Mets 1, Braves 0(6)
NEW YORK (AP)
Following a 2009 season filled with decimating injuries and painful losses, the New York Mets are beginning to get some breaks.
The latest one came courtesy of the Atlanta Braves - and Mother Nature.
Mike Pelfrey pitched out of constant trouble to extend his scoreless streak to 24 innings and New York finished a three-game sweep of the slumping Braves with a 1-0 victory Sunday night in a game cut short by rain.
``I was obviously pretty lucky tonight,'' Pelfrey said. ``I must be living right, or doing something.''
Wrangling with a wet field, hobbled third baseman Chipper Jones made a first-inning throwing error that allowed Jose Reyes to score. Play was stopped after one pitch in the sixth when rain intensified, and the game was called by umpires following a 98-minute delay.
That left Atlanta with its fifth straight defeat and made a hard-luck loser of Tommy Hanson (1-2), in his first career complete game. The Braves have been outscored 19-6 during their skid.
``Things couldn't have gone really any worse for us this weekend,'' Jones said.
Boosted by strong pitching, New York (10-9) improved to 6-1 on its 10-game homestand and moved above .500 for the first time since beating Florida on opening day. The Mets have won four in a row for only the second time since last May - the other streak was a five-game run from July 25-30.
And while New York has certainly benefited from shoddy play by the Cubs and Braves of late, this mini-surge has perhaps taken some of the heat off manager Jerry Manuel and GM Omar Minaya that accompanied the team's poor start.
``A lot can change in a week,'' Mets outfielder Jeff Francoeur said.
The Braves squandered several early scoring chances against Pelfrey (4-0), lifted after throwing 106 pitches through five innings. Raul Valdes threw a strike to rookie Jason Heyward to open the sixth before umpires called for the tarp and waved players off the field.
``I've got the radar on my phone and it's not going to stop. They had no choice,'' Braves manager Bobby Cox said.
Atlanta committed two more errors on a damp, dreary, 50-degree night at Citi Field. The Braves made seven errors in 21 innings on defense during the series - including three by Jones at third base.
Pelfrey matched a career high with five walks but wriggled out of some major jams as Atlanta stranded eight runners for a series total of 26 in 23 full innings of offense.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the first, Heyward saw nine pitches but popped out. Pelfrey came back from a 3-0 count to strike out Martin Prado with two on to end the second. Heyward and Troy Glaus later grounded into inning-ending double plays with two on.
``We deserve a break here and there,'' Manuel said.
Pelfrey, who also saved a 20-inning win at St. Louis on April 17, hasn't given up a run in his last three starts. The last time he was touched up came in the second inning April 9 against Washington, his first outing of the year.
The 6-foot-7 right-hander allowed five hits, struck out three and lowered his ERA to a major league-best 0.69. His career-best shutout streak is the longest by a Mets pitcher since John Maine went 26 innings from July 15 to Aug. 12, 2006.
``I don't want to pass my buddy,'' Pelfrey said. ``Maybe I'll give up a run next time.''
With rain falling in the first inning, Reyes looped a two-out single to left and stole second.
Jones made a tough, backhand stab of Jason Bay's sharp grounder inside the third-base line, but struggled to get back to his feet and bounced a wide throw to first that eluded Glaus. Bay was credited with an infield single and Reyes scored on the throwing error.
``I got a handful of mud and the ball at the same time,'' Jones said. ``Troy said it rotated about two times coming across the infield. My hand was completely mud. That field took a lot of water even before the hard stuff came.''
Jones, a Mets nemesis throughout his stellar career, hurt his hip on his first swing Saturday - his 38th birthday - and left the game in the third inning following a pair of called strikeouts.
NOTES: Maine threw a bullpen session before the game and is expected to make his next scheduled start Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Maine's most recent outing Friday was cut short by pain in his left (non-pitching) elbow. ... New York 3B David Wright struck out for the 12th consecutive game, extending his career high. He has whiffed 20 times during that span.