But they ran into Chris Capuano.
The left-hander for the New York Mets baffled the Atlanta attack, tossing a two-hit shutout with a career-high 13 strikeouts. It was Capuano's third career shutout and first since 2006.
Capuano struck out 13 without issuing a walk, becoming the first Mets pitcher since David Cone in 1991 to strike out that many without a walk. Capuano is only the sixth pitcher in franchise history to do it.
Using the Bill James Game Score metric (found in every ESPN.com box score), Capuano's 96 score was MLB's best this season.
13+ Strikeouts, 0 BB in Single Game
Mets Franchise History
Capuano was dominant in putting hitters away with two strikes. He worked mostly out of the strike zone do it, inducing Braves hitters to chase. Nine of his 13 strikeouts came on pitches out of the zone. Overall, he took 18 hitters to a two-strike count and retired all 18. Capuano is the first pitcher this season to retire at least 18 hitters without allowing a baserunner when the count reached two strikes.
No major league pitcher had thrown a shutout, in which he struck out at least 13 and allowed two baserunners or fewer since Erik Bedard for the 2007 Orioles. No NL pitcher had done it since Randy Johnson threw a 13-strikeout perfect game against the Braves and Jason Schmidt threw a one-hit, 13-strikeout shutout against the Giants on the same day, May 18, 2004.
The fact that the Braves were stifled by the left-handed Capuano is not shocking. With the loss, the Braves are now 17-22 when a lefty starts, compared to 62-32 vs righties.
Elsewhere around the majors:
• Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz recorded 6 RBI in an 11-7 win over the Los Angeles Angels to increase their AL West lead to three games. It was Cruz's third game this season with 6+ RBI. The last player to have three games with 6+ RBI in a season was Gary Sheffield in 2005.
• With his first-inning home run, Carlos Gonzalez now has an RBI in 10 consecutive games. That is the longest streak in the majors this season, and ties the Colorado Rockies' team record set by Vinny Castilla in 2004.
• Tampa Bay Rays starter James Shields went the distance for his MLB-leading 10th complete game this season, striking out 12 in the win. Shields joins CC Sabathia (2008) as the only pitchers since 2000 to record 10 complete games in a season.