MLB: Atlanta Braves Make Strong Statement with Sweep of Mets

Vinny HardyCorrespondent IJuly 16, 2012

It was just another day at the office for Sheets
It was just another day at the office for SheetsKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves officially made the NL East a two team race this weekend.  The Braves entered this series with a razor thin half game lead over the New York Mets.

After the dust settled on Sunday evening it had grown to three and a half games.  Atlanta has created some breathing room for themselves in second place and can now focus on chasing down the thorn in their side, otherwise known as the Washington Nationals.

After winning 7-5 on Friday and 8-7 in dramatic comeback fashion on Saturday, Sunday's pitching match up had a retro blast from the past feel about it: Johan Santana versus Ben Sheets.

No it wasn't the Brewers playing the Twins at Turner Field, but for the first five innings both men were pitching like they were still in their primes.

Santana blinked first.  A couple of borderline calls didn't go his way and the Braves made him pay.  An RBI double by Michael Bourn, a sac fly by Martin Prado and a RBI single by Jason Heyward made it 3-0.  

Freddie Freeman really blew things open with his three run homer to cap off a six run fifth inning.

Making his first start in the majors in two years, Ben Sheets didn't blinked.  He allowed only two hits and one walk in his six strong scoreless innings of work.  

It looked as if he'd never left and anticipation for his next start is already building.

The Braves have started the second half of the season the way they ended the first—sweeping a hated division rival.

They have a well deserved off day today before facing another team that's a razor thin half game behind them in the standings—the San Francisco Giants.

Hopefully they can keep things rolling.