Grounds crews scramble to cover the field as rain pours...

Grounds crews scramble to cover the field as rain pours down to suspend play in the top of the sixth inning, Sunday. (April 25, 2010) Credit: Kathy Kmonicek

It will go down as a 1-0 win for Mike Pelfrey over the Braves, and a continuation of his scoreless-innings streak, now at 24 and counting.

That's the only good news, as far as Pelfrey's concerned.

The rain-shortened win, called one pitch into the sixth inning, was the Mets' fourth straight and sixth in the last seven games, and not needing to use an overtaxed bullpen was a big plus for Jerry Manuel's team.

But the details of the five-inning start for Pelfrey (4-0, 0.69 ERA) are irksome: He threw 106 pitches, walked five, gave up five hits and was saved by a few timely pitches and some very timely defense behind him.

"I can't say I was pleased with my outing," Pelfrey said. "My command wasn't great, and they did a good job of laying off a lot of pitches and making me work. I was obviously pretty lucky tonight."

The Mets manufactured their lone run in the first. Jose Reyes reached with two outs, stole second and came home courtesy of Jason Bay. Chipper Jones helped a bit, too.

Jones, who left Saturday's game with a hip injury, toughed it out and started last night. Bay pulled a hard grounder that Jones snared, but his throw short-hopped in front of first baseman Troy Glaus and bounced away. Reyes, who had rounded third, sprinted home to score an unearned run off Tommy Hanson (1-2).

"I had a handful of mud and the ball at the same time," Jones said.

Hanson had the better game of the two starters last night, striking out eight and allowing five singles in five innings.

Pelfrey, meanwhile, was getting in and out of trouble all night. It began quickly, with a walk to Jones, a double by McCann and a walk to Glaus to load the bases with two outs in the first. After Braves star rookie Jason Heyward fouled off three 3-and-2 pitches, Pelfrey got Heyward on a pop to Reyes at short.

That concluded a 32-pitch first inning for Pelfrey and likely had Manuel praying for some serious rain.

Pelfrey struck out Martin Prado to escape a two-on situation in the second; in the third, two more were on when Heyward bounced to Reyes for a 6-6-3 double play.

After a relatively quiet fourth - only Hanson got on with a single - Prado doubled and McCann walked to put two on with one out again. Jennry Mejia was warming in the Mets' bullpen as Pelfrey went over 100 pitches in less than five full innings.

But Pelfrey needed only one more pitch. Glaus chopped a ball to third that Wright neatly snared on a short hop. The 5-4-3 double play got the Mets out of one more jam.

As Bay popped out to end the fifth, the rain, which had held off for much of the game, came down in earnest. Raul Valdes came out and warmed up, with plate umpire Mike Estabrook watching the skies.

Valdes threw strike one to Heyward and lightning flashed across the sky, halting play, saving Manuel from needing 12 outs from his relievers.

"We deserve a break here and there," Manuel said.

Pelfrey has made his own breaks through this strong April, which now includes a save in a 20-inning game and wins in all four of his starts.

He cannot be credited with a complete game because of that one pitch Valdes threw. But given the way those five innings went, he will no doubt take the win.

"I battled, Mother Nature came,'' he said, "and that's it."

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