The Atlanta Braves finally might have a challenger to their reign of dominance in the NL East.
Rick Reed shut down the Braves over 6 1/3 innings and had an RBI single as the New York Mets closed within two games of Atlanta in the NL East with a 10-2 rout last night. The Mets broke an eight-game losing streak at Atlanta's Turner Field, dating from September 1997.
"They outplayed us. They outpitched us," said Brian Jordan, who provided about the only Braves highlight with his 15th homer. "They're a good team."
The start of the game was delayed 45 minutes when a problem in the electrical system knocked out a section of field lights. When the lights came back on, New York won for the 15th time in 18 games to keep the pressure on Atlanta, which has won four straight NL East titles by an average margin of 14 games.
The Braves have won seven of 10, but lost two games to the Mets during that span.
"I don't think we're here to send a message," said Reed (6-3), who left the game because of a cramp in his right biceps. "It's just another series, just another team coming in. If it was late September, it might mean something. We might be whooping and hollering in here."
Atlanta pitchers recorded 13 strikeouts -- including a career-high nine by rookie Odalis Perez -- but gave up 13 hits and 10 walks.
REDS 10, ASTROS 7: In Houston, Michael Tucker homered, tripled and drove in four runs to lead Cincinnati to its fifth straight victory.
Tucker, celebrating his 28th birthday, went 3 for 4 and scored three times as the Reds closed within two games of the first-place Astros in the NL Central. Houston has lost three in a row and five of six.
PHILLIES 3, CUBS 2: Philadelphia's Chad Ogea found his favorite place to pitch. In his first appearance at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Ogea allowed one run in eight innings and Mike Lieberthal hit a two-run homer.
"This is the best ballpark in America. I love this place -- and not just because of today," Ogea said. "This place reminds you of how baseball should be, of how it was growing up. So far, it's my favorite place."
Lieberthal homered in the fourth as the Phillies handed the Cubs their 12th loss in 15 games.
Ogea (4-6) snapped a three-game losing streak. The right-hander held the Cubs to three hits and four walks over eight innings. It was the first time Ogea has pitched beyond the seventh in 16 starts this season.
EXPOS 4, MARLINS 3: Carl Pavano gave up five hits over eight innings and Chris Widger drove in two runs as Montreal handed Florida its 10th straight loss. The attendance was 6,630, dropping Montreal's major league-low average to 8,938 in 38 games at Olympic Stadium.
PIRATES 5, BREWERS 3: In Milwaukee, Jason Kendall had two hits and stole his 20th base. He is the fourth catcher to steal 20 bases in two seasons.
PADRES 10, ROCKIES 1: Brian Boehringer (4-1) pitched seven shutout innings in his longest career start as San Diego beat visiting Colorado for its seventh straight victory.
DODGERS 4, GIANTS 2: In San Francisco, Kevin Brown (9-4) had another strong outing, giving up two runs and five hits over 7 1/3 innings to lead Los Angeles.
CAPTION: It's a wrap for the Phillies as catcher Mike Lieberthal congratulates Wayne Gomes for getting final out in win over the Cubs. Lieberthal also homered.