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Braves sweep Mets in Jones' New York finale

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- The Mets survived Chipper Jones' final at-bat in Flushing, when he seemed poised to deliver one more torturous blow in the ninth, amid the rare sight of a standing ovation for him by New York fans. Instead he walked to remain hitless in his final series there, but the Atlanta Braves managed to push across a run without him in the 10th inning Sunday.

Brian McCann, who picked up Jones' mantle as a Mets killer the past two days, hit a bases-loaded drive to right that resulted in a sacrifice fly, giving Atlanta a 3-2 win and three-game sweep. It was the Braves' fifth consecutive win and moved them within 5 1/2 games of the Washington Nationals in the NL East. Atlanta holds a 5 1/2-game lead on the St. Louis Cardinals for the top NL wild-card spot.

"We get hot at the right time," McCann said after also hitting his second home run in as many days. "This is gonna be a scary team."

Jones, who went 0-for-7 in his final series in Flushing, savored the odd reaction.

"That was cool. Heard a bunch of boos in there, a smattering, but for once the cheers outnumbered the boos," Jones said of his final at-bat. "Just came up in a situation where I think (Frank) Francisco wasn't going to let me get a real good swing at one, so, but I'm happy for the team. Good way to get out of here for the last time, win three straight, pitched really well and I'm glad we could squeak out a sweep."

In the 10th, Martin Prado singled and Bobby Parnell (4-4) walked a pair of batters before McCann brought home the winning run.

The Mets got the tying run to third in the bottom of the inning but could not score. Peter Moylan gave up a leadoff single to Jordany Valdespin and watched him move to second on a bunt by Ruben Tejada. Moylan struck out Scott Hairston for the second out as Valdespin stole third, and Daniel Murphy walked to bring up David Wright.

Wright flied out to right to end the game, giving Moylan his first save of the season, after manager Fredi Gonzalez went to closer Craig Kimbrel (1-1) with the score tied in the ninth.

"Well, it worked out," Jones said of his manager going to his closer early. "Unconventional, but we had gotten him up, gotten him loose. Showing a little confidence in the depth of our bullpen."

The defeat was the Mets' third in a row, and manager Terry Collins said he was going to try something different in the pregame routine Monday to shake things up.

But, like their fans, the Mets spent plenty of time acknowledging Jones' career.

"I think the numbers speak for themselves," Wright said, adding that while Jones has "killed" the Mets on the field, the New York third baseman has always appreciated the Braves third baseman off the field. "(The ovation) was nice, it was nice. I think as much as the fans like to get on him over the years, they respect his body of work."

The Mets had a chance in the bottom of the ninth against Kimbrel, as Ike Davis led off the inning with a single and pinch runner Jason Bay stole second with two outs. But Kimbrel got Andres Torres on a grounder to end the inning.

Set to retire after the season, Jones was unable to start his final game at Citi Field due to his recurring left knee issue, as Gonzalez wanted to be cautious.

Instead, Jones came up as a pinch hitter with one out in the top of the ninth, the score tied, and a career's worth of painful memories reminding Mets fans they could soon watch him beat their team one more time. But they embraced the man who created the torment.

And the man who had so much success at the Mets' old ballpark that he named his son Shea did not hit one more torturous shot. Instead, he walked on four pitches.

Francisco acknowledged he wasn't going to give Jones too much of a chance to beat him, saying, "I'm not scared, but I just got respect for him, and I was trying to protect the ballgame."

So Jones took his base, and then exited for a pinch runner, tipping his helmet as he got one more ovation.

"Can't say enough about the fans in New York this year," said Jones, who said before the game he wished he could have started but understood why Gonzalez sat him. "They've been awfully supportive."

Francisco sent pinch runner Reed Johnson to second base on a wild pitch and watched him move to third on a grounder for the second out. But Francisco struck out Michael Bourn to end a 10-pitch at-bat and escape the threat.

Braves starter Tommy Hanson limited the Mets to two runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Chris Young matched Hanson, allowing two runs on five hits in six innings.

Atlanta took a 2-1 lead in the sixth on McCann's solo homer to right to lead off the inning, his 20th home run of the season. The Mets scored their two runs on two-out hits by Davis and Wright in the fourth and sixth, with both following doubles by Murphy.

NOTES: Torres returned to the lineup Sunday after missing most of the past two games with a bruised left knee. ... Right-hander Jenrry Mejia will get a start Sept. 19, Collins announced in his pregame press briefing, with right-hander Matt Harvey getting bumped up to the previous day, in place of Collin McHugh. ... After reaching base in all five plate appearances Saturday and going 5-for-7 in the first two games of the series, Atlanta second baseman Dan Uggla doubled in his first at-bat Sunday and drew a walk in the game-winning rally in the 10th.

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