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Jones gets warm farewell from Mets fans, Braves win

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Associated Press
9/9/2012 5:54:07 PM
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NEW YORK -- Mets fans cheered the loudest for Chipper Jones once he was out of their ballpark for good.

When he took the lineup card to home plate before his last game in Queens, Jones got some scattered applause. When he pinch hit in the ninth, he received cheers in full voice -- along with some boos, of course.

Jones walked, and once a pinch runner came in to replace him, the retiring 40-year-old star trotted back toward the Braves dugout on the third base side and Mets fans stood and cheered.

Jones took off his batting helmet, raised it to the crowd, and then was gone down the steps.

For that, and for his long career as a most worthy adversary, Mets fans stood and applauded.

"Can't say enough about the fans in New York this year. They've been awfully supportive both in person, out on the field, on Twitter," Jones said. "I'm very appreciative to them for that."

He and the Braves, of course, couldn't leave town without getting the better of the Mets one last time.

Brian McCann homered and drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning to give Atlanta its fifth straight win, 3-2 Sunday for a three-game sweep at Citi Field.

"Now that I'm scuffling a little bit, it's important for someone else to be stepping up," Jones said.

Pinch runner Reed Johnson made it to third before Michael Bourn struck out, flinging his bat and helmet in rage after the inning ended.

Martin Prado led off the 10th with a single against Bobby Parnell (4-4). After Jason Heyward grounded out, Freddie Freeman was intentionally walked. Dan Uggla worked a walk before McCann hit a sacrifice fly.

Peter Moylan pitched the bottom half for his first save of the season.

Craig Kimbrel (1-1), Atlanta's usual closer, worked a scoreless ninth for the NL wild-card leaders. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he wanted Kimbrel to face the Mets' mid-lineup power threats, Ike Davis and Lucas Duda, in the ninth while it was tied.

"Today, it fell where the big boys were coming up," Gonzalez said. "It worked out."

Davis led off with a single, but Kimbrel struck out Duda and Kelly Shoppach before Andres Torres grounded out to end the threat.

The Mets took the lead on Davis' RBI single in the fourth, but Atlanta answered when Bourn singled home Jose Constanza in the fifth.

Mets starter Chris Young allowed five hits and four walks in six innings, striking out seven. He is 0-4 in seven starts at Citi Field this season.

McCann led off the sixth with his 20th home run for a 2-1 lead, but Braves starter Tommy Hanson remained winless in five starts since a victory over Miami on July 30. He's 0-3 since then and has only made it out of the sixth inning in one of those starts.

Hanson's day ended when David Wright hit a double into the left-field corner to tie it at 2 in the sixth. It started off with more promise -- Hanson retired the first 10 batters he faced.

"I felt really good about this start today," Hanson said. "We came up here and took care of business."

In the bottom of the eighth, the Mets threatened to take the lead. But Braves reliever Eric O'Flaherty got Wright to ground out on a full count with two outs in the bottom of the eighth and runners on first and third.

That set up Jones' moment, such that it was. Reliever Frank Francisco walked him on four pitches.

"I didn't want to pitch around him, but I didn't want to leave anything right there," Francisco said. "He's a great player. I was trying to save the game."

Jones noticed, too.

"I don't think Francisco was going to let me get a real good swing at one," Jones said.

As much as he might have liked to have one last good whack at the Mets, Jones was pleased enough with the actual results: Atlanta goes to Milwaukee with a three-game sweep and having won seven of its last eight.

And Jones has one more memory of a Mets ballpark. He hit the first two homers of his career at the Mets' old stadium, and his eight-year-old son is named for it -- Shea.

"It was cool," Jones said of his last at bat in Queens, nearly 20 years after his first one. "I heard a bunch of boos in there, but for once the cheers outnumbered the boos."

NOTES: Jones will get another chance to torment the Mets. The Braves host them in a series later this month. ... Wright is set to visit a New York firehouse to remember Sept. 11 for the eighth year in a row. On Monday, he plans to visit Squad 18 in Greenwich Village, along with Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano. ... Braves LHP Mike Minor is set to go against RHP Wily Peralta on Monday in Milwaukee. ... Mets RHP Colin McHugh is scheduled to face Nationals LHP Gio Gonzalez on Monday at Citi Field.

Chipper Jones  (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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