Braves 3 Pirates 2 (55-46, 1st Place, 3.5 games ahead of Phillies and Marlins) Hits: This is how to play baseball: A swift come-from-behind victory capped by a ninth-inning rally followed by a 1-2-3 incursion between the Pirates' heart of the order and our closer, John Smoltz (who notched his 23rd save)! Nick Green was impressive, going 3-for-3 until a botched bunt attempt ruined his perfect day in the ninth. Johnny Estrada was also 2-for-4 and may have scored the tying run in the ninth if Derosa hadn't pinch run for him. Great pitching was the story today, though; John Thomson only allowed five hits, one walk, and one earned run (two runs) in six innings, striking out five batters. The Braves bullpen (Alfonseca, Cruz, and Smoltz with one inning apiece) pitched three innings and allowed only a hit. Misses: JD Drew's on-base streak ends at 39 games; he was 0-for-5. Rafael Furcal threw the ball away in the second to allow Chris Stynes to reach, but a double play followed to erase the baserunner. Furcal booted a ground ball in the third allowing Wilson to reach first, a wild pitch by John Thomson moved him to second, and a single by Rob Mackowiak scored Wilson when he should have been the third out of the inning. The Braves' error streak is up to six games! Wilson made up for it by throwing the ball away in the ninth, allowing Mark Derosa to reach third; he would score on the next play. Pinch hitting for Charles Thomas in the eighth, Andruw Jones fouled out and JD Drew flew out with the bases loaded to end the ninth. Line of the Day: Jose Mesa: 1 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 0 K, 2 R, 1 ER. The Pirates closer only allowed one run, but his shortstop contributed to another scoring in the ninth, allowing the Braves to sting the Pirates with another tough loss. Mesa isn't off the hook though: in a one-run game, the one earned run would still be enough to charge Mesa with a blown save, and the Braves still could have scored another run under different circumstances. NL East: The Marlins were 3.5 games behind the Braves in third place going into today's game against the Phillies, who were 2.5 games back. After a 10-1 trouncing, the Marlins climbed to a tie with the Phillies for second place; both teams are 52-50. Philadelphia has a tough series against the Cubs this weekend, while the Marlins should have an easier time with the Expos (although the Expos swept the Marlins just last weekend!). The Braves are headed back to Atlanta to host the Mets, who are 6.5 games back, for a quick three-game home stand before hitting the road again.