By CHARLES ODUM
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) _ Lucas Duda’s three-run homer in the seventh gave
New York the lead, Jonathon Niese pitched seven strong innings for
his third straight win and the Mets beat Tim Hudson and the Braves
3-1 on Friday night.
The Braves, who have wrapped up at least a wild-card berth,
began the night four games behind the Nationals in the NL East.
Atlanta has only five games remaining in the regular season.
Chipper Jones, starting his final regular-season home series
before retirement, was 0-for-4 with four groundouts. Jones was
honored by the Braves in a pregame ceremony that included former
Atlanta manager Bobby Cox and Hall of Famer Hank Aaron. The tribute
helped draw a sellout crowd of 51,910.
Niese (13-9) allowed one run on four hits in seven innings for
his third straight win.
Freddie Freeman gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead with his 23rd homer off
Niese in the fourth.
Bobby Parnell pitched a perfect ninth for his sixth save.
Hudson (16-7) gave up only three hits in six scoreless innings
before Daniel Murphy led off the seventh with a double to left
field. Murphy advanced to third when Jason Heyward made a diving
catch on David Wright’s sinking liner in right field.
Following an intentional walk to Ike Davis, Hudson struck out
Scott Hairston before giving up Duda’s 15th homer on a 3-2 pitch.
Hudson allowed three runs on five hits and one walk in seven
The Mets loaded the bases with one out in the eighth against
Cristhian Martinez. Cory Gearrin ended the inning on Wright’s
grounder to Jones, who stepped on third base before throwing to
first for the double play.
In the pregame ceremony, Aaron gave Jones a third base with the
words “Chipper Jones 1993-2012.” The special bases with the
tribute to Jones were used in the game. The on-deck circles also
carried the logo, and Jones’ No. 10 was painted in the grass in
Braves players gave Jones a pool table. The team gave Jones and
his family a trip to Hawaii and a plaque made from Turner Field
bricks and shaped like home plate. Team president John Schuerholz
announced Jones’ clubhouse locker will be moved to Jones’ home.
New York’s Ruben Tejada hit the game’s first pitch to Jones, who
had a wide grin after making the pickup _ with a slight bobble _
and then throwing out the shortstop.
NOTES: The attendance was Atlanta’s largest of the season and
the seventh-biggest in Turner Field history. … Mets manager Terry
Collins said Parnell will serve as closer in the final week of the
season. Frank Francisco (elbow tendinitis) leads the team with 23
saves but has not pitched since Sept. 16. … Braves C Brian McCann
(sore right knee, sore right shoulder) was held out for the second
straight day. … Manager Fredi Gonzalez said CF Michael Bourn
(slightly sprained left thumb) could return Saturday or Sunday
after missing his fifth straight start. … The series continues on
Saturday night when Braves LHP Mike Minor (10-10) faces Mets RHP
Chris Young (4-8).
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)