Braves 13 Mets 5
The final score separated the winners from the losers by eight runs — but in reality, it wasn’t even that close.
In his first game back from a mysterious foot injury, Orlando Hernandez gave up 8 runs on 6 hits and 4 walks in just 3 innings. He appeared healthy, and reached 89 MPH with his fastball effortlessly, but had no command whatsoever. Let’s hope he’s simply rusty, and chalk it up to that.
Aaron Sele was useless in the mopup role, serving up a gopher ball to Mark Teixeira and adding two runs to El Duque’s already ugly outing. Why, again, is he on the roster?
The Mets managed five runs off Braves pitching, as Bobby Cox changed relievers like he had a one-run, rather than eight-run, lead. They scored three runs in the fourth on a sac fly by Jeff Conine and a two-run homer by the suddenly slugging Paul LoDuca. David Wright doubled in Jose Reyes in the seventh to pull the Mets within six, and Moises Alou hit a meaningless solo homer in the eighth.
There were some silver linings in this black cloud of a game. Most notably, Jose Reyes was 3-for-5 with three doubles. Alou was 2-for-4 with two runs scored. And Philip Humber pitched a perfect ninth, retiring the side on ten pitches.
Carlos Beltran made a fantastic throw from centerfield to nail Brian McCann at home in the second. Too bad it didn’t matter, as it was a great play.
The finale of the season series against the Braves begins at 7:10 PM, with John Maine taking the mound against John Smoltz. As I mentioned in the series preview, another win is not nearly as important, to me, as seeing Maine make a move in a positive direction. His last start against the Braves was stellar — a seven-inning masterpiece — and we’d like to see more of that.