ATLANTA -- On the night the Braves honored future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones in an emotional pregame ceremony, the Mets flipped the script on their longtime nemesis. Jones' tribute night brought a sellout crowd of 51,910 fans to Turner Field -- the largest crowd of the season and seventh largest in stadium history.
With the Braves leading by a run in the seventh inning Friday night, Mets left fielder Lucas Duda turned on an 88-mph sinker from Tim Hudson and drove it into the right-field seats for a three-run home run. Duda's homer was enough to power the Mets to a 3-1 victory, spoiling Chipper Jones Day, as declared by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. The loss also snapped the Braves' five-game winning streak.
Hudson had cruised through the first six innings before running into trouble in the seventh. Daniel Murphy led off the inning with a double, the first extra-base hit Hudson allowed. David Wright followed with a sinking line drive to right field that appeared destined to fall in for a game-tying double until Jason Heyward dove, fully extending his 6-foot-5 frame to snare the ball for an out.
After an intentional walk, Hudson struck out Scott Hairston and got ahead 1-2 on Duda. He was unable to put Duda away, however, and the count went full. Duda fouled off one pitch before hitting the decisive home run.
Hudson allowed three runs on five hits in seven innings. Before Duda homered, Hudson was collecting plenty of ground-ball outs with his sinker. He got 10 ground-ball outs to go with his four strikeouts.
Hudson's outing might have been enough for a victory had the Braves been able to solve Mets starter Jon Niese. Niese allowed just one run, Freddie Freeman's towering solo home run to right field in the fourth inning. The Braves managed just four hits in seven innings off the left-hander. The Braves only had multiple baserunners in two innings, and Niese didn't allow anyone other than Freeman to advance past second base.
For perhaps the first time this season, Jones came up short on a big night. Expectations were high for Jones to deliver a dramatic moment after hitting two home runs on his bobblehead night and piling up walk-off home runs and being instrumental in so many of the Braves' most important victories this season. But after fielding a ground ball for the first out of the game, Jones grounded out four times himself.
-- Source: MLB.com
Chipper Jones went 0-for-4 in the game.
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt