By RICK FREEMAN
AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Mets fans cheered the loudest for Chipper Jones
once he was out of their ballpark for good.
When he took the lineup card to home plate before his last game
in Queens, Jones got some scattered applause. When he pinch hit in
the ninth, he received cheers in full voice _ along with some boos,
Jones walked, and once a pinch runner came in to replace him,
the retiring 40-year-old star trotted back toward the Braves dugout
on the third base side and Mets fans stood and cheered.
Jones took off his batting helmet, raised it to the crowd, and
then was gone down the steps.
For that, and for his long career as a most worthy adversary,
Mets fans stood and applauded.
“Can’t say enough about the fans in New York this year. They’ve
been awfully supportive both in person, out on the field, on
Twitter,” Jones said. “I’m very appreciative to them for that.”
He and the Braves, of course, couldn’t leave town without
getting the better of the Mets one last time.
Brian McCann homered and drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th
inning to give Atlanta its fifth straight win, 3-2 Sunday for a
three-game sweep at Citi Field.
“Now that I’m scuffling a little bit, it’s important for
someone else to be stepping up,” Jones said.
Pinch runner Reed Johnson made it to third before Michael Bourn
struck out, flinging his bat and helmet in rage after the inning
Martin Prado led off the 10th with a single against Bobby
Parnell (4-4). After Jason Heyward grounded out, Freddie Freeman
was intentionally walked. Dan Uggla worked a walk before McCann hit
a sacrifice fly.
Peter Moylan pitched the bottom half for his first save of the
Craig Kimbrel (1-1), Atlanta’s usual closer, worked a scoreless
ninth for the NL wild-card leaders. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez
said he wanted Kimbrel to face the Mets’ mid-lineup power threats,
Ike Davis and Lucas Duda, in the ninth while it was tied.
“Today, it fell where the big boys were coming up,” Gonzalez
said. “It worked out.”
Davis led off with a single, but Kimbrel struck out Duda and
Kelly Shoppach before Andres Torres grounded out to end the threat.
The Mets took the lead on Davis’ RBI single in the fourth, but
Atlanta answered when Bourn singled home Jose Constanza in the
Mets starter Chris Young allowed five hits and four walks in six
innings, striking out seven. He is 0-4 in seven starts at Citi
Field this season.
McCann led off the sixth with his 20th home run for a 2-1 lead,
but Braves starter Tommy Hanson remained winless in five starts
since a victory over Miami on July 30. He’s 0-3 since then and has
only made it out of the sixth inning in one of those starts.
Hanson’s day ended when David Wright hit a double into the
left-field corner to tie it at 2 in the sixth. It started off with
more promise _ Hanson retired the first 10 batters he faced.
“I felt really good about this start today,” Hanson said. “We
came up here and took care of business.”
In the bottom of the eighth, the Mets threatened to take the
lead. But Braves reliever Eric O’Flaherty got Wright to ground out
on a full count with two outs in the bottom of the eighth and
runners on first and third.
That set up Jones’ moment, such that it was. Reliever Frank
Francisco walked him on four pitches.
“I didn’t want to pitch around him, but I didn’t want to leave
anything right there,” Francisco said. “He’s a great player. I
was trying to save the game.”
Jones noticed, too.
“I don’t think Francisco was going to let me get a real good
swing at one,” Jones said.
As much as he might have liked to have one last good whack at
the Mets, Jones was pleased enough with the actual results: Atlanta
goes to Milwaukee with a three-game sweep and having won seven of
its last eight.
And Jones has one more memory of a Mets ballpark. He hit the
first two homers of his career at the Mets’ old stadium, and his
eight-year-old son is named for it _ Shea.
“It was cool,” Jones said of his last at bat in Queens, nearly
20 years after his first one. “I heard a bunch of boos in there,
but for once the cheers outnumbered the boos.”
NOTES: Jones will get another chance to torment the Mets. The
Braves host them in a series later this month. … Wright is set to
visit a New York firehouse to remember Sept. 11 for the eighth year
in a row. On Monday, he plans to visit Squad 18 in Greenwich
Village, along with Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and
FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano. … Braves LHP Mike Minor is
set to go against RHP Wily Peralta on Monday in Milwaukee. … Mets
RHP Colin McHugh is scheduled to face Nationals LHP Gio Gonzalez on
Monday at Citi Field.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)