AP Sports Writer

ATLANTA (AP) _ David Wright wasn’t ready to credit the Mets’ 20
hits, including his two homers and five RBIs, to what he called a
“little rant” from manager Terry Collins.

Powered by Wright’s big game, the New York Mets played as if
they were responding to their manager’s words as they beat Derek
Lowe and the Braves 12-2 on Friday night.

“Terry’s good but I think it’s more coincidence than
anything,” Wright said. “I give him a lot of credit, but I’m not
quite ready to give him credit for 20 hits.

“But it was good, obviously, that we come out and play good
after his little rant.”

A 10-1 loss to Washington on Thursday stretched the Mets’ losing
streak to six games and ended a 1-8 homestand. After the game,
Collins said “The perception I have right now: We folded it up.
And I won’t stand for that.”

On Friday, Collins said he believed his team’s problem was
execution, not effort.

“I hope it got across,” Collins said of his criticism. “I
don’t want to take anything away from how hard we’ve played all
year long, but the last couple days, I just didn’t think that we
had gotten ourselves ready.

“Tonight was a beautiful night.”

Atlanta’s lead over St. Louis in the NL wild-card race was cut
to 3 1/2 games.

Lowe (9-15) gave up nine hits and six runs in only 2 1-3 innings
while losing his third straight start. He had his shortest outing
since also lasting 2 1-3 innings on June 14, 2009, at Baltimore.
His ERA rose to 4.94.

“This has been a long year,” Lowe said. “I mean, this is
probably my worst year I’ve ever had. Right now you obviously feel
discouraged and frustrated and all those things, but next time
around you’ve got to find a way to figure it out because this is
just bad pitching for too long.”

The Mets regrouped after falling a season-high eight games below

“We try to go in with the mindset of having each other’s
back,” Wright said. “Terry’s had ours, so it would be nice to not
only finish up strong for ourselves but finish up strong for him
and get him the credit he probably deserves for holding this
together during the year.”

Chris Capuano (11-12) gave up two runs on six hits in five
innings to earn his second win in three weeks against the Braves.
He pitched a two-hit shutout in a 6-0 win over the Braves in New
York on Aug. 26.

“We didn’t need any extra incentive,” Capuano said, referring
to Collins’ words. “We all know what’s going on. We’re all proud

Lowe gave up a two-run homer to Wright and a two-run single to
Ruben Tejada in the first inning. He left after giving up Jose
Thole’s two-run single for New York’s fourth hit of the third

Rookie Julio Teheran gave up Wright’s three-run homer and Nick
Evans’ run-scoring single in the fourth.

Lucas Duda had four hits for New York. Wright, Evans, Jose Reyes
and Thole had three hits apiece.

“The way we’ve been swinging the bats, if we can score more
than one it’s a good night for us,” Wright said. “Hopefully, this
is the start of something.”

Martin Prado hit a homer in the second off Capuano. Michael
Bourn tripled and scored on Chipper Jones’ fly ball in the first.

Capuano pitched out of a fifth-inning jam after pinch-hitter
Antoan Richardson singled and moved to third on Bourn’s single.
Following a visit from pitching coach Dan Warthen, Capuano struck
out Jones, Freddie Freeman and Dan Uggla.

There were two strong defensive plays.

Mets left fielder Jason Bay reached over the wall to take a home
run away from Alex Gonzalez to end the fourth. Bay fell to the
warning track before taking the ball out of his glove to show he
made the catch.

Alex Gonzalez returned the favor in the seventh when he went
deep into the hole at shortstop to field a grounder from Bay.
Gonzalez, still running toward third, turned and made a leaping
throw that barely beat Bay to first base.

Notes: Bay was 0 for 17 in his career against Lowe before his
single in the third. He walked in the first. … Prado’s homer was
his first since Aug. 9. … Lowe’s 15th loss matched his career
high set with the Dodgers in 2005. … RHP Tim Hudson, who leads
the Braves with 14 wins, will face R.A. Dickey on Saturday. Dickey
is 1-3 with a 4.54 ERA in nine career games, including six starts,
against Atlanta. His one win came on June 5 in New York. …
Collins announced Capuano’s next start will come Thursday at St.
Louis, instead of Wednesday, as had been planned. RHP Chris
Schwinden will start against the Cardinals on Wednesday.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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