After ending their 29-game one-run road losing streak yesterday in late innings comeback fashion, the Braves came back again versus the Mets this afternoon in the ninth inning, scoring five runs.
The comeback started in the top of the ninth with a single by the red-hot hitting Casey Kotchman. Pinch-hitter Kelly Johnson followed with another single, and then pinch-hitter Greg Norton didn't give in to Luis Ayala and drove a 3-2 fastball over the right-field wall. The homerun by Norton was his major league leading third pinch hit homerun this season.
After a pitching change and a Josh Anderson ground out, Martin Prado walked before Chipper Jones singled. It was Chipper's third hit of the afternoon in five trips to the plate and it pushed his major league leading batting average to .365, five points ahead of Albert Pujols, who went 2-for-4 today and saw his average increase to .360.
With one out in the top of the ninth Gregor Blanco doubled in Prado. Omar Infante was then intentionally walked to load the bases in front of Corky Miller, who hit a sac fly to score Chipper. The Braves batted around and Kotchman, who began the inning with a single, flied out to end the top of the ninth, but the damage was already done and five runs later the Braves had taken the lead.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Mets tried their best to come back against closer Mike Gonzalez. David Wright and Carlos Delgado each singled to start the bottom of the ninth, but Gonzo got Beltran to line out, struck out Tatis, and got Luis Castillo to ground out to end the game.
The Braves have now won five of their last six games. After an off-day on Monday, the Braves face the Phillies, who pulled to within one and a half games of the NL East lead behind the Mets, with their win today. After three games against the Phils, the Mets visit Turner Field for the final time this year -- the Braves can effect the outcome of the NL East race considerably over the next ten days.