Mets can't solve Braves, fall in 10 innings

Mets can't solve Braves, fall in 10 innings

Mets can't solve Braves, fall in 10 innings
NEW YORK -- Mets manager Terry Collins wishes he had an answer to New York's offensive woes at Citi Field. But the plain and honest truth is that he doesn't.

The Mets' 3-2, 10-inning loss to Atlanta on Sunday marked the 10th consecutive home game in which they have scored three runs or fewer, the team's longest stretch since 1988. The three-game sweep -- the Braves' second series sweep over the Mets this season -- sunk New York to 4-18 at Citi Field after the All-Star break. The Mets have scored just 53 runs over that span, an average of 2.4 per game.

"We're running out of ideas, we really are," Collins said. "It's about grinding it out right now. It's about going in there and having some confidence in your ability, and have some confidence in what you trust and trying to put the barrel on the baseball. There's no gimmicks you can really use at this level.

"Believe me, we have rung the rag dry trying to come up with some answers as to why we don't hit the ball in this park."

The problem has been identified, but it's solving it that has been the issue. New York finished 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Sunday, and is hitting just .205 (86-for-419) in such situations since the break. The Mets batted .269 (199-for-739) before the break, and a 46-40 record was the result.

"I thought we had some good at-bats today," Collins said, "but we just aren't doing the things that we did really well in the first half, and that's getting those big key hits with two outs."

And it has cost them. Again the Mets got a quality outing from their starter -- Chris Young allowed two runs over six innings -- and again New York's sluggish offense didn't take advantage. The Mets have gotten a quality start in all but one of the aforementioned 10 games.

"My objective every time I pitch is to get each hitter out one by one, and those are external things that you can't control and it shouldn't change how you go about your work as a pitcher," Young said about whether New York's staff has felt added pressure as a result. "I try to stay focused on each hitter and get one out at a time and not worry about that."

Young made only two mistakes on Sunday, a ground-rule double by Jose Constanza that ultimately led to a run in the fifth, and a solo shot by Brian McCann an inning later. McCann drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly against Bobby Parnell in the 10th.

"Met killer" Chipper Jones may have been playing his final series in Queens, but McCann certainly played the part. The catcher was riding an 0-for-17 slump heading into the series -- he didn't play in Friday's opener -- but finished a combined 5-for-9 with six RBIs and four runs scored.

And teammate Dan Uggla -- who finished 6-for-11 over the three games -- wasn't far behind.

"It's something that we haven't really done a whole lot of this year, but we're capable of doing a lot," McCann said about the breakout weekend. "If we get hot at the right time, this is going to be a scary team."

Jones didn't enter the game until he drew a one-out pinch-hit walk in the ninth inning, and he was replaced by pinch-runner Reed Johnson right after. The 23,161 fans in attendance offered a standing ovation -- loud enough to drown out the scattered boos -- and Jones tipped his helmet as he entered the dugout.

"It was nice, well-deserved," David Wright said. "I think that as much as the fans liked to get on him over the years, they respect his body of work, they respect his career. The way he's carried himself and what he's been able to do on the field is obviously a nice cap to a Hall of Fame career."

"People in the last 19 years have witnessed one of the true professionals in the game and a guy who is going to finish his career five years from now by making a big speech, because he's for sure a first-ballot Hall of Famer and is certainly deserving of it all," Collins said.

Jones is and was the face of the Atlanta Braves for 19 years, certainly special in today's era of free agency. In a media session on Friday, Jones said that when people think of him, he wants them to think of the big A on his hat, and after 19 years of wearing it, it would be tough to do otherwise.

"You think of Chipper Jones, you think of the Atlanta Braves," Wright said. "I think he's represented the organization tremendously."

Adam Rosenbloom is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.