published Friday, September 28th, 2012

Duda’s 3-run HR gives Mets 3-1 win over Braves

New York Mets right fielder Lucas Duda (21) celebrates with Ike Davis (29) after hitting a three-run home run in the seventh inning of a baseball game against Atlanta Braves in Atlanta, Friday, Sept. 28, 2012.
New York Mets right fielder Lucas Duda (21) celebrates with Ike Davis (29) after hitting a three-run home run in the seventh inning of a baseball game against Atlanta Braves in Atlanta, Friday, Sept. 28, 2012.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

ATLANTA — Lucas Duda’s three-run homer in the seventh gave New York the lead, Jonathon Niese pitched seven strong innings for his third straight win and the Mets beat Tim Hudson and the Braves 3-1 on Friday night.

The Braves, who have wrapped up at least a wild-card berth, began the night four games behind the Nationals in the NL East. Atlanta has only five games remaining in the regular season.

Chipper Jones, starting his final regular-season home series before retirement, was 0-for-4 with four groundouts. Jones was honored by the Braves in a pregame ceremony that included former Atlanta manager Bobby Cox and Hall of Famer Hank Aaron. The tribute helped draw a sellout crowd of 51,910.

Niese (13-9) allowed one run on four hits in seven innings for his third straight win.

Freddie Freeman gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead with his 23rd homer off Niese in the fourth.

Bobby Parnell pitched a perfect ninth for his sixth save.

Hudson (16-7) gave up only three hits in six scoreless innings before Daniel Murphy led off the seventh with a double to left field. Murphy advanced to third when Jason Heyward made a diving catch on David Wright’s sinking liner in right field.

Following an intentional walk to Ike Davis, Hudson struck out Scott Hairston before giving up Duda’s 15th homer on a 3-2 pitch.

Hudson allowed three runs on five hits and one walk in seven innings.

The Mets loaded the bases with one out in the eighth against Cristhian Martinez. Cory Gearrin ended the inning on Wright’s grounder to Jones, who stepped on third base before throwing to first for the double play.

In the pregame ceremony, Aaron gave Jones a third base with the words “Chipper Jones 1993-2012.” The special bases with the tribute to Jones were used in the game. The on-deck circles also carried the logo, and Jones’ No. 10 was painted in the grass in center field.

Braves players gave Jones a pool table. The team gave Jones and his family a trip to Hawaii and a plaque made from Turner Field bricks and shaped like home plate. Team president John Schuerholz announced Jones’ clubhouse locker will be moved to Jones’ home.

New York’s Ruben Tejada hit the game’s first pitch to Jones, who had a wide grin after making the pickup — with a slight bobble — and then throwing out the shortstop. NOTES: The attendance was Atlanta’s largest of the season and the seventh-biggest in Turner Field history. ... Mets manager Terry Collins said Parnell will serve as closer in the final week of the season. Frank Francisco (elbow tendinitis) leads the team with 23 saves but has not pitched since Sept. 16. ... Braves C Brian McCann (sore right knee, sore right shoulder) was held out for the second straight day. ... Manager Fredi Gonzalez said CF Michael Bourn (slightly sprained left thumb) could return Saturday or Sunday after missing his fifth straight start. ... The series continues on Saturday night when Braves LHP Mike Minor (10-10) faces Mets RHP Chris Young (4-8).

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