The Mets will now try to gain some ground in the NL East standings when they open a rain-shortened two-game series with the division-leading Braves at Shea Stadium.
The opener was postponed because of rain Friday and will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Sept. 13.
The Braves’ John Thomson and the Mets’ Al Leiter will still open the series, and Steve Trachsel will face ex-Met Mike Hampton on Sunday. The Mets pushed Scott Erickson back from Saturday to Monday night in Montreal, where he will make his second start for New York.
The Braves and Mets battled for first place in the NL East from 1998 to 2000 with New York finishing second behind Atlanta each year. The rivalry has cooled considerably with the Mets finishing last in the division each of the last two seasons.
New York has climbed back into contention this season, while Atlanta began the season slowly and has recently caught fire to ascend back into its customary position. The Braves have won a record 12 straight division titles dating to 1991.
Atlanta is 13-5 in July and is looking to get back on track after losing two of three to Pittsburgh.
All-Star catcher Johnny Estrada drove in the winning run with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the 10th inning, leading the Braves past the Pirates 2-1 on Thursday.
Estrada still leads the majors with a .434 average with runners in scoring position, but he finished 3-for-22 overall during Atlanta’s eight-game homestand.
“Every time I get up, regardless of the position I’m in, I expect myself to have a good at-bat,” Estrada said. “I don’t think I’ve been doing that lately. I’ve gotten a lot of opportunities lately and I haven’t been coming through.”
The Mets are 3-5 since the All-Star break, falling a game below .500.
“With Atlanta coming in, you’ve got to have some momentum,” New York manager Art Howe said after Thursday’s 4-1 loss to last-place Montreal.
Leiter will attempt to get New York back on track. Leiter is 5-1 with a 1.19 ERA over his last nine starts, upping his record to 6-3. His 2.24 ERA is the lowest in the majors among pitchers with at least 15 starts.
Teammate Tom Glavine gave up only one run in seven innings Thursday, but the Mets’ bullpen faltered as New York settled for a two-game split with Montreal.
Prized prospect David Wright got his first major league hit—a double—in his second game with the Mets, scoring New York’s only run. He also added a single in the ninth, a day after making his big league debut.
“The aura about it is still there, but I was enjoying the day a lot more yesterday,” Wright said. “I made a few adjustments to my swing to be a little more successful. Tonight, I’ll go to sleep pretty easy.”