ATLANTA (AP)—Braves against Mets. Chipper Jones vs. Johan Santana. Game on the line.
“You live for that moment,” Jones said.
He certainly seized it.
Jones drove in the go-ahead run during a three-run seventh inning against Santana, and Atlanta beat New York 4-2 Thursday night behind Tim Hudson to complete its first four-game sweep of the Mets in five years.
“It was awesome,” Jones said.
A career .329 hitter against the Mets, Jones was 6-for-14 with a homer in the series to boost his average to a major league-best .412.
Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado homered on consecutive pitches from Hudson in the second inning, but the Mets didn’t have another baserunner advance past second.
“I was hoping they wouldn’t get any more,” Hudson said.
Santana (5-3) couldn’t hold the 2-0 lead while giving up a career-high 12 hits and four runs, three earned, in seven innings.
The left-hander did not walk a batter but had only one strikeout, a season low, while losing for the first time since April 12. The struggling Mets fell to 22-23 with their seventh loss in 10 games, a frustrating stretch that has led to speculation about manager Willie Randolph being fired.
“I just hope we remember this and the next time we come here we can get some payback,” Randolph said. “Three-game sweeps are tough enough, but to come in and get beat four in a row, it stinks. It really hurts.”
New York dropped below .500 for the first time since April 13.
“Not just today, the whole series they played great baseball,” Santana said about the Braves. “They did the little things. They took advantage. And we didn’t.”
Hudson (7-3) gave up seven hits and two runs in eight innings. He had four strikeouts and no walks.
“It was one of my biggest games of the year as far as making a statement,” Hudson said.
Will Ohman got the final out for his second career save and first this season.
Atlanta outscored the Mets 27-9 in the series for its 11th sweep of New York at Turner Field, the team’s home since 1997. The Braves also improved to 7-2 this season against their NL East rivals, including 6-0 in Atlanta.
“I don’t think anyone thought we’d sweep those guys,” Hudson said. “It’s big, 7-2 against that club makes a pretty good statement.”
The Mets led 2-1 before the Braves rallied with three runs on five hits in the seventh.
Kelly Johnson doubled, moved to second on Hudson’s sacrifice and scored on Omar Infante’s tying single to center. After Mark Kotsay’s single moved Infante to third, Jones drove in the go-ahead run with a single to right.
“I can’t believe he did it,” Hudson said sarcastically. “He never does anything against them.”
Kotsay scored on another single by Mark Teixeira.
The Braves are 20-5 at home, the best mark in the National League.
The Mets put runners on first and second with one out in the eighth, but Luis Castillo grounded into an inning-ending double play.
David Wright opened the ninth with a single against Manny Acosta but was doubled off first base on Beltran’s lineout to second. After Ohman relieved, Kotsay made a sliding catch on Delgado’s sinking liner to center for the final out.
Beltran led off the second inning with a homer about 20 rows deep into the right-field seats. Delgado hit Hudson’s next pitch over the left-field wall for a 2-0 lead.
The Braves cut the lead to 2-1 in the second. Teixeira reached when catcher Brian Schneider bobbled his swinging bunt for an error, then moved to second on a two-out single by Matt Diaz. Teixeira scored from second on Johnson’s infield hit to second. Castillo threw toward the plate from his knees, but the throw to Schneider was about 10 feet up the first-base line.
Schneider, apparently unaware Teixeira kept running from third, made no attempt to rush back to the plate for a possible play.
The Braves’ last four-game sweep of the Mets was in July 2003, also at Turner Field. … Mets RHP Pedro Martinez is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday at the team’s complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Martinez, on the disabled list since April 2 with a strained hamstring, returned to the Dominican Republic this week to be with his ailing father, who has a form of brain cancer. … Mets OF Ryan Church (slight concussion) and Braves SS Yunel Escobar (sore knee) missed their second straight starts following their collision near second base in Tuesday night’s game. Church had a pinch-hit single in the eighth. … The Mets placed LF Moises Alou (strained right calf) on the disabled list before the game and purchased the contract of C-1B Raul Casanova from Triple-A New Orleans. … Braves RHP John Smoltz threw to batters before the game as he continues to test a new delivery designed to place less stress on his sore right shoulder.