Season slips away with greatest of E's

ATLANTA -- E-6. E-3. E-5.

End of the season. For all intents and purposes.

Officially, the tragic number for the New York Mets to be eliminated from the National League East race stands at 49 games. Anyone tuning into Wednesday's 8-3 debacle against the Atlanta Braves can tell you where to put your mathematics.

Right-hander Mike Pelfrey allowed a first-inning run for the 10th time in his past 11 starts and was knocked out in the fifth inning, and Jose Reyes, Ike Davis and David Wright committed errors in a woeful sixth inning as the Mets lost the rubber game of a three-game series at Turner Field. Reyes actually had two errors during the disappointing game, in what's a self-professed make-or-break week for the team. The Mets dropped 7½ games behind the division-leading Braves heading into an off day and then a weekend series in Philadelphia.

"We've lost up seven games with 17, 18 to play," Wright said, alluding to the team's 2007 collapse. "So by no means are we out of it. At the same time, we've got to get hot and go on some streaks."

With the Mets trailing 5-2 in the sixth and Davis and Josh Thole having received consecutive two-out walks, Braves manager Bobby Cox summoned right-hander Peter Moylan to face Jeff Francoeur, the hero of Tuesday's game with a ninth-inning homer. Francoeur flied out, and the Mets subsequently melted down.

The following half-inning, Reyes committed his second throwing error of the game. Davis had the next error when a ground ball went off the heel of his glove, allowing the Braves to load the bases with one out and bringing Mets-killer Chipper Jones to the plate.

Jones already had homered for the second time in the series, giving him 44 homers against the Mets during his career, two more than Pat Burrell for the most by an active player. Still, left-hander Hisanori Takahashi, who had replaced Pelfrey, appeared as though he would wiggle out of the jam. Takahashi got Jones to send a potential double-play grounder to Wright at third base.

No such luck. Wright, dropping to a sidearm angle, threw wide of Luis Castillo at second base. Two runs scored. Braves 7, Mets 2.

The Mets committed their most miscues since a five-error game at Dodger Stadium on May 18, 2009. That was the game in which Ryan Church missed third base in the top of the 11th inning and Jeremy Reed, miscast as a first baseman, misfired on a throw to the plate the following half-inning for the walk-off loss.

The Mets last committed three errors in an inning on June 26, 2009, against the Yankees, when Nick Evans, Alex Cora and Wright all had second-inning gaffes.

"We didn't really do anything right," said Wright, who was hitless in the series. "It wasn't just the fact that we threw the ball around. Our pitchers got hit around. Offensively we didn't do anything."

Said manager Jerry Manuel: "I was a little shocked that we played this way defensively because I feel very good about us as a defensive club. I feel that we can catch the ball. ... David, it seems like he's had some issues here. When he's played here, he's made some [errant] throws. He didn't obviously swing the bat very well here. It kind of surprised me defensively that we played in this manner."

There was no public resignation about the season being over heading into a weekend series in Philly, even if rationally you wonder how the Mets could be playing come October.

"The good thing is that we've got a day off," Manuel said. "I think it will refresh everybody. You're going to face some more tough pitching. We're just going to have to grind out at-bats."

Said Reyes: "Every game from now on is going to be important -- not just in Philly."

Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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