"It's a big relief,'' Jones said. "It had been weighing on me the closer and closer I got. When you think about what kind of company it puts me in, it's special. I'm extremely happy.''
John Smoltz earned his 55th save and Vinny Castilla hit a two-run homer for the Braves, who found out shortly after taking the field that they would open the playoffs against San Francisco on Wednesday at Turner Field.
The Giants clinched the NL wild card by beating Houston 5-2
"They're really a great team,'' Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "They have great starting pitching, a great bullpen and Barry Bonds. It doesn't take much more than that.''
Glavine was limited to two innings to make sure he would be fresh for the playoff opener after only three days' rest. He gave up one run and three hits in two innings of the 44-pitch outing.
"I just wanted to stay comfortable and not overextend myself,'' Glavine said. "Three days' rest is not a big deal but you don't want to do it after you struggle and battle. I didn't do that today so I'm right where I want to be.''
What the Mets hoped was supposed to be a thrilling late-season
game between division rivals looked more like a spring training
The Mets, who clinched their first last-place season in nine years on Friday, lost their sixth straight game.
Al Leiter (13-13) allowed five runs and nine hits in four innings to set a career worst for losses in a season. He was winless in his final seven starts at home since July 16.
"The last couple of weeks guys have been getting their stuff and thinking about the offseason and travel plans,'' Leiter said. "It's difficult to eliminate those external distractions.''
Trey Hodges (2-0) pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings for the win.
Smoltz, who set the NL record for saves on Friday, got three outs
to move two behind Bobby Thigpen's major league record of 57 for
the White Sox in 1990. With only one game left, Smoltz will not be
able to tie the record.
The Braves, who were shut out by Leiter earlier this month, broke through in the first inning when Lopez walked with the bases loaded.
Mo Vaughn's RBI double in the bottom half tied it before the Braves scored four runs in the third, including Castilla's homer -- his third since June 11 and 12th of the season.
"I would like to have seen him finish better,'' Mets manager Bobby Valentine said of Leiter. "He was feeling good. He had some pitches in the middle of the plate and they hit them.''
Chipper Jones had an RBI single in the inning to become the fifth NL player to reach 100 in seven straight years. He joined Mel Ott, Willie Mays and Sammy Sosa (eight times each) and Gil Hodges (seven).
Sheffield ran aggressively on the play to score from second when
left fielder Roger Cedeno's throw was off-line.
Jones struck out in the first inning after a double steal by
Furcal and Sheffield put runners on second and third with one out.
"I told him before the game that whatever I had to do to get on base I would,'' Sheffield said. "I wanted to score that run for him.''
Mets fans, who were called "stupid'' by shortstop Rey Ordonez in quotes published in Saturday's New York Post, were chanting "Bobby's got to go! Bobby's got to go!'' late in the game in a message to Valentine.
Leiter had 12 losses in 1999 and 1996. ... LHP Andrew Pratt allowed four walks and one run in 1 1/3 innings of his major league debut for the Braves. ... Atlanta has won 49 straight games Smoltz has pitched in -- the longest streak since Oakland won 52 straight games that Dennis Eckersley appeared in 1992.
Rockies play the Padres in series rubber match
San Diego Padres (84-68, second in the NL West) vs. Colorado Rockies (65-87, fifth in the NL West)
White Sox bring 5-game losing streak into matchup against the Tigers
Detroit Tigers (58-92, fifth in the AL Central) vs. Chicago White Sox (76-76, second in the AL Central)
Cubs face the Pirates leading series 2-1
Chicago Cubs (66-86, third in the NL Central) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (56-96, fifth in the NL Central)
Orioles meet the Astros with 2-1 series lead
Houston Astros (100-53, first in the AL West) vs. Baltimore Orioles (79-72, fourth in the AL East)
Athletics and Mets play, winner takes 3-game series
New York Mets (96-57, first in the NL East) vs. Oakland Athletics (56-96, fifth in the AL West)
Rays face the Blue Jays leading series 2-1
Toronto Blue Jays (85-67, second in the AL East) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (84-68, third in the AL East)