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Recapping Atlanta's 2-1 series win over the Mets
In what was Chipper Jones' final regular season home series, the Atlanta Braves took two of three games from Chipper's favorite team to play against, the New York Mets. Although they lost the game after Chipper's ceremony on Friday night, Atlanta won games on Saturday and Sunday to take the series and, more importantly, send Chipper out a winner.
If Friday's ceremony was half as emotionally draining for the players as it was for the fans, then it's easy to see why Atlanta lost. There wasn't a dry eye at the Ted as dignitaries from across Braves Nation and across baseball lined up to pay their respects to Chipper during his pregame ceremony. Bobby Cox, Hank Aaron, Bud Selig, Brian McCann, and John Schuerholz, among others, all honored Chipper before the game.
The game was a pitcher's duel, as Mets' pitcher John Niese and Tim Hudson put up matching zeroes. Atlanta struck first, as Freddie Freeman hit a solo homer of Niese in the 4th inning to put Atlanta up 1-0. The Mets would laugh last, however, as they got to Tim Hudson in the 7th. A leadoff double put Hudson in hot water, and after a flyout, an intentional walk, and a strikeout, Lucas Duda stepped to the plate. Duda fouled off several full-count pitches before hitting a game-deciding 3 run home run. The Mets would go on to win by that same score of 3-1.
Game two saw equally great pitching, but this time it was the Braves that would come out on top. Atlanta struck first in the first on a Jason Heyward RBI groundout, and that one run was all that Mike Minor would need. Minor tossed 6.1 innings of shutout baseball, allowing only 4 baserunners while striking out 4. Having perhaps learned his lesson from the previous game, Fredi Gonzalez pulled Minor after he allowed a one-out double in the 7th. Atlanta tacked on another run in the 5th on a Martin Prado RBI double, which would represent the final score. Braves win, 2-0.
In Chipper's final regular season home game, the Braves made sure he went out a winner. David Ross put Atlanta ahead for good in the second inning with a titanic blast deep into the left-center seats to give the Braves a 3-0 lead (Chipper and Freddie Freeman had already reached). The Mets would get one back of Kris Medlen in the 3rd when Freeman threw away a grounder, but the one unearned run was the best the Mets could do against the Braves' ace. Heyward, Andrelton Simmons, and Michael Bourn (playing in his first game in several days) all added RBIs for Atlanta in the 5th and 6th inning, as Atlanta would go on to win 6-2. It was the Braves record-setting 23rd win in a row when Medlen started a game.
Atlanta now heads to Pittsburgh to conclude the regular season with 3 games against the fully-collapsed Pirates. If Atlanta sweeps the Pirates, and the Phillies sweep the Nationals in Washington, then Atlanta will tie the Nats for the division. Otherwise, Atlanta will play host to the Wild Card game.