Clock Strikes 12: Braves End Mets Win Streak

If this had been the series that prognosticators had said would determine the division, Pedro Astacio's plunking of the Braves superstar Gary Sheffield might have set off a full scale brawl between two teams that have genuine hatred for each other.

Instead, Sheffield took his time strolling out of the batter's box and holding on to his bat, Mike Piazza meekly following him and trying to take the bat out of his hand. Both dugouts emptied, but it was more theater than any genuine anger. Astacio, who had hit Sheffield in retaliation for Joe McEwing being hit in the hand in the half-inning before, was summarily ejected from the game. After a couple of minutes of milling around, rookie Pedro Feliciano was brought in, and the Braves continued their thumping of the Mets, scoring 12 runs in a 12-6 rout of the Mets that saw Astacio unable to protect a 5-0 lead. Andruw Jones homered twice in the game, and unheralded hitters Mark DeRosa and Henry Blanco also homered and former Mets pinch-hitter extraordinaire Matt Franco hit a bases loaded triple.

The Mets jumped to the early lead, with Piazza being the sole highlight, hitting a home run that was crushed so hard off of pitcher Damian Moss that neither left fielder Chipper Jones nor center fielder Andruw Jones bothered to move. They just turned and watched the ball sail into the stands. Then the Braves onslaught started and the Mets saw their streak end at seven.

Notes

-The Mets will play a day-night double header Wednesday. Steve Trachsel(9-10, 3.36) and Al Leiter (12-11, 3.54) will tbe the two starters for the Mets while Jason Marquis (8-8, 4.80) and Kevin Millwood (16-6, 3.06) will be the Braves starters. At 9:11pm, there will be a moment of silence for those who lost their lives in the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Pennsylvania tragedies.

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