Braves At Shea Revisited

Two out of three, lost.

At home, against your arch-rivals.

Here are some of the Highlights and Lowlights:

GAME ONE: Braves 7 Mets 3:

Perez wasn't able to hide from the Braves for very long.

1. Odalis Perez, former conquerer of the hated Braves with three victories in three tries this season, 1.31 ERA, the only bright spot in an otherwise dismal showing against the Braves so far this year, flopped. The Braves didn't waste alot of time with their progressively larger outburst: One run in the 1st, two runs in the 2nd, three runs in the 3rd topped by the Jeff Francoeur three-run job.

bye bye sweet dreams of victory, gloried domination is now history...

2. Francoeur 4 hits, Chipper Jones, 3 hits. No surprises there. By contrast, Mets bats quiet as church mice making the casually ineffective "Buddy" Carlyle seem like Vern bloody Bickford.

3. If you're going to burst a bubble better that it's burst early and quickly to give the mind more time to acquiese the pain. The terrible thing is you came to believe Perez was infallable against the Braves, that the charm and mystique would last forever. This was a painful and perhaps even brutal clarification.

GAME TWO: Mets 4 Braves 3

1. Gotta win this game to make sure there is no sweep at home. That's how bad it is against the Braves. You lose the first game and even through you're at home, you don't think about taking two out of three. No, that's imponderable. You pray you salvage one meagre victory and stave off humiliation.

2. Heroes in the crowd: It's Outta Here!

Or what about El Duque putting in another stellar performance - not allowing even a hit from these miserable Braves until the 5th inning. As fast as Oliver Perez gave up the ghost in Game one, Duque shut them down in Game Two. Three of the first four Braves batters he faced were struck out swinging. That was big, keeping the Braves silent for so long. Yeah, the 6th was a sheets-wet, white-knuckled nightmare but keeping the Braves quiet for the first five innings was big news.

THERE goes your Teixeira moment, mothahfuckah!

Luis Castillo's broken-bat single to score two and tie the game in the 7th? Shawn Green, four hits and a diving grab to rob Andruw Jones in the 7th? Whatta game. Shawn Green, .352 lifetime against the Braves...

3. Near Goats In the Crowd:
The Sweetest Relief We Know...

How close did the Mets come to ruin? Bases loaded no outs with your ace closer having put them all there to begin with? No realistic choices left in the bullpen? By god if that wasn't the moment you were ready to explode with disgust, that your anger wasn't percolating and ready to burst like Mt Saint Helens, I don't know what is. Close to being the absolute low point of the season until magically and perhaps even unpredictably, there was Billy Wagner recovering: Jeff Francoeur forcing a play at home and not killing us, Andruw Jones grounding into that thank almighty god double play to finally snuff the fire that was threatening to destroy the Mets season. You won't have a closer call until the post-season. Guaranteed.

4. Chipper Jones, 2 more hits, including the attempted rally-starter in the 9th. For a change, John Smoltz pitches good, but not good enough.

GAME THREE: Braves 8 Mets 7

This was the holy shit moment that well and truly did the Mets in...taking the potential game-tying homer away from Carlos Delgado, Mr Willie Harris.

1. Another game with the makings of a pitcher's duel: Tim Hudson v John Maine, the marbles in a row...

2. This one had everything you'd want to see in this series, bar a Mets victory to take the series. A tight sort of pitcher's duel through 4 until John Maine began coming apart at the seams in the 5th. (Does that sound familiar, The Maine Meltdown, now running two starts on the trot, Chicago-redux?) Some might say it wasn't a proper meltdown, just a case of Chipper Jones' 3-run homer, another dagger in the heart, his 5th RBI of the series followed by a Teixeira homer, 4 runs total before the second bloody out was even recorded. John Maine Frustrated Body Language says it all.

Sure, the Mets had an opportunity to crack it open early in the 1st with Wright and Delgado on 1st and 2nd, a run in home already and only one out with Game Two's hero, Moises Alou's at the plate - Alou cracked what looked like either a 3-run homer or a multi-run extra base hit, robbed by Willie Harris.

And the Mets had another opportunity in the bottom of the 9th, trailing by four runs and seemingly out for the count, out-managed yet again by Bobby Cox.
David Wright's two-run homer to bring the Mets to within a run had all the earmarks of an historic Mets rally. You could sense it among those remaining hopefuls who hadn't left Shea early to beat the crowds, who hadn't given up with 3 outs to go and 4 runs behind.

Tyler Yates to thank but Cox went to Villarreal, who had never saved a game in his professional career, for the last two outs.

And that was when Delgado wuz robbed by Willie Harris and the series died.

Hand it to the Braves, the Mets didn't lose one, the Braves won it. Hats off, even if we hate them.

As for the Mets, they haven't been able to win a series from the Braves all season. Whilst they maintain their grip on first place in the NL East, their victory the night before haven't secured a larger chunk, the Mets have to wonder what might happen should they face these Braves in the postseason...

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