(Sports Network) – Count the Braves as fans of instant replay.
After a reversed call helped Atlanta maintain a two-game edge for first place in the National League East, the Braves look to make it three victories in a row this evening in the opener of a four-game set versus the New York Mets at Turner Field.
Atlanta’s slim edge over second-place Philadelphia was maintained on Sunday on Brian McCann’s walk-off home run versus Florida that gave his club a 7-6 victory.
Atlanta trailed by five runs heading into the eighth inning, but plated three runs in that frame before tying the game on Matt Diaz’s pinch-hit two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth. After the next two Braves hitters were retired, McCann blasted a pitch that just cleared the right-field wall. The hit was initially ruled a double, but was reversed after a review.
“I heard it hit the back of that tin [past the fence], and I knew it was over,” McCann said. “It was just a great feeling, big team win. It was a team win today, and it was awesome.”
Not only did McCann’s hit — the first walk-off of his career — give the Braves a second straight win after dropping four straight, but it marked the first time that replay was used on a deciding homer.
The home run also improved Atlanta to 18-1-2 in home series this year, which is bad news for a New York team that has lost nine of its past 12 at Turner Field.
The Mets, who hold a slim 6-5 margin over the Braves in the 2010 season series, begin a 10-game road trip this evening after splitting six games at home. New York managed the .500 mark after Sunday’s 5-1 triumph over Houston in the rubber match of a three-game set.
R.A. Dickey gave up just the run over seven-plus innings and also had two hits at the plate, one a two-run single.
“Being consistent with what I have to offer,” said Dickey, who also scored a run. “I think I have a collective body of work here over the last 20 starts.”
Josh Thole went 2-for-3 with a solo homer and scored twice for the Mets, who were again without shortstop Jose Reyes due to a strained right oblique muscle. Reyes, who hasn’t played since Thursday, is unlikely to play tonight and his return date is unknown.
New York could use Reyes’ speed as it tries to hand Atlanta starter Jair Jurrjens his first home loss of 2010.
The right-hander is 5-0 with a 1.81 earned run average in seven home starts, and 5-4 with a 4.36 ERA overall this year. He has allowed 10 runs over his last two starts, both no-decisions on the road, and the bulk of that damage came on Wednesday in Colorado. Jurrjens gave up seven runs over 5 1/3 innings of his club’s 12-10 setback.
Jurrjens, 24, has faced the Mets just once this year, taking a loss in New York on April 24 after he gave up three runs over 6 2/3 innings. He fell to 6-2 lifetime versus the Mets with a 2.62 ERA.
While Jurrjens aims to maintain his perfect mark at Turner Field, Mets starter Pat Misch will try again for his first victory of the year.
The 29-year-old lefty has lost his first three starts of 2010, posting a 3.50 ERA. His latest setback came on Wednesday as Misch allowed four runs — three earned — on nine hits over six innings of work.
Misch, who was 3-4 with a 4.12 ERA in 22 games (seven starts) with the Mets last year, is 0-2 with a 10.22 ERA in six career games versus Atlanta, including two starts. He has yielded 14 runs over 12 1/3 innings against the club.
Misch will likely have to face Atlanta’s Derrek Lee after he was rested on Sunday. Lee left Saturday’s contest in the third inning due to a mild strain on his right side.