Shea Blues: Braves Sweep Away Mets, Glavine 6-3

Tom Glavine might soon be wishing he could make every start on the road. The veteran left-hander -- who came into the contest 2-6 with a 6.56 ERA at Shea Stadium this season -- allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings as the Atlanta Braves swept the series against the New York Mets on Wednesday afternoon with a 6-3 victory.

Julio Franco hit a two-run homer, Gary Sheffield went 2-for-3 with an RBI, and Russ Ortiz (12-4) allowed two runs and seven hits over seven innings as the Braves won for the seventh time in eight games.

John Smoltz pitched the ninth to earn his major league leading thirty-fourth save.

Tom Glavine (6-9) has now lost all three games in which has started against the team he called home for the first sixteen years of his career. He has allowed sixteen runs, twenty-four hits and seven home runs in 15 2-3 innings against the Braves. Atlanta had previously defeated him 10-4 on May 24 and then 5-2 on May 30.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner has blamed some of his problems while at Shea Stadium on the Questec system that is used to evaluate umpires. Catchers have often told him that at the start of the game, a umpire will state that he won't call the corners cause he doesn't want to be graded poorly by the machine.

"Why not eliminate that altogether and have an electronic strike zone?" Glavine said to the Associated Press. "That's almost what it's coming to."

Does it make a huge difference?

"If it's 2-0 vs. 1-1, that's a big deal," he said to the Associated Press.

The Atlanta Braves (58-31) got on the board early against Glavine. Rafael Furcal began the game by drawing a ten pitch walk, Mark DeRosa flied out, but Gary Sheffield singled to put runners on the corners. Back-to-back singles by Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones made it 2-0 before Javy Lopez tacked on another run with a sacrifice fly for a three run lead.

New York (39-50) added a run in the bottom of the third after Timo Perez lifted a sacrifice fly into centerfield that drove home Rey Sanchez.

First basemen Julio Franco extended the Braves lead to four in the sixth when, with one man on, he deposited his second homer of the year over the right field fence. Both of his home runs this season have been against Tom Glavine.

Jose Reyes plated a run in the seventh with a sacrifice fly and the Mets threatened in the eighth. Following a forty-four minute rain delay with one out and two on in the eighth, Jeromy Burnitz singled home a run with to put runners on first and third, but Kevin Gryboski entered in relief of Ray King and induced Jason Phillips into a double play to end the frame.

The Mets fell to 39-50, are 7 games behind the Florida Marlins for fourth place, and 19 back of the Braves. Atlanta, meanwhile, sits atop the division with a 58-31 record and are 9 games in front of the second place Phillies.

"I feel bad for him personally," said Greg Maddux to the Associated Press, Glavine's former teammate. "But as far as the team goes? We're doing what we're trying to do."

Russ Ortiz -- who came into the game 6-2 with a 3.68 ERA in nine career starts against the Mets -- worked 7 1-3 innings surrendering three runs and seven hits while walking one and fanning four.

LHP Tom Glavine fell to 2-7 when pitching at Shea Stadium this season... RHP Russ Ortiz, headed to Tuesday's All-Star game, is now 5-0 in his last five starts... OF Jeromy Burnitz now has 6 home runs in his previous 11 games... SS Rafael Furcal is now 4-for-27 over his last six games... Steve Trachsel (8-5, 4.10) draws Vincente Padilla (7-8, 3.93) in the series opener against Philadelphia on Thursday evening...

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