Mets Game 23: Win Over Braves
Mets 6 Braves 3
John Smoltz didn’t have his good stuff, and the Mets jumped all over him, scoring runs in each of the first three innings and chasing “Smoltzie” to the showers after only four innings of work.
David Wright looked relieved to see Smoltz leave the game. As usual, the veteran righthander was giving David fits with his biting sliders — Wright struck out twice against him. However, D-Wright smacked an RBI single to greet reliever Will Ohman.
Meantime, Nelson Figueroa gave the Mets another excellent outing, cruising through five and a third and allowing three runs on seven hits. He wasn’t dominating, but he never struggled, either. Figgy kept the Braves off-balance with his usual assortment of curves and offspeed pitches.
Unlikely hero Raul Casanova hit the game-breaking blast in the second, a two-run homer off Smoltz to put the Mets ahead by three on the scoreboard — but by ten on the mental scoreboard. Casanova’s homer established that Smoltz had nothing but slop, and took the air out of depleted Braves (Chipper Jones and Yunel Escobar were both out, and closer Rafael Soriano was doubtful).
Carlos Delgado accentuated the Mets lead an inning later, breaking out of his slump by knocking a flat slider (or was it a bad changeup?) the other way and over the leftfield fence. Delgado proved his breakout was for real by crushing another homer later n the game off reliever Buddy Carlyle.
Casanova had three hits to lift his average to .333. Delgado was 2-for-2 with two walks, three runs scored, and two RBI. He was given a standing ovation after his second ‘tater, suggesting a curtain call, but he refused to leave the dugout. Much was made of it during the SNY broadcast, and he’ll likely get some flak in the tabloids tomorrow, but I don’t see it as being that big a deal. It was nice, however, to hear that kind of support from the Shea boo-birds.
Luis Castillo had three more hits, is 9 for his last 21, and now hitting .284 on the year.
Smoltz had a tight shoulder and relied on the Jorge Sosa strategy of sliders, sliders, and more sliders. As Jorge knows, that stratagem only works for so long before balls start flying over fences.
Billy Wagner finally gave up a hit, to Matt Diaz with one out in the ninth. He still has a shutout going.
Strangely, Aaron Heilman didn’t throw a pitch all day, not even in the bullpen. Hope he’s OK.
Scott Schoeneweis did pitch — an entire inning, in fact — and had lady luck on his side. The Show gave up two bombs, one by Jeff Francoeur and another by Mark Teixeira, but Ryan Church saved his butt by making a spectacular catch on Teixeira’s drive to deep right-center.
The Pirates come to town for a three-game series at Shea. Johan Santana goes against Ian Snell in a 7:10 PM start.