Thursday, June 16, 2011
Braves balk it off against Mets
The New York Mets appeared headed for just their third three-game road sweep in Atlanta since 1990 when they entered the bottom of the ninth inning leading 8-6.
However the Atlanta Braves stormed back with two runs in the ninth before scoring the game-winning run in the 10th inning in a rather unconventional way -- on a game-ending balk by D.J. Carrasco.
It was Carrasco's fourth career balk, but first coming since 2005 when he had three. For the Mets it marked just their second loss by a game-ending balk in franchise history. The other came back in 1989 against the Dodgers.
While Carrasco goes home the goat, the biggest blow of the game came in the bottom of the ninth inning when Brooks Conrad hit a pinch-hit two-run home run to tie the game. It was Conrad's fifth game-tying or go-ahead pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning or later since 2009. That leads all players in the majors during that span.
Conrad became the first Braves pinch-hitter since Greg Norton on September 14, 2008 to hit a game-tying or go-ahead home run in the ninth inning or later against the Mets. He was the fourth Braves player to do so since 2000.
Chipper Jones also homered Thursday night, the 47th of his career against the Mets. Elias tells us the only active players with more than 47 career homers against any National League team are Albert Pujols (51 against the Chicago Cubs) and Lance Berkman (50 against the Cincinnati Reds).
Despite the loss, Jose Reyes continued his strong play picking up three hits while surpassing the 100-hit mark for the season. He did so in the Mets 69th game played setting the franchise record for fewest team games needed to reach 100 hits. He broke the record of 72 games previously held by Lance Johnson.
Reyes also picked up his 12th triple of the season in just 66 games played. That matched his total from the last two seasons combined (169 games).
Elsewhere around MLB:
• Cliff Lee threw a two-hit shutout Thursday as the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Florida Marlins, the sixth shutout thrown by a pitcher in the past three days. Lee also got it done with the bat pounding out two hits. According to Elias he was the first Phillies pitcher to allow two or fewer hits in a shutout performance while stroking a pair of hits with the bat since Steve Carlton did it against the Cubs in October of 1980.
• The Pittsburgh Pirates improved their season record to 35-33 with a win against the Houston Astros. Elias passes along this gem. Since beginning of its streak of consecutive losing seasons in 1993, Pittsburgh has been two games over .500 this far into a season in only two other years: 1997 (latest: 67-65) and 1999 (latest: 40-38).