Braves 11 Mets 5
The Mets trailed this game from beginning to end, as John Maine couldn’t get past the fourth inning and the offense struggled against sinkerballer Tim Hudson.
The Braves scored their first run in the first inning thanks to the home plate umpire, who refused to call strike three on Mark Teixeira with two runners on base and one out. Teixeira ended up walking, loading the bases, and Brian McCann lifted a fly to rightfield to score Mark Kotsay.
The Mets evened things up in the bottom half of the inning when Carlos Delgado scored on a fielder’s choice.
However John Maine ran into some trouble in the third, as Jeff Francoeur and Matt Diaz stroked back-to-back, 2-out, RBI singles to put the Braves ahead 3-1.
In the fourth, more trouble for Maine, as he gave up a fourth run and is over 90 pitches. Seems he doesn’t like to pitch with two outs.
The Mets had a one-out, bases loaded rally in the top of the fifth, and Jose Reyes slapped a liner into left-center that should have scored two. However, the third base umpire called an out on the liner, which was trapped on a diving play by centerfielder Mark Kotsay, and Kotsay threw to second base to double off Angel Pagan, who had been on second base. Meantime, Pagan was being waved in to score by third-base coach Sandy Alomar, and in the process, Pagan blew by Ryan Church, who had seen the out call and was retreating to third. In the end, the out call was reversed, the bases remained loaded, with Church scoring. The Braves might have had an argument in that Pagan passed Church, but that occurred because of the confusion of the out call, so the Mets weren’t penalized. All in all an utter mess. Luis Castillo followed with a run-scoring groundout to score Pagan.
The game remained close until the seventh inning. Jorge Sosa began the inning on the right track, striking out Mark Teixeira. However, he then gave up a double to Brian McCann and a single to Jeff Francoeur to put men on second and third. Sosa then struck out Matt Diaz, and it looked like he might work out of trouble. Instead, he walked Martin Prado to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Kelly Johnson worked the count full before lifting a fat fastball into the rightfield stands to clear the bases and deflate the Mets.
How many times are they going to play that gosh-darn “chop” tune? Seems like they play it every two minutes. Don’t they know they’re offending Native Americans?
With his new “standup” motion, Joe Smith looked like Jeff Nelson. Rick Peterson has Smith staying more erect, rather than crouching over, and it looks pretty awkward. Whatever, as long as it works.
During an in-game interview, Willie Randolph commented that Maine was “too strong” and was overthrowing. Looked to me like Maine was unable to get firm footing on the mound — the ground was soaked — and couldn’t find a consistent release point. You can’t blame the conditions, though, because Tim Hudson had no issues.
Ruben Gotay began his revengeful assault on the Mets with a single up the middle off Smith, then later scored. Advantage: Gotay.
The Mets and Braves do it again in swampy Atlanta at 1:30 PM. The Mets send Johan Santana to the mound against Tom Glavine. TV coverage will be provided by SNY, thank god — I watched the FOX broadcast on mute.