Beltran, Mets walk off with a win

May 12, 2009 9:44:44 PM PDT
Mets manager Jerry Manuel and GM Omar Minaya have both said they want to see more fight out of their team this year. They got it Tuesday night.

Carlos Beltran drew a bases-loaded walk from Jeff Bennett with two outs in the 10th inning and New York rallied to beat the Atlanta Braves 4-3 for a rare comeback victory.

The Mets were down by three in the eighth but fought back to improve to 1-11 this season when trailing after seven innings.

"Six outs to go and we were able to take it out of their pockets pretty much," closer Francisco Rodriguez said. "Wins like this get you going."

Beltran also doubled, stole third and scored the tying run in the ninth for the Mets, who have won eight of nine.

"He can take over a game. That's basically what he did tonight," Manuel said.

Jair Jurrjens took a four-hit shutout into the eighth for Atlanta before a two-run double to left-center by Jose Reyes cut it to 3-2 - though he was easily thrown out at third when he tried to stretch it into a triple.

Beltran opened the ninth with a double off Mike Gonzalez and swiped third on a close play with one out. Braves third baseman Chipper Jones thought third-base umpire Greg Gibson missed the call.

"It came down to one play and he got it wrong. I never had a guy slide into my glove and be safe," Jones said. "We played a perfect game tonight and we lost."

Fernando Tatis was hit by an 0-2 pitch before pinch-hitter Luis Castillo tied it with a sacrifice fly. It was the second blown save in seven chances for Gonzalez, who picked off Tatis for the third out.

By then, the Mets had new life.

"You could see it. Everyone was up. Last year it probably would have been a 1-2-3 inning. It showed we have heart and determination," Ryan Church said.

Reyes reached on an infield single with two outs in the 10th and stole second. After an intentional walk to Alex Cora, pinch-hitter Ramon Castro walked to load the bases.

Bennett (0-1) went to a full count on Beltran and his final delivery appeared a bit low. The right-hander walked off the mound shaking his head and muttering into his glove.

"You are in the big leagues, you've got to throw strikes in that situation. I didn't get the job done," Bennett said.

Atlanta dropped to 14-1 when leading after seven innings.

Rodriguez (1-0) worked two scoreless innings for the win, the first time he has pitched more than one inning in a major league game since Aug. 17, 2007, with the Los Angeles Angels.

He had a pair of four-out saves for Venezuela in this year's World Baseball Classic.

"I felt really strong out there," Rodriguez said. "My command was perfect."

Jones was back in Atlanta's lineup after sitting out Monday night with a stiff and swollen right elbow. It was the first game at Citi Field for Jones, who hit .313 with 19 homers and 55 RBIs in 88 games at Shea Stadium, the Mets' old ballpark.

One night after Atlanta's Derek Lowe beat Johan Santana in a matchup of established aces, Jurrjens locked up with Mike Pelfrey in a pitching duel between youngsters.

Bad baserunning nearly cost the Mets, looking to generate offense without injured slugger Carlos Delgado the past two games. An aching right hip is expected to sideline him for at least a few days, and the team plans to decide by Friday whether to put him on the disabled list.

"It wasn't a perfect game today, but we pick each other up," Cora said.

Casey Kotchman hit an RBI single and rookie center fielder Jordan Schafer had two assists for the Braves, who were trying for their first four-game winning streak this season. Brian McCann had three hits, including an RBI double.

Atlanta is 5-2 on an eight-game road trip against NL East rivals.

Notes: A nearly naked man with "Let's Go Mets" written on his back darted out of the right-field stands in the fifth inning, streaked toward second base and slid feet-first into the bag as the crowd of 39,408 howled. He was quickly corralled by security. ... New York has 12 triples and 12 homers in 19 games at spacious Citi Field.