NEW YORK (AP) — With just their third three-game winning streak since last May, the New York Mets got back to .500 for the first time since the opening week of the season.
Jason Bay hit a tying double in the sixth inning, Jeff Francoeur doubled in the go-ahead run with a drive off the 415-foot sign in the seventh and the Mets finally got to Jair Jurrjens in a 3-1 victory over the reeling Atlanta Braves on Saturday.
New York improved to 5-1 on a 10-game homestand and at 9-9 evened their record for the first time since a 2-2 start.
Since their long skid began last spring, the only times the Mets had strung together three straight wins were July 25-30 against Houston and Colorado (five in a row) and a three-game sweep of Houston that closed the season.
Atlanta has lost four straight, its steepest skid since dropping its final six games last year.
Jurrjens (2-0) entered 6-1 in his career against the Mets, including 4-0 with a 1.60 ERA in five starts last year. Given a 1-0 lead on David Ross’ RBI single in the sixth, he gave it right back and allowed three runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings.
Chipper Jones took a pair of called third strikes and was removed after 2 1/2 innings on his 38th birthday. Jones had a sore right hip, according to the Braves. He has been bothered this month by a strained right oblique.
Martin Prado, who didn’t start because of a sore hamstring, replaced Jones at third base in the third inning.
Jones is a career .419 hitter (18 for 43) on his birthday with three doubles, four homers and 10 RBIs, according to STATS LLC. The Braves entered with a 9-1 record when he played on his birthday, losing 11-6 at Houston in 2001 when he homered twice.
New York’s David Wright struck out for the 11th straight game, extending his career high.
With the score 1-all in the seventh, Jurrjens walked hot-hitting rookie Ike Davis leading off and Francoeur sent the next pitch to the deepest ballpark. He took third on the futile throw home and scored on Henry Blanco’s sacrifice fly.
Niese walked five and struck out six in 5 1-3 innings but allowed just one run and five hits. Atlanta loaded the bases in the first on third baseman David Wright’s error and two walks but, with one out, Niese struck out Matt Diaz and threw a called third strike past Melky Cabrera.
Atlanta ran itself out of an inning in the fifth. With runners on second and third and one out, Troy Glaus lined to Jeff Francoeur in right. Yunel Escobar failed to tag up at third and Prado headed from second to third, getting trapped in a rundown. Prado then got tagged out quickly, failing to give Escobar time to score.
Cabrera then doubled with in the sixth and scored on Ross’ single past a diving Wright at third. New York came right back in the bottom half when Reyes walked, stole second, went on to third on Ross’ throwing error behind the plate and went home on Bay’s one-hop double to the center-field wall.
NOTES: Mets RHP John Maine, whose start Friday was cut short by pain in his left (non pitching) elbow, still isn’t sure whether he can take his next turn in the rotation. Hisanori Takahashi, who relieved Maine, would start if Maine can’t. Mets manager Jerry Manuel didn’t think Maine will need to go on the DL. ... Fans brought dogs on the field before the game on “Bark in the Park” day. ... Atlanta’s Nate McLouth was rested, a day after going 0 for 5 with four strikeouts. ... The Braves struck out nine times, raising their series total to 21.