Jurrjens pitches Braves to 3-1 victory over Mets

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NEW YORK (AP)—Puffing away on a cigar, Braves manager Bobby Cox eased back in a chair with one leg resting on his desk. He peered up at the television to watch an out-of-town game with postseason implications, San Francisco at Arizona.

“We’re doing everything we can. We need somebody else to lose once in a while,” Cox said.

Jair Jurrjens(notes) dominated a feeble New York Mets lineup again and Yunel Escobar(notes) hit a two-run single, sending Atlanta to a 3-1 victory Tuesday night.

Cox and the surging Braves kept up their late playoff charge, though their chances for a spot are slim. Atlanta moved into a tie with the Giants, five games behind Colorado for the NL wild card.

“I would have been pretty down going into the offseason if we had just folded up the tent and quit,” Chipper Jones(notes) said. “We’ve started playing well at crunch time, the most important part of the season. We’re giving ourselves an opportunity.”

Atlanta, which has won six straight road games and 10 of 12 overall, lost All-Star catcher Brian McCann(notes) to a bruised left wrist. X-rays were negative and he is day to day.

Escobar singled with two outs in the fourth off hard-luck loser Nelson Figueroa(notes) (2-7), who allowed only two hits while throwing a career-high 126 pitches in seven innings.

“It’s my fault for not finishing the deal. I got two out and didn’t get the third until it was too late,” Figueroa said. “The pitch count doesn’t matter. I’m not a young prospect. You go with the tempo of the game. It wouldn’t have mattered to me if I went out there for another inning.”

Escobar also doubled leading off the ninth against Francisco Rodriguez(notes) and scored on Adam LaRoche’s(notes) single to make it 3-1.

Braves setup man Peter Moylan(notes) worked a scoreless eighth and Rafael Soriano(notes) struck out three in a hitless ninth for his 25th save.

Moylan, making his 82nd appearance of the season, walked Luis Castillo(notes) with one out. Castillo advanced on David Wright’s(notes) groundout before Carlos Beltran(notes) flied out on a 3-0 pitch, preserving Atlanta’s one-run lead.

Jurrjens (13-10) escaped a jam in the seventh after Brian Schneider’s(notes) double put runners at second and third with one out. He retired pinch-hitter Fernando Tatis(notes) on a foul popup and pinch-hitter Cory Sullivan(notes) on a fly to center.

The 23-year-old right-hander lowered his ERA to 2.70, tossing seven innings of five-hit ball to beat Figueroa for the second time in six days. Jurrjens improved to 6-1 in eight career starts against the Mets, including 4-0 with a 1.60 ERA in five outings this year.

He won his third straight start and went at least seven innings for the sixth consecutive time. In his second full season, he reached 200 innings for the first time.

Jurrjens has yielded only two earned runs over his last three starts covering 22 innings.

“It’s really a shame he’s had some bad luck this year,” Jones said, “and suffered from a lack of run support. Or else he’d definitely be in the running for a Cy Young Award. It’s not a stretch to say that with a little luck this year he could have 18 wins right now.”

McCann was hit by a foul ball in the bottom of the third inning. Batting cleanup, he stepped to the plate with two on and nobody out in the fourth and dropped down a sacrifice bunt that advanced both runners.

“It was because I couldn’t swing,” McCann said.

Two batters later, Escobar put Atlanta ahead.

Wearing jerseys that read Los Mets on Hispanic Heritage Night, New York got an RBI single from Castillo in the third. With runners on second and third, Wright struck out on three pitches to end the inning.

Depleted by injuries, the punchless Mets have lost eight of 10. They’ve dropped seven straight to Atlanta.

“We lose seven straight to anybody, it stings,” manager Jerry Manuel said. “They have for the most part dominated us. You have to give them credit, but they have kept most of their players on the field for the most part.”

Beltran charged in for a pair of sliding catches in center field, an encouraging sign for the Mets. He missed 70 games with a bone bruise on his right knee before returning this month.

NOTES: McCann was replaced by David Ross(notes) in the fourth. … Figueroa has lost four consecutive starts since striking out a career-best 10 in a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 30 at Wrigley Field. … The Braves are 12-5 against New York this year. … Mets INF Alex Cora(notes), out for the season, had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb.

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