Mets push Braves further back in NL East with sweep

"During the course of the game I thought this could be the last time I pitch here," said Glavine, who has said he hasn't decided if he will retire after the season.

A long-awaited win over longtime teammate and friend John Smoltz, in the midst of a playoff run, could be a fitting Atlanta finale for Glavine.

Backed by David Wright's two-run homer, Glavine won for the first time in four tries this season against Smoltz, beating Atlanta 3-2 on Sunday as the Mets completed a three-game sweep.

New York, which dropped four straight in Philadelphia and led the Phillies by only two games before this series, recovered to push the NL East lead back to four games.

"We're extremely proud of what we've accomplished," Wright said. "After one of the low points of the year, we hit one of the high points of the year. That was pretty special."

The sweep dropped the Braves 7½ games behind the Mets, their largest deficit of the season. The Braves have lost nine of 12 and are only 22-26 since the All-Star break. Atlanta began the day 6½ back in the wild-card race.

"We got our butts kicked," said Chipper Jones, who was 1-for-4. "I just didn't see a ball over the plate the whole series until my last at-bat. That was the one hittable pitch that I got. Those guys were really dealing."

Glavine and Smoltz were teammates in Atlanta from 1988 through the 2002 season. They remain good friends and golf rivals.

"It won't be the last competition between us," Glavine said of Sunday's game. "For bragging rights it was nice to finally beat him. He's certainly had my number."

The left-hander was 0-2 despite a 2.96 ERA in four career matchups with Smoltz, including three this season.

"I don't know that I pitched much better today than I did in any of the other times against those guys," Glavine said. "I just got better results."

Glavine (12-6) gave up five hits and one run in six innings, with three walks and two strikeouts. The Mets held the Braves to four runs in three games.

The Braves' only extra-base hit of the series was a ninth-inning double Sunday by Brian McCann off Mets closer Billy Wagner, who also gave up a run-scoring single to Kelly Johnson. Wagner then ended the comeback for his 30th save in 34 chances.

Wagner has allowed one or more runs in five straight appearances for the first time in his career. He has given up eight runs in 5 1/3 innings in that span.

"I'm going to have to pitch better," Wagner said. "The results have to be better. As long as you win, you can take a few lumps. I've given up too many leadoff hits."

The closer was making his first appearance since giving up four hits and three runs in an 11-10 loss at Philadelphia on Thursday. It was Wagner's third blown save of August.

Smoltz (12-7) was 3-0 in the rivalry before giving up nine hits and three runs in seven innings. He walked two batters and struck out four and said pitching wasn't the problem in the sweep.

"I think what's a shock is we only scored four runs in three games," Smoltz said. "To me, that's a shock. This offense has been good all year. For them to come in here and hold us down to four runs and only one extra-base hit, that's a shock.

"You gotta win. When you give up three runs, you gotta win."

Glavine retired 12 straight batters after giving up a first-inning run, and left the game after Johnson led off the seventh with a single. Jorge Sosa, another former Atlanta pitcher, then got three straight outs.

Glavine gave up two hits and two walks but only one run in the first. Yunel Escobar and Matt Diaz opened the inning with singles, and a walk to Mark Teixeira loaded the bases with one out. Escobar scored on a grounder to third by Jeff Francoeur.

The Mets tied the game with a second-inning run. With one out, consecutive singles by Moises Alou, Shawn Green and Paul Lo Duca loaded the bases. Glavine drove in Alou with a fly ball that Andruw Jones, who had been playing shallow, barely caught in front of the warning track in center.

Escobar lost Jose Reyes' fifth-inning fly at shortstop in the sun. The ball fell for a single. Luis Castillo hit into a groundout that would have ended the inning if Escobar had made the catch.

Instead, Wright followed with the two-run homer to center on a high slider from Smoltz, who dropped his head in disgust as soon as Wright made contact.

"He left it up a little bit over the plate," Wright said.

Alou was ejected by first base umpire Andy Fletcher in the eighth. Alou tried to check his swing on a pitch as Carlos Beltran stole second base, but on the appeal Fletcher ruled Alou swung for strike three. Alou argued the call before he was quickly tossed.

Game notes
Alou threw out Teixeira at second base after Teixeira led off the sixth inning with a sharp single to left and tried to stretch the hit to a double. ... The Braves (69-68) are only one game over .500 for the first time since June 25. ... Carlos Delgado was 0-for-3 with a walk and three strikeouts.


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