Atlanta Braves right fielder Joe Mather (4) catches hail stones...

Atlanta Braves right fielder Joe Mather (4) catches hail stones in his hat during a brief rain delay before a baseball game against the New York Mets. (June 15, 2011) Credit: AP

ATLANTA -- The umpiring crew for Wednesday night's game at Turner Field was expected to give the playing surface additional scrutiny after the Mets complained to the commissioner's office about the unnaturally wet conditions during the previous night's 4-3 win over the Braves.

So what happened? It rained.

Leave it to Mother Nature to put to rest any conspiracy theories left over from Tuesday, when Jose Reyes slipped on three separate occasions -- due to suspicious circumstances. Reyes stumbled diving back on a pickoff attempt, wiped out rounding first on a base hit and later got bogged down trying to charge a grounder at short.

Terry Collins acknowledged that the Mets had sent an email complaint, but did not rip the Braves for the field's condition. He chalked it up to another example of baseball's gamesmanship in tailoring the surface to a team's strengths.

"It was wet," Collins said. "Jose slipped three times. It was too wet. We did what we're supposed to. We sent something which said the field was overly wet and I don't know what they are going to do."

What the Braves did before Wednesday's game was deny any efforts to sabotage Reyes, which was pretty much the anticipated response. Plus, the soggy field did little to slow Reyes, who still went 3-for-5 with two stolen bases and scored two runs. Next time, the Braves may have to dig a moat.

"There was absolutely no gamesmanship involved," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Reyes believed there was something funny about the infield dirt, however, and considered changing his cleats for Wednesday night's game. That was probably a good idea. Reyes refuses to wear metal spikes after severely spraining his ankle in 2003, the result of a spike getting caught as he slid into second base attempting to break up a double play.

But plastic cleats have drawbacks as well. Reyes held up one of his month-old shoes to show how a few of the cleats had been ground to a nub, and wouldn't be much use in especially soggy conditions.

Even a few of his teammates suggested switching to new shoes. But as Reyes noted, they worked just fine in Pittsburgh, and Tuesday was the first time all season that he had trouble gaining traction.

"I've never had any problems with them before," Reyes said.

It should be mentioned that Reyes was the only member of either team that had difficulty staying on his feet Tuesday, so his choice of footwear probably didn't help. As for the Braves trying to gain an edge, Collins didn't seem to have a problem with it. Most visiting teams come to expect such behavior.

"Did any of you see the dirt in front of home plate in Pittsburgh?" Collins said. "It was this thick. Why? Because they've got four sinkerballers going. They chew it up in front of home plate. If they were high-fastball hitters and they had blazing speed, that sucker would have been as hard as this desk.

"You alter the field according to your team. [The Braves] do not steal bases -- they are not a big base-stealing team. They are a fly ball-hitting team, not a ground ball-hitting team, so the field was overly wet."

In finishing that thought, Collins said he'd like to move the fences back at Citi Field every time Marlins slugger Mike Stanton comes by -- as if that park needs to be much bigger. But as far as Reyes is concerned, Collins actually would rather have the field more on the soft side because a harder surface can be more hazardous. And his speedy shortstop was not overly worried about it anyway.

"I don't care," Reyes said. "If I get on base, I'm going to try to steal anyway."