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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.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.