NEW YORK (AP) -- The Mets and Braves played a doubleheader Wednesday that resembled the NL East race all season.
It was no contest.Shawn Green busted out of his slump with a huge day at the plate, Oliver Perez pitched his second career shutout for his first win since May and New York completed a doubleheader sweep with an 8-0 rout of Atlanta."It was a big day for us, to have the type of pitching performances we had and to put some runs up on the board," Green said. "It was a great day all around."Carlos Delgado hit a tiebreaking homer in the opener and the Mets got another fine effort on the mound from Dave Williams in a 4-1 victory.Green homered late in that one and then connected again in the nightcap. He finished the day 6-for-8 with four runs scored and three RBI, earning a curtain call from a sparse crowd.Acquired on Aug. 22 from Arizona, Green began the afternoon batting only .179 with five RBI in 39 at-bats with New York. He said a timing adjustment he recently made with his stride has helped him get comfortable again."It was a lot of fun," he said. "If you could pick one lineup in baseball to hit in, this would be it. It's got everything."Jose Reyes hit the first pitch he saw in the second game for his sixth leadoff homer of the season, setting a Mets record. Chris Woodward added a two-run double off Kyle Davies (2-5), pinch-hitter Endy Chavez delivered a two-run triple and Julio Franco had an RBI single.Playing their third doubleheader in five days, the Braves looked listless against a pair of fill-in lefties."It takes its toll," Atlanta outfielder Jeff Francoeur said. "We didn't play well. We're much better as a team than we showed."The Mets had not swept a doubleheader from Atlanta since July 22, 1988.Perez (3-11) tossed a career-best five-hitter in his first win for the NL East-leading Mets, who improved to 15-4 in their last 19 games. When Philadelphia lost to Houston on Wednesday night, the Mets' magic number was trimmed to eight for clinching their first division championship since 1988.The Braves, trying to stay on the brink of the wild-card race, fell 20½ games behind New York in the NL East with 23 to play. After winning 14 straight division titles, their run could come to its mathematical conclusion this weekend.Acquired from Pittsburgh at the trade deadline, Perez struck out six and walked one in his third career complete game. His previous was on May 13, 2004, for the Pirates at Colorado, also in the second game of a doubleheader.His other shutout was April 25, 2004, for Pittsburgh at Cincinnati.Perez had an outstanding season two years ago for the Pirates but was demoted to the minors this year because of control problems and ineffectiveness. The left-hander had not won since May 17 for Pittsburgh against the Reds."I was thinking too much," Perez said.Davies entered 3-0 with a 2.63 ERA in five career games against the Mets, but he's been roughed up in both major-league starts since returning from a torn right groin.
It was New York's first doubleheader sweep at home since Aug. 15, 2000, against Colorado. ... Braves second baseman Marcus Giles went 2-for-4 in the nightcap, his first action since medical tests Sunday in Atlanta determined he has a healthy heart and he was cleared to resume playing. Last weekend in Philadelphia, Giles was told he might have a heart defect. ... Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran (bruised left knee) and left fielder Cliff Floyd (sore left Achilles' tendon) did not play in the opener, but both were in the lineup for the second game. Beltran stole a base and made a running catch. Floyd went 1-for-3 and departed in the seventh.