ATLANTA (FAF) — The New York Mets continued to be mired in an endless morass  against their archrivals, the Braves, [day that game was played], losing [final score] at Turner Field.
Tom Glavine was
_ his usual effective self in pinning another defeat on the Mets.
_ beaten badly yet again by his old team.
X pitching pretty well until his old team finally got to him.
The Mets seemed to be catching a break in that they were facing
_ journeyman Andy Ashby,
_ a slumping Mike Hampton,
X Tim Hudson, unaccustomed to going on three days’ rest,
but were stymied nonetheless by a pitcher who rose to the occasion by throwing [number] strong innings in picking up the win.
New York had a big chance to get on the board in the [number] inning, but
_ was doomed by a questionable umpire’s call.
_ couldn’t cash in despite its manager’s use of several pinch-hitters and pinch-runners.
X left men on base when Cliff Floyd and Mike Piazza failed to deliver the key hit.
While the Braves’ starter certainly performed admirably, the visitors’ offense wasn’t helped by the continued hitting woes of the mysteriously slumping
_ Brian McRae.
_ Roberto Alomar.
X Doug Mientkiewicz.
The Mets’ frustration was best expressed by their skipper.
_ “I don’t really care what you thought,” said a testy Bobby Valentine. “They were the right moves when I made them and I’d make every one of them again tomorrow if they’re the right moves then.”
_ “My guys battled,” said a resigned Art Howe. “We’ll go out and try to get ’em tomorrow.”
X “If you are against a good pitcher like that, you have to take advantage of every opportunity you get,” said an increasingly exasperated Willie Randolph. “You’ve got to get on him early.”
Though the Mets are used to suffering at the hands of Atlanta stalwarts like Chipper Jones and Brian Jordan, the Braves who stuck the daggers in the Mets’ heart were little-used
_ Keith Lockhart and Eddie Perez.
_ Henry Blanco and Mark DeRosa.
X Wilson Betemit and Ryan Langerhans.
The loss leaves the Mets
_ gasping for air in their bid for the National League Wild Card.
_ all but eliminated in their late rush for a division title.
X suddenly five games behind the surging first-place Marlins.
In the series finale, the Mets will attempt to
_ break the Turner Field jinx that has haunted them for the first few years of the ballpark’s existence.
_ break the Turner Field curse that has conspired against them for the first half-dozen years that the ballpark’s been open for business.
X break the Turner Field hex that has been all too real to them for almost a decade since the ballpark began operations.