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Braves shut down by Mets 3-0
Braves 5 col bw
Atlanta Braves catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (18) waits as New York Mets' David Wright (5) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the fifth inning of a Major League Baseball game at Turner Field in Atlanta. The Braves lost 3-0. - photo by Associated Press

    ATLANTA — Oliver Perez pitched seven scoreless innings, David Wright hit his fourth homer in the last four games and the New York Mets beat the Atlanta Braves 3-0 on Wednesday night.

    The first-place Mets increased their lead over Atlanta in the NL East to 2 1/2 games.

    Perez (6-3) gave up only four hits and two walks in seven innings. He struck out five batters while winning his third straight start.

    Perez improved to 3-0 against the Braves this season, including two wins at Atlanta.

    Joe Smith pitched a perfect eighth and Billy Wagner pitched the ninth for his 11th save to complete the five-hitter.

    Wright hit fourth for the third time this season. Carlos Delgado, normally the cleanup hitter, hit sixth, the first time he’s hit that low in 10 years. Delgado, who began the night hitting .209, last hit as low as sixth on May 14, 1997, while with Toronto.

    Wright’s eighth homer — all in May — was a liner to left that gave the Mets a 3-0 lead in the fifth inning. Wright hit three homers in the last two games of a weekend series against the Yankees.

    Delgado had two hits.

    The Mets could win their sixth straight series by taking the third game of the series on Thursday.

    Braves manager Bobby Cox also had his slumping former cleanup hitter, Andruw Jones, hitting sixth for the third straight game.

    Cox gave Chris Woodward his first start of the year at first base and Martin Prado his second start at second base.

    Perez made the most of Cox’s effort to keep his backups sharp. Perez gave up first-inning singles to Edgar Renteria and Chipper Jones and then gave up only one more hit — a third-inning single by Braves starting pitcher Chuck James — in the next five innings. Jarrod Saltalamacchia led off the seventh with a single for Atlanta’s fourth hit off Perez. Woodward and pinch-hitter Kelly Johnson struck out looking and Prado popped out to Delgado at first base to end the inning.

    An error by Prado helped the Mets score their first run in the third. Prado couldn’t handle the throw from catcher Saltalamacchia at second on a double steal by Jose Reyes and Shawn Green. Prado’s fielding error allowed Reyes to score after stealing third.

    A bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Carlos Gomez in the fourth drove in Paul Lo Duca for a 2-0 lead.

    James (4-4) gave up seven hits and three runs, two earned, in 4 2-3 innings. He walked three batters and recorded two strikeouts.

Notes: Reyes leads the major leagues with 26 steals. ... Perez hit two batters with low inside pitches — Andruw Jones in the second inning and Jeff Francoeur in the third. ... Atlanta RHP Oscar Villarreal hit Lo Duca and Damion Easley with pitches in the eighth. ... Willie Harris, who walked as a pinch-hitter for Atlanta in the fifth, stole his fifth base in his 20th game.

    Smoltz vs Glavine for 200th win

    ATLANTA (AP) — John Smoltz says win No. 200 ‘‘is just a number,’’ but it will be one he remembers if the milestone comes Thursday against former longtime teammate Tom Glavine.

    Smoltz, 199-139 in his career with Atlanta, is 6-2 with a 2.85 ERA in 10 starts this season. Thursday’s start will be his third of the season against Glavine, now in his fifth season with the New York Mets.

    The Braves won both earlier games between Smoltz and Glavine on April 7 in Atlanta and April 22 at New York. Smoltz earned the win in the first game in Atlanta.

    ‘‘The only thing that does is give you a better memory,’’ said Smoltz Wednesday of the possibility of his 200th win coming against Glavine.

    ‘‘It’s just a number. I know if I think about it too much, I’ll get stuck. I don’t want to be stuck at any number for any reason. I don’t want to put too much emphasis on one particular game or one particular number.’’

    Smoltz earned his 199th win with seven shutout innings at Boston on Saturday. Smoltz said facing his friend for the third time in less than two months is not a problem.

    ‘‘I never get tired of it,’’ Smoltz said. ‘‘The way the schedule is, you’re going to face your divisional rivals so many times.’’

    Glavine said facing Smoltz provides an extra edge to a game.

    ‘‘It’s always different,’’ Glavine said. ‘‘There’s always a little more excitement around it.’’