Oliver Perez pitched effectively in his second game back, allowing three runs in six innings, but the bullpen failed him to let the Braves go ahead in the seventh inning. Perez struck out six and walked four, but he succumbed to the long ball as the Braves hit back-to-back home runs in the second inning.
The Mets actually took the lead in the fourth inning with a three-run rally. They did it with small ball as Luis Castillo, David Wright and Gary Sheffield all hit singles, driving in one run. Jeff Francoeur then grounded out but scored Wright. Daniel Murphy then doubled and drove in Sheffield. That was all of the offense the Mets would get for the rest of the night.
The Braves would tie the game up in the bottom of the fourth off a double by Matt Diaz. Mets killer Chipper Jones drove in the run in the seventh to give the Braves the go-ahead run.
Pedro Feliciano came into the game in the seventh inning but walked the first batter he faced. He then got an out. Bobby Parnell relieved Feliciano and immediately gave up two hits and the Jones RBI. The bright spot in the bullpen was Pat Misch who got the last two outs in the seventh. He pitched the eighth also but that’s when he broke down, allowing three hits and another run before Brian Stokes cleaned up the last out.
Ryan Church did not start this game, but he came in as a pinch runner in the eighth inning. He would score a run and then went into right field for defense in the ninth inning.
Because the Phillies shut out the Marlins tonight, the Mets are now 7 1/2 games out of first place. This is not how the Mets needed to start their second half. Granted, the Mets were not going to sweep the series, but the Mets lost their first game immediately after the All-Star break in six years. Now Mike Pelfrey, who starts tomorrow night, and Johan Santana will have to come through with great pitching efforts for the Mets to at least salvage a series tie.