Two weeks ago, the New York Mets sat a few games over .500 knowing that if they wanted to make the 2008 postseason, they’d have to start playing better baseball. With last nights 5-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves, the Mets now find themselves 14 games over .500 at (71-57), atop the NL East by 2.5 games and 9-1 over their past 10 games. If that’s not better baseball, I don’t know what is.
Carlos Delgado exploded for five hits and three RBI’s to lift the Mets to their ninth win in 10 games. The five hit performance ties a career high that he had previously accomplished back in 1998 with the Toronto Blue Jays. With the score tied at 4-4, his fifth and final hit came in the bottom of the ninth inning, finding an outfield hole allowing David Wright to score the winning run from second.
“I’m seeing the ball well,” Delgado said. “It was a big win for us. We’re really confident. We’ve been able to find a way to win ballgames. That is something we weren’t doing early in the year.”
Since July 1st, Delgado is batting .321 with 12 homeruns and has driven in 49 runs over the past 48 games. The win also completed a three game sweep of Atlanta, the Mets first three-game sweep at home against the Braves since Sept. 1-3, 2003.
Pedro Martinez gave the Mets seven quality innings allowing four runs on eight hits while striking out two. His first pitch of the game was sent by Yunel Escobar deep into the left field stands for his seventh homerun of the season but Martinez settled down into a groove retiring 15 of the following 16 batters he faced including 1,2,3 innings in the third, fourth and fifth. He got into a little trouble in the sixth, allowing three runs on three hits but he retired the side in the seventh before being lifted in the eighth.
“We continue to put ourselves in position day in and day out to win games,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “We have a good team. We have good chemistry. A lot of things are really working in our favor right now.”
For Atlanta, Mike Hampton made his first appearance against the Met s since July 17, 2005. The southpaw had missed the two previous seasons with elbow surgeries and only made his 2008 debut about a little over a month ago. Hampton pitched well but did not factor into the decision going six innings and allowing three runs on eight hits. He is currently 2-1 with a 6.47 ERA.
“It was fun being out there,” said Hampton who was the MVP of the 2000 NLCS for the Mets. “I might have an opportunity to be out there one more time in September before this place goes but it’ll definitely hold a special place in my memories in my baseball career.”
The loss drops the Braves to a season worst 16 games below .500 at (56-72) and 15 games behind the Mets for the division lead. Since the All-Star break, Atlanta is only 11-22, have lost five in a row and nine of their last 10 games.
The Mets will now welcome the Houston Astros to Shea for a four game series. Tonight’s game features an incredible pitching matchup between Johan Santana (11-7, 2.75 ERA) and Roy Oswalt (11-8, 4.28 ERA). Although neither has a stellar record, both pitchers have absolute filthy stuff and are capable of shutting down any lineup in baseball on any given night.