By Mike Steffanos
Mets 5 - Braves 2
The Mets did all of the little things right tonight, got good pitching from Pedro and a couple of dingers from David Wright, and sent the tomahawk choppers home disappointed tonight. In other words, it was as good as it gets for the Mets at Turner field.
Pedro was vintage Pedro this evening. He didn't have his best stuff, but shut the Braves down for 7 innings, the only blemish being a 2-run homer by Larry Jones.
Jose Reyes, who had another strong game, lead off the game with a walk. (Reyes worked deep counts all night. If his hitting comes back, and he keeps his patience going, it's scary what he might do.) Lo Duca followed with a single that moved Reyes to third. Smoltz came back to strike out Delgado, making him look bad in the process. Wright came up and picked Delgado up with a sac fly that staked Pedro to a 1-0 lead.
The Mets blew a chance to pad their lead in the second. After a poor play by Jeff Francoeur in RF, the Mets had runners on second and third, no outs. Unfortunately they had Endy Chavez and Pedro coming up, and let Smoltz off the hook. They did cash in again in the fourth when Kaz Matsui led off with a single. After Chavez and Pedro struck out, Kaz stole second during another long Reyes at bat that was capped off when Reyes tripled him home. David Wright added a solo homer in the top of the fifth to put the Mets up 3-0.
Then in the bottom of the sixth, Larry's 2-run homer tightened things up. The Mets had the bases loaded with two outs in the top of the seventh, but failed to take advantage when Nady popped out. In the bottom of the seventh, Pedro walked Adam LaRoche to lead off the inning. Orr came in to pinch run, and Jeff Francoeur hit a double play ball that Wright made a poor throw to second. Matsui made a great play to get the out at second and bail Wright out, but Francoeur was safe at first. With catcher Brian McCann at the plate, Francoeur tried to steal second but was gunned down by Lo Duca. Pedro struck out McCann to end his day in style.
Duaner Sanchez came into a 1-run game in the eighth and had a 1-2-3 inning, aided by a beautiful running catch by Chavez on a deep fly ball by Giles to end the inning. Chris Reitsma came into the game with a can of gasoline in the ninth. Jose Reyes led off with a nice bunt single to get on for the third time. He stole second, was bunted to third by Lo Duca, and scored on Delgado's sack fly. Wright followed with his second solo shot to put the Mets up by 3.
If I have any complaints at all with this game, it's that Billy Wagner hasn't gotten the memo that he's supposed to be a lights-out closer. He made it interesting by giving up a leadoff single to Renteria. He came back to strike out Larry Jones on a filthy pitch on the outside corner, but then hit Andruw with a pitch to bring the tying run to the plate. He struck out pinch-hitter Matt Diaz, but gave up a single to Francoeur to load them up. The traitorous Todd Pratt came up to hit for the left-handed McCann. After making him look bad on two sliders, Wagner got him looking on a fastball. He got his sixth save of the year, but did it in Looper-like fashion.
Thoughts on the game
Kaz Matsui just keeps plugging along. He not only is playing decent ball, but looks like he's having fun doing it. 2-4 tonight with a run scored, a stolen base and a great defensive play.
Endy Chavez can't hit, but he sure can pick 'em in centerfield.
Smoltz stopped throwing that splitter because of the arm problems it caused, and now he's gone back to it. I respect him as much as any opponent the Mets face, but I'd be really surprised if he made it over 200 innings this year.
Nice win. Win one of the next two, and we'll really be talking.
Glavine pitches against John Thomson tomorrow night in game 2. Thomson has been the Braves' most consistent starter in the early going. Let's go Mets.