Pelfrey's 3-hitter lifts surging Mets
As soon as Mike Pelfrey emerged from the dugout for the ninth inning, the Shea Stadium crowd roared its approval.
The big righthander 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, last night.
"Any time 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 - any time 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. Any time 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 8 of 9 and 11 of 14. They remained 1 1/2 games ahead of Philadelphia, who defeated the Nationals, 4-0.
"It's great that we're in a little bit of a groove now, but we can't get ahead of ourselves," catcher Brian Schneider said.
"There's a lot of baseball left."
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 42d 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 righthander 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 fly out 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 a Mets starter went the distance on a three-hitter. Johan Santana shut out Pittsburgh Sunday.
New York starters are 7-0 with a 1.83 ERA in the last eight games.