Delgado’s big night gives Mets sweep of Braves

Published 10:45 pm Thursday, August 21, 2008

NEW YORK – Carlos Delgado singled in the winning run in the ninth inning and tied a career high with five hits Thursday night, sending the New York Mets to a 5-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves that completed a three-game sweep.

David Wright hit a one-out double off Vladimir Nunez (0-1), and Carlos Beltran was intentionally walked before Delgado hit a sharp liner to left. Omar Infante slipped as he tried to track down the drive, and the ball glanced off his glove.

Wright, who briefly stopped before third when he thought Infante might haul it in, recovered in time to reach home easily as the Mets poured out of the dugout.

Wright hit his 25th homer and finished with three hits for New York, which has won three straight and nine of 10. The Mets increased their NL East lead to 2½ games over Philadelphia, which lost 4-3 to Washington.

Luis Ayala (2-8) pitched 1 1-3 shutout innings to earn his first win since he was acquired from the Nationals on Sunday.

Yunel Escobar went deep on Pedro Martinez’s first pitch and Brian McCann hit a two-run double for Atlanta, which has lost five straight. The stumbling Braves are 11-22 since the All-Star break.

Mike Hampton, the 2000 NLCS MVP with the Mets, pitched six strong innings in his first appearance against his former club since July 17, 2005. Hampton missed the previous two seasons due to elbow operations and had his 2008 debut pushed back almost four months by other injuries.

Atlanta was leading 4-3 when Hampton departed, but the Mets rallied in the seventh. With runners on first and second and two out, first baseman Martin Prado fielded Delgado’s grounder and made an errant throw to reliever Will Ohman covering first.

Nick Evans scored and Beltran advanced to third on the play but Julian Tavarez got Fernando Tatis to fly out to the warning track in left, ending the inning.

Prado was subbing for Greg Norton, who was scratched due to a jammed left shoulder.

Martinez settled down after allowing a first-pitch homer for the second time in four starts. San Diego’s Jody Gerut connected on the right-hander’s first pitch Aug. 6, and Escobar did it for the Braves, hitting his third career leadoff shot.

Martinez retired 15 of the next 17 batters before Atlanta rallied for three runs in the sixth. McCann doubled into the right-field corner to drive in Escobar and Chipper Jones, giving Atlanta a 4-3 lead. McCann scampered home when Infante’s soft liner landed just out of the reach of Beltran in center.

Martinez came out for the eighth inning and was replaced by Pedro Feliciano after Escobar led off with a single. The three-time Cy Young Award winner allowed seven hits, struck out six and walked one.

Delgado and Wright combined to give the Mets a 3-1 lead after five innings.

Delgado hit two-out RBI singles in the first and third, and doubled against Hampton in the fifth. The slugger is 8-for-12 with three doubles and seven RBIs against the left-hander.

Wright went deep in the fifth against Hampton, who allowed eight hits, struck out two and walked one.

Notes: Delgado also had five hits for Toronto at Seattle on May 7, 1998. … Braves LHP Tom Glavine underwent surgery on his left elbow and shoulder and is expected be ready for spring training. … Infante, Kelly Johnson and Jeff Francoeur each moved up a spot in the lineup with Norton out. Prado batted eighth. … New York RF Ryan Church (post-concussion syndrome) was scheduled to play another rehab game for Double-A Binghamton on Thursday night, and could be back in the lineup Friday against Houston.