Braves 6, Mets 3

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ATLANTA (AP)—Brian Jordan quickly put the New York Mets behind again, and helped extend their early season woes.

Jordan hit a grand slam in the second inning to lead the Atlanta Braves to their fourth straight victory with a 6-3 win over New York on Saturday night, extending the Mets’ season-opening losing streak to five games.

Chipper Jones also homered to help the Braves keep the Mets as the only winless team in the majors. New York already trails first-place Atlanta by four games in the NL East.

The Mets, outscored by a combined total of 14-2 in the first two innings this season, are off to their worst start since going 0-8 to open the 1963 campaign.

“When you’re behind, it’s tough to get back,” said Carlos Beltran, who was 0-for-5. “We haven’t had a chance to get ahead. It seems like we’re trying to get back in every single ballgame.”

Beltran, 1-for-9 in the series with only an infield hit, said the losing streak is taking a toll.

“Sometimes you try too hard. That’s what I did today,” he said. “I was jumping at bad pitches.”

Beltran jumped at a 3-0 pitch from Horacio Ramirez with a runner on second in the fifth inning and he popped out to first baseman Adam LaRoche.

Jordan, 38, hit only five homers for Texas last season before signing with the Braves for only $600,000.

“Age is just a number,” Jordan said. “Unfortunately I had the knee injury the last couple years that really held me back. I’ve worked hard enough to get that strength back.”

Aaron Heilman (0-1) gave up five runs in five innings as the fill-in starter for injured right-hander Kris Benson, who is on the disabled list with a strained pectoral muscle.

Heilman said he tried to throw a fastball in on Jordan.

“I just didn’t get it in as far as I wanted to,” Heilman said. “That definitely wasn’t the pitch I wanted to throw.”

Jose Reyes’ first homer of the season was one of the few highlights for the Mets, who are in danger of being swept in their first two series. They lost three straight games in Cincinnati to open the season.

Mets manager Willie Randolph said he has given no thought to calling a team meeting or shuffling his lineup.

“We’re scuffling a little bit,” Randolph said. “I’m still real pumped up. I’m real confident about my boys. … We’re looking forward to getting the win tomorrow and going home and getting some home cooking.”

Randolph called the 0-5 start “a slight bump in the road.”

“When we get a few breaks and start to turn this around, we’ll feel like this might have been a good experience for us,” Randolph said.

Adam Bernero (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings for Atlanta in relief of Ramirez, who tired in the fifth inning.

The Braves got to Heilman in the second inning with four straight hits, including Jordan’s seventh career grand slam. The left fielder was hitting only .200 entering the game, and had not driven in a run.

Ramirez was shutting the Mets down until the fifth inning, when Reyes homered with one out. Kaz Matsui followed with a single and a stolen base, and later scored on Cliff Floyd’s single that cut the Braves’ lead to 4-2 and knocked Ramirez out of the game—one out short of qualifying for a win.

Kevin Gryboski recorded the final out of the fifth and Bernero took over took over in the sixth inning.

Jones’ homer, a two-out shot to left-center off Heilman in the fifth, gave the Braves a 5-2 lead. Rafael Furcal added an RBI double off Braden Looper in the eighth.

Matsui had an RBI grounder in the ninth for the Mets’ final run.

The Braves had a scoring opportunity in the first inning. Jones hit a two-out double but was thrown out at the plate by Floyd while trying to score on Andruw Jones’ single to left.

Floyd had another assist in the sixth inning when he threw out Adam LaRoche, who tried to score from second on Jordan’s single to left.

The Braves loaded the bases against Mike DeJean in the seventh inning, but Johnny Estrada hit a fly ball to center to end the inning.

Notes

Victor Diaz made his third start of the season in right field for New York after Eric Valent started back-to-back games. The two are sharing the position while Mike Cameron is on the disabled list. … The six runs set a season high for the Braves, who scored a total of nine in their first four games. … Jordan’s grand slam was his first since Sept. 16, 2002, for Los Angeles against San Francisco.

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