Final

Series: Game 2 of 2

Atlanta won 2-0

Game 1: Friday, July 23
AtlantaPostponed
NY Mets
Game 1: Saturday, July 24
Atlanta5Final
NY Mets2
Game 2: Sunday, July 25
Atlanta4Final
NY Mets3

Braves 4

(52-45, 25-23 away)

Mets 3

(47-50, 27-23 home)

    1:10 PM ET, July 25, 2004

    Shea Stadium, Flushing, New York 

    123456789 R H E
    ATL 020010100 4 7 2
    NYM 101000100 3 7 2

    W: M. Hampton (6-8)

    L: S. Trachsel (9-7)

    S: J. Smoltz (20)

    Matsui tallies 20th error of season

    NEW YORK (AP) -- For the Atlanta Braves, the recovery began in mid-June after they had lost six out of seven.

    They were 32-38, in fourth place and drifting along 6½ games out of first place in the NL East.

    Since then, the Braves have won 20 of 27 and stormed to the top of the division.

    "Are we first?" manager Bobby Cox asked after a 4-3 win over the New York Mets on Sunday.

    As if he didn't know.

    They're in first place because they capitalize on opponents' mistakes, and Sunday was just another example.

    The Braves scored three unearned runs against the Mets on fielding errors by rookies David Wright and Kaz Matsui, and Mike Hampton continued his pitching renaissance with six strong innings against the Mets. J.D. Drew hit his 24th homer for the Braves.

    "They're in first place for a reason," Mets manager Art Howe said. "They play the game pretty well. We made a couple of mistakes and they took advantage of them."

    Wright, called up Wednesday from Triple-A Norfolk, made his second error in four games at third base and the Braves scored twice in the second against Steve Trachsel (9-7). Matsui's 20th error in the fifth allowed the Braves to score another run.

    Hampton (6-8) won his fourth straight game this month and limited the Mets -- his former team -- to five hits. He walked two and struck out two.

    "He's winning because he's not giving up as many cheap hits," Cox said. "You give up a couple of those. Somebody gets a hit and it's two runs. You feel you're throwing great, but there are two runs on the board."

    Hampton said he's been better.

    "That was not my best, but I battled through it," the left-hander said. "You try to make good pitches. I missed quite a few. I didn't have as good stuff."

    Jose Reyes had a career-high four hits, three off Hampton, for the Mets, who have lost three straight and nine of their last 12.

    With the Mets trailing 4-2 in the seventh, Mike Cameron led off with a single off Hampton. Kevin Gryboski came in to relieve him, and retired the next two batters before walking pinch-hitter Eric Valent. Reyes followed with an RBI single, but Matsui grounded out to end the rally.

    Chris Reitsma got two outs in the eighth, but gave up a single to Todd Zeile. John Smoltz came in and struck out Cameron before throwing a perfect ninth for his 20th save in 22 opportunities.

    "I like that, coming in and getting somebody else out of trouble," Smoltz said.

    The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the first when Reyes opened with a double, moved to third on a groundout and scored on a sacrifice fly by Cliff Floyd.

    Atlanta responded in the top of the second by taking a 2-1 lead. Adam LaRoche singled and moved up when Wright booted a grounder by Eddie Perez. Charles Thomas sacrificed the runners and LaRoche scored on Hampton's groundout. Rafael Furcal followed with an RBI double.

    New York tied it in the third when Jason Phillips drew a leadoff walk, moved up on a sacrifice and scored on Matsui's single. Hampton escaped further damage, getting Floyd to pop up and retiring Richard Hidalgo on a liner to third baseman Chipper Jones.

    In the fifth, Drew led off with a walk and Jones ripped a liner off Matsui's glove for an error. Andruw Jones followed with an RBI single, giving Atlanta a 3-2 lead.

    Trachsel allowed four runs -- one earned -- and seven hits in seven innings.

    "Seven is great," he said. "I'd rather go five and win."

    Game notes


    Phillips ran into the dugout, thinking Furcal had struck out to end the sixth but was called back on the field by plate umpire Mark Carlson, who ruled the play a foul tip. Three pitches later, Furcal struck out. ... Drew's homer extended his hitting streak to 21 games.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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