The Braves embarked on a six game road trip starting on July 5th against the second and third place teams in the National League East. They wrapped up that trip with a 4-2 record the only losses coming at the hands of Roy Halladay and Johan Santana.
Derek Lowe wasn’t terrible on Sunday. He pitched five and a third innings while allowing only two runs. Santana was just better going seven innings of shut out baseball allowing five hits and striking out five. The Mets bullpen came on in the eighth and Francisco Rodriguez nailed down the save in the ninth.
The Braves couldn’t muster a lot of offense against Santana as only three players had hits in the game. Omar Infante continued his torrid streak with two more hits. Matt Diaz also had two hits and Melky Cabrera one. The Braves were 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position and grounded into two double plays.
The Mets got an early run in the third via an Alex Cora RBI single that scored Angel Pagan. Pagan like Omar Infante, had an outstanding series against the Braves and the Mets are going to face a decision as to playing time once Carlos Beltran returns to action after the All Star Break. Ike Davis accounted for the Mets second run in the sixth inning with a mammoth 458 foot home run to deep center field off of Derek Lowe. The Mets added an insurance run off of Takashi Saito in the eighth inning to round out the scoring.
The Braves close the first half of the season with a 52-36 record a full four games ahead of the New York Mets in the standings. It has been an amazing streak for the Braves who were in last place right around the end of April. They have rebounded from an early nine game losing streak. More so this team has a looseness about them and they appear to be a team having fun. That makes them formidable as the dog days of summer drag on in the heat of a pennant race.