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Mets Top 2011 Loss Total

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By CHARLES ODUM
AP Sports Writer

ATLANTA (AP) _ Kris Medlen did his part to ensure Chipper Jones’
last regular-season home game was a win.

Then again, all of the Atlanta Braves have been winning a lot
with Medlen on the mound.

The Braves won for a major league record 23rd straight time in
games started by Medlen, beating the New York Mets 6-2 on Sunday as
a sellout crowd cheered Jones’ every move.

Medlen (10-1) gave up one unearned run and three hits in six
innings, adding to his momentum heading into the postseason. The
Braves have already clinched an NL wild-card spot and are on track
to host the one-game playoff, which Medlen would start.

“I think the best part about it is my name is in the history
books, but it’s a team thing,” Medlen said. “It’s a really cool
feeling. Like I said, we’re not done. I hope we keep going.”

According to STATS LLC research going back to 1921, only two
other teams won 22 straight starts by a pitcher: the New York
Giants with Carl Hubbell (1936-37) and the Yankees with Whitey Ford
(1950-53). Ford’s streak was interrupted by military service.

With Washington’s 10-4 loss to St. Louis, the Braves gained a
game in the NL East and trail the first-place Nationals by three
games. The Nationals have a magic number of one for clinching the
division. The Braves close the regular season with three games at
Pittsburgh.

The Mets (73-86) topped 2011′s loss total and ensured their most
losses since a 70-92 record in 2009.

Atlanta is 12-0 in Medlen’s starts this season after he moved to
the rotation on July 31. The team’s streak of 23 straight wins in
Medlen’s starts began in 2010.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he was thinking of the
postseason by limiting Medlen to six innings.

“If we were able to do that, get him the win, get the team the
win and keep him right where we wanted in terms of pitches and
innings, that was a good day,” Gonzalez said.

The Mets’ only run off Medlen was set up by first baseman
Freddie Freeman’s throwing error on Justin Turner’s grounder in the
third. The wild throw to Medlen, who was covering first base,
allowed Ruben Tejada, who singled, to score from second.

David Ross hit a three-run homer in the second off Jenrry Mejia
(1-2). Jones had a single and two walks and wouldn’t agree to come
out of the game early.

“I tried to pinch-hit for him, get a big ovation for him,”
Gonzalez said. “He said, `I want to finish this.’ That’s just the
way he is.”

Jones’ parents were in Atlanta for the series.

“To be honest with you, I saw us winning this game early and I
wanted to go give my mom and dad a hug after the game,” Jones
said. “If I had taken myself out of the game, I’d be in (the
clubhouse) watching fantasy football.”

The retiring 40-year-old slugger said he had “a lot of relief”
the weekend was over.

“I’m glad it’s over and we can go to Pittsburgh and finish out
the year and get ready for the next one back here when all the fun
is going to start,” Jones said.

Jones’ teammates stayed behind in the dugout as he ran onto the
field to a standing ovation to start the game. The Braves joined
the ovation, and even some New York players applauded him. Mets
third base coach Tim Teufel walked over and shook Jones’ hand, and
finally the Braves joined Jones on the field.

“It’s a well-deserved tribute,” Mets manager Terry Collins
said. “We all salute him in his career. He’s a great, great
player.”

Jones was immediately tested as he made a dive to his left to
make a stop on a grounder from Mets leadoff hitter Ruben Tejada.
The All-Star third baseman made a one-hop throw to first base from
his knees for the out. He made another diving stop on a sharply hit
grounder by Scott Hairston to end the inning.

Braves chanted “Let’s go, Chipper!” when he batted in the
second, and booed Mejia for walking him.

Jones’ first hit of his final regular-season home series came
with his third-inning single, ending a 0-for-13 drought that
included four walks. He tipped his helmet to the fans before his
at-bats in the first and seventh innings. With fans standing in the
seventh, Jones walked again.

Jones received another loud ovation when he took the field in
the ninth. Fans chanted “Thank you, Chipper” as the inning
started and then “Chipper! Chipper!” with two outs.

The Braves scored a run in the fifth on doubles by Michael Bourn
and Jason Heyward. Andrelton Simmons doubled in Dan Uggla in the
sixth off Collin McHugh and scored on Bourn’s single.

Mejia gave up four runs on six hits in five innings.

“I thought he threw the ball good today,” Collins said. “He
made a real bad throw to Ross, right down the middle. But his
two-seamer was the best one I’ve seen him have.”

The Mets scored one run off Cory Gearrin in the ninth on a
double by Ike Davis, a walk to Lucas Duda and a single by Andres
Torres.

Closer Craig Kimbrel recorded the final out on a grounder by
Fred Lewis for his 42nd save.

Bourn was a late addition to Atlanta’s lineup after missing six
games with a sprained left thumb.

Medlen lined a foul ball into the Mets’ dugout in the fourth,
hitting catcher Josh Thole. Thole’s right ear was red and swollen
but he said he passed a concussion test.

“I just saw the doctor and there’s no issue, other than this
big ear I have,” Thole said.

“It got me more on the cartilage of my ear, I think. That’s
what saved me. It definitely could have been worse.”

NOTES: The sellout crowd of 50,635 raised the Braves’ attendance
for the season at 2,420,171, a slight increase from their 2011
total. … Following Collins’ lead, the Mets had a theme dress day,
with all the players and coaches wearing football jerseys _ NFL or
college _ to the park. The team had a similar hockey jersey day
earlier in the season. … Mets rookie RHP Jeurys Familia will make
his first career start Monday against Florida’s Josh Johnson.
Familia has an 8.64 ERA in seven games in relief. R.A. Dickey is
scheduled to start on Tuesday. … LHP Paul Maholm will face
Pirates LHP Jeff Locke on Monday night in Pittsburgh.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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