Thursday, June 16, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Braves 9, Mets 8 (10)
By Adam Rubin
Recap | Box score | Photos
WHAT IT MEANS: Two outs from their first three-game sweep in Atlanta since 2007, Francisco Rodriguez served up a game-tying two-run homer to Brooks Conrad in the ninth. When D.J. Carrasco had a balk with runners on the corners in the 10th, the Mets (34-35) lost 9-8 and missed an opportunity to move above .500 for the first time since they were 3-2 on April 6. The Mets nonetheless went 6-4 on their trip to Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Atlanta.
K-Rod had converted 19 straight save chances, his most since saving 25 straight in 2008. All three of the homers he has surrendered this season have come against the Braves.
CHIP SHOT: Chipper Jones produced a three-run homer and matched a career high with five RBIs. The long ball, which was preceded by a Jose Reyes error, gave Jones 47 career homers against the Mets.
That’s the fourth-most homers all time against the Amazin’s, trailing only Willie Stargell (60), Mike Schmidt (49) and Willie McCovey (48).
Among active players, the No. 1-ranked Jones is followed by Pat Burrell (42), Ryan Howard (31), Andruw Jones (26), Chase Utley (26) and Jimmy Rollins (23) on the homer leaderboard against the Mets.
Conrad’s ninth-inning homer came in the third baseman’s No. 3 slot in the order, after Jones was double-switched out with a strained adductor muscle near his groin.
HAIR-RAISING: Scott Hairston, making his first start since May 18, belted a three-run homer off reliever Scott Proctor in the fifth to even the score at 6. Hairston started in center field over Angel Pagan, in part because Pagan was hitting .139 against southpaws this season. Hairston’s long ball came against the right-handed Proctor after the ex-Yankee inherited two runners from southpaw starter Mike Minor.
The Mets then took the lead in the seventh when a bases-loaded wild pitch snapped Jonny Venters’ 22-inning scoreless streak.
THAT’S FAST: Reyes singled and tripled -- the three-bagger coming on a bloop over shortstop, no less -- in his first two at-bats. That gave Reyes 100 hits on the season. (He finished the game at 101.) Reyes required only 66 games played to reach the 100-hit plateau, the fastest in franchise history. The previous record had been held by Lance Johnson, who reached 100 hits in his 72nd game played in 1996 (not team games). Since 1900, the only shortstop to reach 100 hits as quickly as Reyes was Mark Grudzielanek with the 1996 Montreal Expos. Grudzielanek also required 66 games played.
Reyes produced his MLB-leading 12th triple -- matching his total from the past two seasons combined -- when the ball dropped between shortstop Alex Gonzalez and center fielder Jordan Schafer, then got behind Schafer.
Reyes did commit his ninth error, which set the table for Jones’ three-run shot. After a single to open the third by Schafer, Jason Heyward sent a grounder to shortstop. Reyes had started to move toward second base to cover the bag with Schafer running. When Reyes took a step back to his right, he muffed the catch. Jones then went deep off R.A. Dickey.
PITCHY: Dickey was charged with six runs (four earned) on six hits and three walks in four innings. It marked only the third time in the past 21 games a Mets starting pitcher surrendered more than three runs.
K-ROD TRACKER: Rodriguez remained at 27 games finished. He is on pace for 63 games finished, eight more than the threshold for his contract to vest at $17.5 million for 2012.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Mets return home to greet the Los Angeles Angels in interleague play. The last time the teams met, in Anaheim in June 2008, Willie Randolph was fired after the series opener (at 3 a.m. ET) and Jerry Manuel took over. Chris Capuano (5-6, 4.40 ERA) opposes right-hander Joel Pineiro (2-3, 4.03) Friday.