When Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez sent Chipper Jones up in the ninth inning as a pinch-hitter in a tie game, it would have been understandable if Mets fans started to clear out of Citi Field.
Given Jones' history of beating up on the Mets, they had to know what was coming next.
Fresh off a stint on the disabled list, the perennial Met killer singled through the right side off of Bobby Parnell (3-4) to drive in Alex Gonzalez and break a 5-5 tie. The Mets went down quietly in the bottom of the ninth, putting the finishing touches on their sixth defeat in seven games.
The loss was tough for the home team to swallow on many levels. It dropped them nine games behind Atlanta in the NL wild card race. It put them a game under .500 and came after they battled back from a 5-2 deficit while dealing with the loss of both Jose Reyes and Daniel Murphy to injury.
"Obviously it wasn’t our day. We have a little black cloud over us right now," Parnell said.
And, of course, it had to hurt more because Jones knocked in the game-winning run.
The 17-year-veteran is a .318 lifetime hitter against the Mets.
Surprisingly, the last time Jones had a go-ahead hit against New York in the ninth inning or later came on May 9, 1995 when he hit his first career homer to snap a 2-2 tie in the ninth.
On Sunday, he gave the Braves a series win in their three-game set at Citi Field, a series viewed by many as the Mets' last chance to get in the wild card race.
Afterward, Terry Collins insisted his team, whose past five losses have come in the opponents' last at-bat, will not quit.
"Nobody feels sorry for you, therefore you can't feel sorry for yourselves," Collins said. "The minute you do feel sorry for yourself is when you stop the focus. We're not going to stop the focus. We’re not going to throw our hands up."