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Braves win it on Mets' error

THE Atlanta Braves took advantage of a Jose Reyes error to score four unearned runs in the seventh inning on the way to an 8-3 victory over the New York Mets on Monday.

The Mets (17-14), who saw their impressive winning streak end at seven, remain top of the National League East but their lead shrank to a half-game over Florida and one over Philadelphia.

Mets ace Johan Santana and Braves hurler Derek Lowe had been locked in a 1-1 duel going into the seventh inning when, with two outs, shortstop Reyes failed to handle a soft roller up the middle and Atlanta took advantage to take a 5-1 lead.

"Lack of runs is one thing, but basically you're kind of disappointed in the defense," Mets manager Jerry Manuel told reporters. "I think we're a better defensive club than what we showed tonight."

The Braves, who outhit New York 16-9, added another run in the eighth and two more in the ninth as Lowe improved to 5-1. Santana, who left in the seventh and was charged with two unearned runs in the game, dropped to 4-2.

The victory lifted the Braves to 16-16 for the season.

Elsewhere in the NL, it was: Giants 11, Nationals 7; and Reds 13, Diamondbacks 5.

In the day's only American League game, the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 9-4.

In New York, Atlanta also scored an unearned run in the first inning on a throwing error by third baseman David Wright.

The Mets tied it in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by catcher Omir Santos after singles by Fernando Tatis and Jeremy Reed.

Santana gave way to reliever Bobby Parnell with a man on first and one out in the seventh. A single by Yunel Escobar put men on first and second and with two outs left-hander Pedro Feliciano came in.

Brian McCann hit a dribbler past the mound that should have ended the inning but Reyes muffed it to load the bases. Diaz followed with a two-run single to left and Casey Kotchman singled two more runs home.

Santana gave up seven hits, walked one and struck out six.

"I don't think I had my best stuff tonight," the lefty said.

"At least I was able to pitch good enough to keep my team in the ballgame. They took advantage of mistakes."

It marked the second time this season that Santana has registered a defeat despite not allowing an earned run.

"That's baseball," he said. "You never know."

In Cleveland, Ohio, Carl Pavano won his third straight start as the Indians snapped a four-game losing streak.

Pavano (3-3) allowed four runs and 10 hits over 6 1/3 innings in his first appearance against the White Sox in nearly five years. The right-hander didn't issue a walk and struck out three.

Choo Shin-soo and Johnny Peralta drove in three runs apiece for Cleveland, which totaled 13 hits and scored three more runs than it did during its four-game slide.

Chicago lost for the seventh time in nine games as Gavin Floyd (2-3) gave up eight runs and 11 hits over five innings. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 9.73 ERA in four starts since April 19.

The last time Pavano faced Chicago, he pitched a three-hit shutout on June 16, 2004, for Florida on the way to an 18-8 record. He signed a four-year contract worth nearly US$40 million with the New York Yankees, but spent most of his time on the disabled list and had only nine wins before getting a one-year, US$1.5 million deal with Cleveland in January.


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