Mets 6, Braves 5


NEW YORK (AP) – Jose Reyes and Kaz Matsui each had run-scoring hits in another seventh-inning comeback and the New York Mets beat Atlanta 6-5 Saturday, putting the Braves nine games out in the NL East for the first time since Aug. 11, 1993.

It was the fourth straight win for the Mets and fourth straight loss for the Braves, winners of 14 straight division titles.

The Mets, who wiped out a four-run Atlanta lead with a seventh-inning rally Friday night, were trailing 3-2 after Adam LaRoche homered for Atlanta in the top of the seventh.

Xavier Nady opened the bottom half with a single against Tim Hudson (2-3) and after Ramon Castro struck out, pinch-hitter Jose Valentin also singled. Reyes, who had five hits Friday night and went 3-for-5 Saturday, delivered an RBI single to tie it. Reyes took second when the throw to third got away from Chipper Jones.

Matsui followed with a two-run double into right field. Carlos Beltran, who homered for the second straight day, was walked intentionally and then walks to David Wright and Cliff Floyd forced in another run.

The Braves scored in the eighth on a two-out RBI single by Brian Jordan but Pedro Feliciano struck out LaRoche, leaving the tying runs stranded.

LaRoche’s fifth home run of the season gave Atlanta the lead in the top of the seventh. He connected against reliever Bartolome Fortunato (1-0), who was recalled from the minors earlier in the day.

Jorge Julio gave up a one-out RBI single to Matt Diaz in the ninth before retiring the last two hitters for his first save. With runners on first and third, Julio shattered Edgar Renteria’s bat on a groundout to shortstop to end it.

Fortunato had come into the game in the sixth inning after Atlanta tied it at 2 on a double by Renteria and an RBI single by Jones. Those hits knocked out Darren Oliver, who relieved Mets starter Victor Zambrano after just four batters when Zambrano experienced discomfort in his right elbow.

The division-leading Mets (21-9) scored first when Reyes opened the first with a double, moved to third on an infield out and scored on an RBI single by Carlos Delgado.

After Oliver relieved Zambrano in the second inning, he retired one batter and then gave up a first-pitch home run to Jeff Francoeur to tie it at 1. It was Francoeur’s fifth homer of the season.

Beltran put the Mets back in front in the third with his seventh home run of the season.

Notes: Braves 2B Marcus Giles made back-to-back sparkling defensive plays, retiring Cliff Floyd to end the first inning and Xavier Nady leading off the second. … Braves LF Ryan Langerhans saved a hit with a diving catch on a drive by Ramon Castro in the fourth. … Oliver struck out six in four innings. … Renteria’s sixth-inning double extended his hitting streak to 21 games, tying his career high set in 1996.

AP-ES-05-06-06 1624EDT