Atlanta Braves defeat New York Mets, 3-2

On a night when the Mets finally got back a key player from a long-term injury, there still couldn't have been a more fitting way for them to head into their ho-hum series beginning tonight against the first-place Phillies.

Yes, with another loss.

The injury-riddled Mets long ago ceded the NL East race. And despite Billy Wagner's first mound appearance in more than a year, they lost for the 14thtime in 21 games, 3-2, Thursday night to Atlanta at Citi Field.


Claimed on waivers earlier this month and pulled back by the Mets, Gary Sheffield is unhappy that he "essentially is being held hostage" from moving on to a contender for the remainder of this season, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke last night on the condition of anonymity.

Another source added that Sheffield, who was scratched from the Mets' lineup for Thursday night's game before striking out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning of the 3-...