Braves 5, Mets 3
Reynolds shut down the team that tried to sign him earlier this season and Jung Keun Bong provided timely relief as the Atlanta Braves defeated the Mets 5-3 Tuesday night for their fifth straight victory.
Abruptly cut by Houston on March 27, Reynolds was courted by several clubs. The Mets nearly had him, but the deal came apart when they wanted him to start at Triple-A Norfolk.
“That’s a weird situation,” Reynolds said. “We’d pretty much agreed. It was either those guys or the Braves.”
Instead, he signed with Atlanta on April 10 and moved right into the rotation for a team that now has the best record in the majors.
The Mets broke out their blue hats for the first time this year, but they did not bring much luck. Rookie Jason Roach, pitching in place of injured Al Leiter, fell behind after three batters and New York never led.
Reynolds (6-4) reversed a recent slide that saw his lose three starts in a row, getting tagged for 16 runs and 24 hits in 15 innings. He escaped two early jams, with shortstop Rafael Furcal making a smart play to end one and snaring a bases-loaded liner to halt the other.
Reynolds gave up two runs in six innings in his first game against the Mets since 1999.
“He wasn’t tired, but it was humid and he’d been on the bases,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said.
Bong relieved and did his job, getting the speedy Roger Cedeno to ground into an inning-ending double play.
“That was the ballgame, right there,” Cox said.
John Smoltz worked the ninth for his 33rd save in 35 chances. After Smoltz threw one pitch, plate umpire Tim Tschida made him trim off part of the right sleeve from a white T-shirt underneath his jersey.
“They made (Jae) Seo take his thing off last night, so turnabout is fair play,” Mets manager Art Howe said.
During the Braves’ 7-3 win Monday night, Atlanta had Seo, the Mets’ starting pitcher, take off a wooden bracelet he wears on his glove hand.
Said Tschida: “It was no problem.”
Cox agreed and added, “It was the right thing to do.”
Roach (0-2) was promoted from Triple-A Norfolk a day earlier when Leiter was put on the disabled list because of a bad knee. The 27-year-old righty gave up five runs in six innings of his second major league appearance—he started on June 14 at Anaheim and was hit hard in three innings.
Roach fared much better with the bat. He went 2-for-2 in his first two big league at-bats.
“I feel good at the plate. I’m excited to hit every day,” he said. “Taking batting practice at 4:30 today was great.”
Castilla hit his 13th homer, a two-run shot in the sixth for a 5-2 edge. He hit a total of 12 homers last year.
Joe McEwing hit an RBI single in the Mets’ second. His hit put runners at the corners with one out, and Reyes followed with a comebacker to Reynolds. The pitcher threw to second base for a forceout and then the strong-armed Furcal— with little chance to get the fleet Reyes at first—fired to the plate to cut down a slow-breaking Jason Phillips.
Jeromy Burnitz hit his 18th homer in the Mets’ fifth.
Giles made his third error in two days, and it was an odd one for the All-Star second baseman. Covering first base on a bunt, he missed the bag and was charged with the miscue. Giles had only five errors this season before coming to New York this week. … Mets LHP Mike Stanton was hit hard in his first rehab outing. Starting for Double-A Binghamton, he gave up three runs and six hits in one inning. He was put on the disabled list June 11 because of aninjured left knee.