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Braves belted by Beltran, Mets

POSTED: May 5, 2009 1:12 a.m.
John Bazemore/The Associated Press

Atlanta Braves center fielder Jordan Schafer leaps in vain to reach a two-run home run hit by New York Mets' Carlos Beltran in the seventh inning Monday in Atlanta.

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ATLANTA — Hours after control problems cost a teammate his spot in the rotation, John Maine wouldn’t let his walks cause him to lose a game.

Maine overcame a career-high six walks, Carlos Beltran hit a pair of two-run homers and the New York Mets recovered from an early deficit to beat the Atlanta Braves 6-4 on Monday night.

David Wright added a two-run shot as the Mets, who went 1-8 in Atlanta last season, improved to 30-63 at Turner Field since the start of the 1998 season.

"They’re players, man. They’re hitting in the middle of that lineup for a reason," Atlanta’s Chipper Jones said about Beltran and Wright.

Jones hit an eighth-inning homer, but that was the only offense for the Braves after their three-run second.

Beltran gave credit to Maine, who recovered after walking four batters in the first two innings, including three in the second.

"I’m proud of Maine for what he did for us," Beltran said. "He struggled for a couple of innings and was able to adjust and give us an opportunity to get back in the game. That really shows he’s giving everything he has. ... He didn’t give up."

Maine said he was motivated by a "good vibe" in the Mets’ dugout.

"Nobody else gave up on me and it was a good feeling," Maine said. "I didn’t give up on myself."

New York left-hander Oliver Perez was tied for the National League lead with 21 walks when he was sent to the bullpen on Monday. Maine is not far off the lead with 18 walks, including four in the first two innings.

"Walks are killing me," Maine said, adding he made an adjustment in his mechanics after the second inning. "It’s about slowing myself down and not rushing myself."

Maine (2-2) earned his second consecutive win, giving up only three hits and three runs in six innings. He set a season high with seven strikeouts.

Beltran, hitting .400, was 2-for-3 with a walk and four RBIs in New York’s first visit to Atlanta this year. The two homers gave him four this season.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel said Beltran thrives by being more than just a pull hitter.

"He can be very, very dangerous to hit the ball to center field, left field," Manuel said. "It’s a very, very good sign for him."

After J.J. Putz gave up Jones’ homer in the eighth, Francisco Rodriguez pitched a perfect ninth for his sixth save.

Javier Vazquez (2-3) gave up a season-high six runs in 6 2-3 innings. He allowed seven hits, including the three homers — each to center field.

Vazquez said Beltran hit high fastballs for each of his homers.

"Just bad pitches," Vazquez said. "The exact same spot. Fastballs, right over the middle and up. ... Good hitters don’t miss mistakes. That’s the bottom line."

The Braves led the major leagues with only 11 homers allowed before facing the Mets.

The Braves took a 3-0 lead in the second against Maine, who issued three walks in the inning.

With one out and the bases loaded, shortstop Jose Reyes fielded Vazquez’s grounder and flipped to Luis Castillo for one out as Jeff Francoeur scored from third. Castillo’s throw to first was wild, allowing Brandon Jones to score on the error.

Yunel Escobar added a run-scoring single after Maine’s third walk of the inning.

The Mets took the lead on four hits, including two-run homers by Beltran and Wright, in the sixth. Beltran’s shot drove in Daniel Murphy, who led off the inning with a single. Wright’s homer drove in Carlos Delgado, who had a single to left in his return from a sore right hip.

Delgado was 1 for 4 in his first start since April 26.

Beltran’s second homer of the game knocked Vazquez out of the game with two outs in the seventh.

Jones’ homer cut New York’s lead to 6-4 in the eighth. He has a .329 career batting average against the Mets, including 40 homers.Notes: Manuel said Perez will move to the bullpen and 40-year-old rookie LHP Ken Takahashi will start Friday against Pittsburgh. Manuel said there is no timetable for Perez returning to the rotation. ... Maine had five walks in a game four times, most recently on April 22 in a 5-2 loss at St. Louis. ... Beltran had his first multihomer game of the season and the 26th of his career. ... Braves LHP Tom Glavine reported no problems after throwing in the bullpen for the first time since inflammation was found in his left rotator cuff three weeks ago.



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