Another big series out of Jason Heyward could certainly help the Braves maintain their playoff spot.

Braves Are In Queens To Play Three Against Mets

The Braves need to take advantage of the weaker teams they play from here on out, so beating the Mets in this series is a must.

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Braves Beat Mets, 4-2

Flushing, NY (Sports Network) – Nate McLouth opened the scoring with an RBI double and homered in the ninth for insurance in Atlanta’s 4-2 win over the Mets at Citi Field.

Alex Gonzalez added a two-run double between McLouth’s contributions to help back the efforts of Tim Hudson (16-8), who got back on track after an ugly three-start losing streak.

Hudson struck out seven and walked one in seven innings, scattered six hits and gave up two runs. Jonny Venters bridged the gap to the ninth for Billy Wagner, who locked down his 35th save.

The Braves have taken the first two in this weekend series to open a critical nine-game road trip that includes three games versus the NL East-leading Phillies. The margin in the division shrank to 2 1/2 games, with Philadelphia set to take on Washington later Saturday.

Atlanta still leads the wild card, and its advantage remained at 1 1/2 games over the Padres with their win against St. Louis.

New York’s Dillon Gee (1-1) received his first big-league loss despite pitching well over seven innings. The rookie right-hander was touched for six hits and three runs as the Mets fell to 5-4 on a 10-game homestand.

McLouth doubled to right-center in the second inning, scoring Derrek Lee, who had reached on a single, but Jose Reyes led off the third with a drive to the seats in right for a 1-1 game.

Atlanta went back in front an inning later when Brian McCann opened with a double, Lee singled to put runners at the corners and Gonzalez scored both with another two-bagger.

New York used a second leadoff homer, this time from Luis Hernandez, in the fifth to draw back within one. That’s as close as it would get for the hosts, as Hudson set down nine of the last 10 batters he faced.

David Wright walked and stole second with one away in the sixth, but was stranded. Venters yielded a leadoff single to Reyes in the eighth, but the runner was quickly erased on a double-play ball off the bat of Angel Pagan.

McLouth’s sixth home run of the year stretched the lead to 4-2 entering the ninth, where Wagner made quick work of the Mets by striking out the side.

Hudson was coming off his worst outing of the season on Sunday versus the Cardinals, allowing six runs on nine hits in just five innings. He had allowed 13 earned runs over 18 1/3 innings during the streak…Gee, meanwhile, had begun his major league career with 13 innings of one-run ball in his first two starts…Atlanta has won six of its last seven over New York and leads the season series, 10-7…Reyes’ homer was his 11th of 2010…Sunday’s series finale will feature Derek Lowe toeing the rubber opposite New York’s R.A. Dickey.

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Braves Take Game One, 6-4

Flushing, NY (Sports Network) – Jason Heyward hit a go-ahead three-run homer to cap a six-run fourth inning, and the Atlanta Braves began a crucial nine- game road trip with a 6-4 victory over the Mets.

Omar Infante added a two-run double and Melky Cabrera an RBI single in the fourth. All of the runs came with two outs for the Braves, who had dropped two of three to the Nationals for their first home series loss since April 20-22.

Atlanta had lost three of four overall, but managed to maintain a three-game deficit to NL East-leading Philadelphia with Friday’s win to open a three-game set at Citi Field. The Phillies topped Washington at home on Friday.

The Braves still lead the wild card and pushed their lead over San Diego to 1 1/2 games, with the Padres losing in St. Louis Friday.

Tommy Hanson (10-11) picked up just his second win in the last 14 starts for turning in six effective innings. He allowed four runs on five hits while walking one and fanning four.

Billy Wagner earned the save, his 34th, for pitching a perfect ninth.

Jon Niese (9-9) was touched for all six runs, although each was unearned after a David Wright throwing error in the fateful fourth. The loss was the fourth in five starts for Niese, who did not last past the inning and yielded five hits overall with three walks.

New York, which was coming off a four-game sweep of Pittsburgh, fell to 5-3 on a 10-game homestand.

The Mets scored three of its runs in the second to take an early lead. After Ike Davis walked with one out, during which time Braves manager Bobby Cox was ejected by home plate umpire Bill Hohn for arguing balls and strikes, Josh Thole and Lucas Duda strung together a pair of base hits to score the runner.

Niese later scored Thole with a single and Jose Reyes followed suit to bring in Duda.

The Braves rallied to go back in front two innings later. Derrek Lee opened the frame with a single and Wright’s error allowed Matt Diaz to reach safely. Alex Gonzalez fouled out for the second out before Cabrera stroked a single to center to start the scoring.

Hanson drew a walk to load the bases and Infante doubled home two more. Heyward stayed back on a hanging curveball and crushed it off the facade of the second deck in right for a three-run homer and 6-3 Braves lead.

“It’s great to be able to bounce back after being down 3-0. Niese had it going pretty well there in the first few innings. We had to put up one big inning, that’s all it took. It says a lot about our team. We were patient and hung in there,” Heyward said.

In the home fourth, Duda smacked a solo home run — his first in the majors — into the second deck just a few rows over from Heyward’s to make it a 6-4 game.

“It was a pretty cool feeling, off a tough pitcher Tommy Hanson, he’s got great stuff. I was just looking to hit the ball hard, and (it) left the yard,” Duda said of his first home run.

Hanson and Atlanta’s bullpen did the rest. The Mets went without another hit until Nick Evans’ pinch-hit double in the seventh off Jonny Venters, who got out of the inning without further incident.

Takashi Saito got the first two outs of the eighth before exiting with an undisclosed injury. Peter Moylan finished out the frame and Wagner closed the game for his first 34-save campaign since doing so with New York in 2007.

Hanson entered with a 0.73 ERA in four career starts versus the Mets and moved to 3-1 against them with the win…Atlanta is facing its largest deficit in the NL East since a 3 1/2-game margin on May 25…Atlanta has won five of its last six over New York and leads the season series, 9-7…Heyward hit his 18th home run of the season and now has 71 runs batted in…Reyes stole his 30th base of 2010, his fifth season of at least 30 steals…Cox furthered his own MLB record with a 158th career ejection.

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