NEW YORK (AP) — Mike Pelfrey pitched out of constant trouble to extend his scoreless streak to 24 innings and the New York Mets finished a three-game sweep of the slumping Atlanta Braves with a 1-0 victory Sunday night in a game cut short by rain.
A throwing error by hobbled third baseman Chipper Jones allowed Jose Reyes to score in the first inning. Play was stopped after one pitch in the sixth when rain intensified, and the game was called by umpires following a 98-minute delay.
That left Atlanta with its fifth straight defeat and made a hard-luck loser of Tommy Hanson (1-2), who did not give up an earned run. The Braves have been outscored 19-6 during their skid.
Boosted by strong pitching, New York (10-9) improved to 6-1 on its 10-game homestand and moved above .500 for the first time since beating Florida on opening day. The Mets have won four in a row for only the second time since last May — the other streak was a five-game run from July 25-30.
And while New York has certainly benefited from shoddy play by the Cubs and Braves of late, this mini-surge has perhaps taken some of the heat off manager Jerry Manuel and GM Omar Minaya that accompanied the team's poor start.
The Braves squandered several early scoring chances against Pelfrey (4-0), lifted after throwing 106 pitches through five innings. Raul Valdes threw a strike to rookie Jason Heyward to open the sixth before umpires called for the tarp and waved players off the field.
Atlanta committed two more errors on a damp, dreary, 50-degree night at Citi Field. The Braves made seven errors in 21 innings on defense during the series — including three by Jones at third base.
Pelfrey matched a career high with five walks but wriggled out of some major jams as Atlanta stranded eight runners for a series total of 26 in 23 full innings of offense.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the first, Heyward saw nine pitches but popped out. Pelfrey came back from a 3-0 count to strike out Martin Prado with two on to end the second. And Heyward and Troy Glaus later grounded into inning-ending double plays with two on.
Pelfrey, who also saved a 20-inning win at St. Louis on April 17, hasn't given up a run in his last three starts. The last time he was touched up came in the second inning April 9 against Washington, his first outing of the year.
The 6-foot-7 right-hander allowed five hits, struck out three and lowered his ERA to 0.69. His career-best shutout streak is the longest by a Mets pitcher since John Maine went 26 innings from July 15 to Aug. 12, 2006.
With rain falling in the first inning, Reyes looped a two-out single to left and stole second.
Jones made a tough, backhand stab of Jason Bay's sharp grounder inside the third-base line, but struggled to get back to his feet and bounced a wide throw to first that eluded Glaus. Bay was credited with an infield single and Reyes scored on the throwing error.
Jones, a Mets nemesis throughout his stellar career, hurt his hip on his first swing Saturday — his 38th birthday — and left the game in the third inning following a pair of called strikeouts.
NOTES: Maine threw a bullpen session before the game and is expected to make his next scheduled start Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Maine's most recent outing Friday was cut short by pain in his left (non-pitching) elbow. ... New York 3B David Wright struck out for the 12th consecutive game, extending his career high. ... A message on the scoreboard in the middle of the third invited fans to move down to empty seats on the lower level. ... New York Jets first-round draft pick Kyle Wilson threw out a ceremonial first pitch.