Mets 9, Braves 3
NEW YORK (AP)—Jorge Velandia’s impressive show at the plate Wednesday was a breakthrough for a man whose past few seasons have been plagued by injury.
Velandia hit a two-run triple and an RBI double a day after being called up from the minor leagues, and the New York Mets beat Atlanta 9-3 Wednesday to complete their first sweep of the Braves since 1995.
Velandia had surgery in November 2001 after breaking his right hand when he was hit by a pitch in winter ball. Then, in May 2002, he did it again, breaking the middle finger of his right hand.
“The last three years I’ve been injured mostly, but now I’ve been playing in Triple-A,” he said. “I’m really excited that they gave me another chance. I don’t know how much playing time I’m going to get here, but I wanted to show what I could do and how much I appreciate getting another chance.”
The last-place Mets outscored the first-place Braves 15-6 in their first sweep of Atlanta since taking three in a row at Shea Stadium from Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 1995.
The Braves have dominated the Mets in recent years, going 62-35 from the beginning of 1998 until this week’s series, including a six-game win in the 1999 NL championship series.
“We’ve really played well on this road trip to come back with a losing record,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “That’s the way it goes. You wouldn’t know it today, but we’re trying.”
Atlanta made too many mistakes to win this one—the Braves tied a season high with four errors, and four of New York’s runs were unearned.
Timo Perez hit a solo home run, his fourth of the year and first since Aug. 7 at Houston. He also hit a sacrifice fly in the first inning.
Velandia, playing in place of injured Jose Reyes, hit his first major league triple in the second, when the Mets scored three runs off Russ Ortiz (18-6), who was trying for a major league-high 19th victory.
“The unfortunate thing is I’ve been making too many mistakes this year against this team,” Ortiz said. “In the past I’ve been fine against this team.”
Ty Wigginton got aboard on a fielding error by third baseman Vinny Castilla, Raul Gonzalez walked and both advanced on Ortiz’s wild pitch before Velandia tripled to the wall in right-center. Center fielder Andruw Jones dived, but the ball got past him.
Cedeno led off the first inning with a single that landed in shallow left field, and he got to second when Chipper Jones struggled to pick up the ball in the soggy field for an error.
Jones made up for it a few minutes later, hitting a solo homer to right-center for Atlanta’s first run. Jones has nine hits in 45 career at-bats against Trachsel, but five of them have been homers.
After allowing a single to Ortiz in the third, Trachsel retired 10 straight Braves hitters. The right-hander gave up five hits, struck out five and did not have a walk.
Ortiz allowed six runs and six hits in five innings, striking out three and walking two.
Castilla left during his fifth-inning at-bat after fouling a ball off his left knee.
Javy Lopez hit a two-run homer in the ninth off Orber Moreno, making his first major league appearance since June 9, 1999, for Kansas City against St. Louis. He was on the DL the following year after reconstructive elbow surgery, pitched in 30 minor league games in 2001, then pitched in only two minor league games last year, his season cut short by a torn labrum that needed an operation to repair.
“The guy hit a home run, but I still feel real good,” Moreno said. “I feel more relaxed now that I’ve had the opportunity to pitch. I want to see ifI get a chance to show them what I can do.”
At one point, the Braves’ totals on the main scoreboard read 1-2-3— one run, two hits, three errors. … Velandia set a career high in RBIs with three. He’d driven in one run four times. He spent parts of three seasons with Oakland when Mets manager Art Howe was managing the Athletics. … Ortiz is 2-2 vs. Mets this season and 4-2 at Shea Stadium. … New York C Vance Wilson played for the first time since Aug. 22. Manager Art Howe gave starting catcher Mike Piazza the day off after a night game Tuesday. … The Mets have won 14 of their last 21 games, with their starting pitchers going 13-5. … Jeff Duncan’s RBI single in the eighth for New York snapped an 0-for-31 slump. … The Mets’ Danny Garcia got his first major league RBI with a sacrifice fly in theeighth.