Johan Santana pitched about as well as Mets fans could hope, but the offense was nowhere to be found Sunday, as the Mets got swept out of Atlanta in a rain-shortened series, losing 3-1.
Santana pitched seven strong innings, only needing 91 pitches. He allowed one run on seven hits, walking none, while striking out three. Santana benefited from some defensive gems from David Wright at third. The only run came on a double over the head of Angel Pagan in the third inning off the bat of Yunel Escobar, plating Mark Kotsay.
Seven innings, one run? I'll take that every single outing. Stellar stuff from Santana today, just no offense to back him up. Let's hope this isn't a Roger Clemens type season (without the alleged steroids) where he pitches great but never gets run support. I don't think that will happen, it was just unfortunate he had to face John Smoltz, who always shuts down the Mets. Still, gotta love the pitchers duel.
Aaron Heilman pitched the eighth inning, and allowed a two-run home run to Mark Teixeira. These runs were the eventual game winners for the Braves. Heilman walked Chipper Jones on four pitches before Teixeira came to the plate and went deep.
Heilman has been mentioned as a possible closer when Billy Wagner's contact is up, but if he keeps giving up the long ball, I don't know if I would trust him in that role.
The Mets offense only had to deal with Smoltz for five innings, but were unable to capitalize on the Braves bullpen until the top of the ninth inning.
Wright walked to lead off the ninth against Rafael Soriano, moved to second on defensive indifference, and scored on a Ryan Church single down the right field line for the Mets only run of the game. Angel Pagan followed with a walk, but when Brian Schneider came to the plate and ripped one down the first base line, Teixeira flashed some glove and made a terrific diving stab and flipped the ball to first to Soriano who was covering to end the game.
Tough luck here for Schneider and the Mets. Another tale of too little, too late.
The Mets only scrapped together five hits, two of which came off the bat of Carlos Delgado, both singles to the right side of the field. Schneider added a hit in the 8th inning. Santana had the Mets only extra base hit of the day, leading off the third inning with a broken-bat double to center field. He knocked the ball into center field, which Kotsay could not get to and booted it away on his diving attempt, which allowed Santana to move to second.
It's not a good sign for the team when your only double comes from your pitcher. Delgado seems to be finding his groove though.
Game Ball: Santana.
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