Mets back in first place with win

September 19, 2008 8:33:44 PM PDT
Pinch-hitter Daniel Murphy delivered a tiebreaking double in the eighth inning and the New York Mets regained first place in the NL East by beating the Atlanta Braves 9-5 on Friday night. Jose Reyes hit a leadoff homer and had three hits to help the Mets move a half-game in front of Philadelphia, which lost 14-8 at Florida.

New York overcame some shaky defense and improved to 1-6 this season at Turner Field, where the Phillies went 9-0.

Reyes also scored three runs and drove in two. David Wright ended a 1-for-19 drought by going 2-for-5 with two RBIs, and Nick Evans added a solo home run.

The Mets are 7-9 overall against the Braves, who have lost four straight.

Last season, the Mets blew a seven-game NL East lead with 17 to play and missed the playoffs as the Phillies charged to the division title. With 17 games remaining this year, New York had a 3½-game edge over Philadelphia. Then they lost four of five.

This time, the Mets batted around in the eighth and scored four times, including three unearned runs.

Carlos Delgado led off with a single against Julian Tavarez (1-3). Pinch-hitter Argenis Reyes sacrificed and was safe at first when second baseman Kelly Johnson dropped the throw for an error.

Ryan Church struck out, but Murphy hit a drive to left-center, scoring both runners for a 7-5 lead.

Murphy was nearly picked off second, but the Braves botched the rundown and he remained at second base. After Endy Chavez grounded out, Reyes followed with an RBI single, Luis Castillo singled and Wright drove in the final run with a single.

The Braves tied it at 5 in the seventh with an unearned run, helped by a pair of errors.

Pinch-hitter Brandon Jones led off against reliever Nelson Figueroa and reached on a throwing error by Reyes at shortstop.

Martin Prado singled to right, sending Jones to third and when the ball went under Church's glove for an error, Jones scored and Prado took second.

Three Mets relievers followed in the inning and managed to end the scoring. Aaron Heilman got the big out, striking out Omar Infante with runners on first and third and one out. Pedro Feliciano (3-4) got the third out for the win.

The Mets took a 4-2 lead with three runs in the third on RBI doubles by Wright and Carlos Beltran and a run-scoring single by Delgado. During the inning, Mets fans among the crowd of 42,803 chanted "Lets Go Mets!"

The Braves scored two runs in the second, helped by Wright's error at third base.

With runners on first and third and two outs, Josh Anderson beat out a run-scoring single to third and another run scored on Wright's wild throw to first. The Braves got to 4-3 in the third on a run-scoring double by Infante off starter Oliver Perez.

Perez went six innings. He gave up four runs - three earned - and six hits.

Atlanta starter Jo-Jo Reyes lasted 3 1-3 innings. He gave up seven hits and five runs.

Notes:The leadoff homer by Reyes was his third of the season and the 13th of his career. It also was his 50th first-inning hit, a club record. He held the previous mark of 49 in 2006. ... Mets RHP John Maine (shoulder), who went on the 15-day DL on Aug. 24, will throw to batters Saturday. ... Atlanta 3B Chipper Jones had his 41-game streak of reaching base via a hit, walk or hit by pitch, end. He went 0-for-3 and left the game with a sore right shoulder after being called out on strikes in the fifth. He is day-to-day.

... Johnson had a bunt single to extend his hitting streak to 17 games.