Braves stay on skid after Pelfrey's gem

NEW YORK --- As soon as Mike Pelfrey emerged from the dugout for the ninth inning, the Shea Stadium crowd roared its approval.

The big right-hander had come close before, but this time he was determined to finish the job.

Pelfrey pitched a three-hitter for his first career complete game and David Wright homered to lead the New York Mets over the sloppy Atlanta Braves 6-3 on Wednesday night.

"Anytime you can go out there and throw a complete game, it's awesome," Pelfrey said. "The fans got into it and started cheering and a standing ovation -- anytime that happens it's great."

Pelfrey (12-8) also delivered at the plate, hitting an RBI single in a five-run first inning, when the NL East leaders took advantage of two Atlanta errors.

"That's huge. Anytime you can get that kind of run support early in the game, it kind of takes pressure off you," Pelfrey said. "You don't have to be as perfect. You have a little cushion and it allows you to relax."

Daniel Murphy hit a two-run single and Fernando Tatis also drove in a run to help the surging Mets, who have won eight of nine and 11 of 14. They remained 11/2 games ahead of second-place Philadelphia.

Braves starter Jair Jurrjens (11-9) gave up six runs -- four earned -- and six hits in five innings.

Pelfrey walked three and struck out three in his 42nd major league start, improving to 10-2 since May 31. He threw 108 pitches and retired his final 11 batters in a game that lasted just 2 hours, 8 minutes.

The key inning for Pelfrey was the sixth, when Atlanta loaded the bases with nobody out on a bunt single followed by two walks. But the 24-year-old right-hander limited the damage.

One run scored on a double-play grounder by cleanup batter Brian McCann, and another on a wild pitch that cut New York's lead to 6-3. Pelfrey got Mark Kotsay on an inning-ending flyout and did not allow another base runner the rest of the way.

"He was on the edges all night," a dejected Chipper Jones said quietly after striking out twice. "He always had good stuff. He throws a heavy ball."

It was the second time in four games that a Mets starter went the distance on a three-hitter. Johan Santana shut out Pittsburgh on Sunday.

New York starters are 7-0 with a 1.83 ERA in the past eight games.

Wright hit his 24th homer leading off the fifth, making it 6-1, and the Mets never had to use their shaky bullpen, which is missing injured closer Billy Wagner.

The Braves have lost nine of 10, falling a season-worst 15 games under .500.

Atlanta trimmed its deficit to 5-1 on Gregor Blanco's two-out RBI single in the third.

GLAVINE EXAMINED

Tom Glavine's teammates want him back next season. Now, it's up to the Atlanta Braves front office to decide whether he'll get that chance.

Glavine was examined Wednesday by Dr. James Andrews in Alabama. As expected, tests showed the 42-year-old pitcher has a partial tear in the flexor tendon in his left elbow -- but no ligament damage.

The 300-game winner will have surgery today and is expected to face four to five months of rehabilitation.

That leaves open the possibility Glavine could return next season. If he is to come back, he only wants to pitch for Atlanta, close to his home and family. The Braves have not said whether they'll offer him a contract for 2009.

"Love to have him back. Tommy wants to end his career on his own terms," Atlanta's Chipper Jones said.

-- Associated Press

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