltz.
Copyright 2017 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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Moises Alou (L) comes up big for the Mets with a tiebreaking HR off Rafael Soriano in the eighth.  (AP)
Moises Alou (L) comes up big for the Mets with a tiebreaking HR off Rafael Soriano in the eighth. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

M. Alou
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1

C. Jones
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0

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Atlanta Braves
Willie Harris, LF3110121 .328
Kelly Johnson, 2B4110020 .297
Chipper Jones, 3B4122000 .340
Mark Teixeira, 1B4021010 .294
Brian McCann, C3010001 .267
   a- Chris Woodward, PH0000100 .214
Jeff Francoeur, RF4000014 .307
Andruw Jones, CF4000002 .215
Yunel Escobar, SS3000010 .327
John Smoltz, P1000110 .111
    Ron Mahay, P0000000 .000
    Peter Moylan, P0000000 .000
   b- Scott Thorman, PH1000000 .219
    Rafael Soriano, P0000000 .000
a-walked for McCann in the 9th
b-flied out for Moylan in the 8th
2B - Chipper Jones (27, Hernandez)
RBI - Chipper Jones 2 (60), Mark Teixeira (58)
2-OUT RBI - Chipper Jones 2 (23), Mark Teixeira (22)
CS - Willie Harris (10, 2nd base by Heilman/Lo Duca)
Team LOB - 4
DP - Jones-Johnson-Teixeira
E - John Smoltz (2, Throwing)
Atlanta Braves
John Smoltz 6.1832140 3.03
Ron Mahay (BS,1) 0.1100100 2.64
Peter Moylan 0.1000000 1.90
Rafael Soriano (L,2-3) 1211001 3.83
Pitches-Strikes - John Smoltz 101-69, Ron Mahay 11-6, Peter Moylan 3-2, Rafael Soriano 18-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Smoltz 6-7, Peter Moylan 1-0, Rafael Soriano 1-2
Batters Faced - John Smoltz 26, Ron Mahay 3, Peter Moylan 1, Rafael Soriano 5
New York Mets
Jose Reyes, SS3120103 .305
Luis Castillo, 2B3022002 .307
David Wright, 3B3001024 .299
Carlos Delgado, 1B4000002 .251
Moises Alou, LF4111001 .299
Shawn Green, RF4140000 .277
Paul Lo Duca, C4010002 .266
Lastings Milledge, CF4110023 .303
Orlando Hernandez, P2000002 .175
   a- Ruben Gotay, PH0000000 .344
   b- Damion Easley, PH0000100 .269
    Aaron Heilman, P0000000 .000
    Billy Wagner, P0000000 .000
a-announced for Hernandez in the 7th
b-walked for Gotay in the 7th
HR - Moises Alou (5, Soriano)
SF - David Wright (5)
SH - Luis Castillo (7)
RBI - Luis Castillo 2 (20), David Wright (68), Moises Alou (18)
2-OUT RBI - Luis Castillo 2 (12)
SB - Jose Reyes (54, 2nd base off Smoltz/McCann)
CS - Jose Reyes (15, 2nd base by Smoltz/McCann)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Reyes-Castillo-Delgado, Castillo-Reyes-Delgado
New York Mets
Orlando Hernandez 7433270 3.05
Aaron Heilman (W,7-3) 1100010 3.41
Billy Wagner (S,26) 1200100 1.28
Pitches-Strikes - Orlando Hernandez 101-64, Aaron Heilman 20-12, Billy Wagner 15-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Orlando Hernandez 6-7, Billy Wagner 2-0
Batters Faced - Orlando Hernandez 26, Aaron Heilman 3, Billy Wagner 5
Game Information
Attendance - 51749
Game Time - 2:48
Temperature - 93
Umpires - Home - Larry Poncino, First Base - Jerry Meals, Second Base - Bruce Dreckman, Third Base - Gary Darling