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Braves' Freeman beats Mets with walk-off homer

The SportsXchange

ATLANTA -- Freddie Freeman has become known around the Atlanta Braves' dugout for his celebratory hugs. On Monday night, the big first baseman was on the receiving end of the embraces.

Freeman launched a two-run homer with one out in the ninth inning, lifting the Atlanta Braves to a 2-1 win over the New York Mets. It was the third consecutive game-winning hit by Freeman, two of them walk-offs.

Freeman hit a 2-2 pitch from Dillon Gee well into the right field bleachers for his seventh homer of the season. He had three of Atlanta's five hits on the night, including the second game-ending homer of his career.

"He left a cutter out over the plate," Freeman said of Gee's final pitch. "I didn't know if it was going to stay fair. I was just trying to keep (the rally) going."

The Braves earned their National League-best 21st come-from-behind win of the season. Atlanta has won three straight and leads the NL East by 7 1/2 games over the second-place Washington Nationals.

"Good for us we had Freeman for our last at-bat," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Mets manager Terry Collins said, "Obviously he's their big guy because he's been swinging so good."

Freeman has a five-game hitting streak and is 5-for-12 on the current homestand. He has a team-leading 48 RBIs.

"He's awesome," Atlanta starter Tim Hudson said. "He's like a Little Leaguer out there. He's like a Little Leaguer that shaves."

Gee, who drove in the Mets' only run, was two outs away from his first career shutout. He was allowed to start the ninth inning even though New York closer Bobby Parnell was warming up in the bullpen.

"He pitched an outstanding game," Collins said. "He deserved to go out there. And if you send him out there, you've got to let him have a chance to finish it."

Gee (5-7) got Jason Heyward on a grounder to open the ninth, but Justin Upton reached on a single. Freeman then ended the game with the home run.

"Our best two swings were the last two," Gonzalez said. "He had us baffled."

David Carpenter (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his first win as a Brave.

The start of the game was delayed three hours and 43 minutes because of rain. Both clubs were determined to take every measure to complete the game since they're playing a day-night doubleheader Tuesday and the weather forecast is dicey. New York has already had six games postponed because of rain or snow.

"It was a crazy night," Hudson said. "People wondered why we started the game. It was a bad situation for both teams, but you had to go out and play it."

Hudson pitched seven innings of one-run ball. The Mets finally got to him for a run in his last inning. John Buck singled, and he took second base on Omar Quintanilla's grounder that produced the inning's second out. Gee's base hit to left knocked in Buck.

Lucas Duda went 4-for-4 for the Mets, who had seven hits. The four hits matched a career best for Duda.

"This was a tough game for us," Collins said. "We played very well and pitched very well."

NOTES: The approaching storm shortened the time the Braves were able to take batting practice and prevented the Mets from doing so, as the grounds crew covered the infield with the tarp. Team officials announced a 10:05 p.m. EDT start time, but that was changed when another front moved through and caused the field to be covered again. The first pitch didn't take place until 10:53 p.m. ... The Braves are expected to call up RHP Cory Rasmus for Tuesday's doubleheader, while the Mets might activate RHP Scott Atchison from the disabled list. A rule permits teams to add a 26th player to the roster for a doubleheader. Rasmus made two appearances with the Braves in an earlier call-up and allowed five runs and three homers in 3 2/3 innings. Atchison is 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA in 19 appearances with the Mets. He's been on a rehab assignment with Double-A Binghamton since going on the DL on May 13 due to finger numbness.
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