Mets 4, Braves 1, 1st game; Mets 8, Braves 0, 2nd game
NEW YORK (AP)—The Mets and Braves played a doubleheader Wednesday that resembled the NL East race all season.
It was no contest.
Shawn Green busted out of his slump with a huge day at the plate, Oliver Perez pitched his second career shutout for his first win since May, and New York completed a doubleheader sweep with an 8-0 rout of Atlanta.
“It was a big day for us, to have the type of pitching performances we had and to put some runs up on the board,” Green said. “It was a great day all around.”
Green homered late in that one, then connected again in the nightcap. He finished the day 6-for-8 with four runs scored and three RBIs, earning a curtain call from a sparse crowd.
Acquired on Aug. 22 from Arizona, Green began the afternoon batting only .179 with five RBIs in 39 at-bats with New York. He said a timing adjustment he recently made with his stride has helped him get comfortable again.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “If you could pick one lineup in baseball to hit in, this would be it. It’s got everything.”
Jose Reyes hit the first pitch he saw in the second game for his sixth leadoff homer of the season, setting a Mets record. Chris Woodward added a two-run double off Kyle Davies (2-5), pinch-hitter Endy Chavez delivered a two-run triple and Julio Franco had an RBI single.
Playing their third doubleheader in five days, the Braves looked listless against a pair of fill-in lefties.
“It takes its toll,” Atlanta outfielder Jeff Francoeur said. “We didn’t play well. We’re much better as a team than we showed.”
The Mets had not swept a doubleheader from Atlanta since July 22, 1988.
Perez (3-11) tossed a career-best five-hitter in his first win for the NL East-leading Mets, who improved to 15-4 in their last 19 games. When Philadelphia lost to Houston on Wednesday night, the Mets’ magic number was trimmed to eight for clinching their first division championship since 1988.
The Braves, trying to stay on the brink of the wild-card race, fell 20 1/2 games behind New York in the NL East with 23 to play. After winning 14 straight division titles, their run could come to its mathematical conclusion this weekend.
Acquired from Pittsburgh at the trade deadline, Perez struck out six and walked one in his third career complete game. His previous was on May 13, 2004, for the Pirates at Colorado, also in the second game of a doubleheader.
His other shutout was April 25, 2004, for Pittsburgh at Cincinnati.
Perez had an outstanding season two years ago for the Pirates, but was demoted to the minors this year because of control problems and ineffectiveness. The left-hander had not won since May 17 for Pittsburgh against the Reds.
“I was thinking too much,” Perez said.
Davies entered 3-0 with a 2.63 ERA in five career games against the Mets, but he’s been roughed up in both major league starts since returning from a torn right groin.
After spending most of an injury-plagued summer in the minors, Williams is 3-0 with a 3.24 ERA in four starts for the Mets, who have won all four of those outings.
“He’s been a very, very pleasant surprise,” manager Willie Randolph said. “So far, I like what I see.”
Asked whether Williams has a chance to make the playoff roster, Randolph said the lefty is an option—just like everyone else on the staff.
Delgado hit a tiebreaking home run off John Smoltz (12-8) in the sixth, and Green added his first homer with New York in the eighth.
“I just don’t understand. But I guess you give credit to the other pitcher,” Smoltz said.
A rainout Tuesday night forced Atlanta to play yet another doubleheader. The Braves played two games each on Saturday and Sunday in Philadelphia, splitting both twinbills. They have a day off on Thursday.
With the score tied at 1 in the opener, Paul Lo Duca singled leading off the sixth. Delgado then drove a 2-2 pitch over the right-field fence to give him 36 homers and 100 RBIs. Smoltz threw his head back in frustration.
Williams (5-3) cruised through six innings on only 72 pitches, allowing five hits and no walks.
Acquired from Cincinnati on May 25, Williams was sent to Triple-A Norfolk, where he was on the disabled list from June 9 to July 29 with a strained left shoulder. He made his Mets debut on Aug. 19 against Colorado.
“In this game you don’t get too many opportunities and you better take advantage of them or they’re going to find someone else,” Williams said. “If I pitch well enough, hopefully I’ll play here next year. And if they don’t have me on the playoff roster, so be it. I’m just trying to finish up strong and put myself in a position to hopefully make that roster.”
It was New York’s first doubleheader sweep at home since Aug. 15, 2000, against Colorado. … Braves 2B Marcus Giles went 2-for-4 in the nightcap, his first action since medical tests Sunday in Atlanta determined he has a healthy heart and he was cleared to resume playing. Last weekend in Philadelphia, Giles was told he might have a heart defect.