To say that this weekend's series with the Mets was one of the most encouraging the Braves played in a while would be somewhat of an understatement. While all of the Braves' immediate competition in the wild card race (and the division too, for that matter) was scuffling, Atlanta reeled off their 5th straight win and 7th in their last 8 games. But, perhaps more importantly, was the fact that Atlanta's two coldest hitters - Brian McCann and Dan Uggla - showed serious signs of life. If McCann and/or Uggla can get hot, they have the ability to carry the team, and it's a good time of the season for players to get hot.
Game 1 saw Paul Maholm and the bullpen combine to shut out the Mets 3-0. It was the Braves 3rd straight shutout, after they blanked the Rockies in the final two games of the previous series. Jason Heyward and Dan Uggla powered the offense with solo home runs, while David Ross added a sacrifice fly to account for the final score. Heyward and Uggla were the offensive starts of game one, as they each recorded a pair of hits. Uggla had a double and his aforementioned homer en route to scoring 2 of Atlanta's 3 runs. Paul Maholm struck out 6 over 5.2 innings to pick up his 12th win of the year. Craig Kimbrel shut down the Mets for his 35th save.
Game 2 was a bit of a laugher, as Atlanta rolled over Jeremy Hefner and the Mets 11-3. Kris Medlen finally gave up an earned run, but continued his dominance over MLB hitters, as he allowed 2 runs on 4 hits in 6 innings, en route to his 8th win of the year. Dan Uggla had a perfect day at the plate, going 3-3 with 2 walks and scoring 3 runs. Brian McCann notched four hits and four RBIs, two on a booming double and two on a golfed home run. Martin Prado chipped in with 3 hits and 2 RBIs as well.
The final game of the series was the only one that was really contested, as Tommy Hanson and Chris Young matched each other through 6 innings, allowing 2 runs apiece. The score would remain knotted at two until Brian McCann came through with a long sacrifice fly in the 10th inning. McCann's sacrifice came with one out and the bases loaded, and it's hard to believe he would have done anything other than strike out in that safe situation a week ago. McCann has also hit his second homer in as many days in the 6th inning.
After the sweep, Atlanta now heads to Milwaukee to take on the Brewers, who have actually won 15 of their last 20 games. Atlanta heads to Milwaukee 5.5 games back of the suddenly-scuffling Nationals, and 5.5 games ahead of the second wild-card (The Cardinals). The Braves also have a whopping 7 game lead on the Dodgers, who are currently the first team out of the wild card race.
As a final note, it would appear the talk of another "September collapse" was premature and overblown. The Braves are 7-2 so far in the month of September, and playing some of their best baseball to date.