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Braves storm past Mets in rainy affair

Associated Press

9/8/2012 9:18:44 PM

NEW YORK -- Every time Kris Medlen takes the mound, the Atlanta Braves apparently become unbeatable.

Medlen extended Atlanta's scoreless streak to 31 innings for its best string in more than 20 years, slumping Brian McCann drove in four runs with four hits and the Braves routed the New York Mets 11-3 on a stormy Saturday.

Atlanta has won the last 19 games Medlen has started, dating to 2010. And the NL pitcher of the month for August improved to 13-0 in his last 24 starts overall.

"He pitches and it seems like the guys like playing behind him," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

The weather made things more unpleasant for everyone.

A tornado touched down in Queens about 15 miles away several hours before the game. When the grounds crew struggled to control the billowing tarp before the first pitch, Braves reliever Jonny Venters pitched in to hold a flapping corner.

The winds were blowing at 26 mph with gusts up to 51 mph at the start. Dark, ominous clouds swept in later, causing a 75-minute rain delay after the sixth inning and prompting the public-address announcer to urge fans to take cover.

By then, the NL wild card leaders had overwhelmed the Mets in their fourth straight win. McCann homered, doubled and tied a career high for hits and Dan Uggla kept up his recent resurgence at the plate with three hits and two walks, scoring three times.

"These types of games, they're not going to come very often," Gonzalez said. "I'd rather have pitching and defence, rather than slow-pitch softball."

Medlen (8-1) stretched several impressive streaks for himself and the Braves. He allowed four hits, left with an 8-2 lead after the rain and contributed a long RBI double.

"I think the wind did some things with it," Medlen said of his rare hit

After throwing three straight shutouts, Atlanta posted its longest scoreless streak since a 36-inning string in early 1992, STATS LLC said. The Mets broke through in the fourth with an RBI single by Lucas Duda.

"There was a lot of talk before about us scuffling," Medlen said.

Medlen went 40 1-3 innings without permitting an earned run. His run of success ended where it started, having begun the streak in a win at Citi Field on Aug. 11.

Medlen certainly has seen the Mets enough. This was his seventh appearance against them this year, including five relief outings.

Atlanta got production from most everyone during its highest-scoring game in exactly a month. Freddie Freeman stopped an 0-for-16 slide with an RBI single, Eric Hinske had his eighth career pinch-hit homer and Chipper Jones drove in a run.

Michael Bourn led off the game with a double against Jeremy Hefner (2-6). Bourn had already batted three times when Hefner's spot in the Mets' order came up for the first time -- it was 5-0 at that point and Hefner was out of the game.

"It was command. Left a lot of pitches over the middle and they capitalized," Hefner said. "That's a good team. You leave balls over the middle, they get hit."

McCann came into the game hitting .224 and stuck in an 0-for-17 rut. The six-time All-Star catcher bunted down the third base line for an easy single against the Mets' overshifted defence in the second and a single by Jose Constanza off Hefner's glove made it 1-0.

McCann had a two-run double in the third for his first extra-base hit since July 31.

"I felt like it's the first time in a while I made an impact," he said. "It's been a rough year, for sure."

Medlen's double finished Hefner in the third. McCann hit his 19th homer in the fifth.

Pinch-hitter Ronny Cedeno homered in the Mets fifth, the first off Medlen in 52 2-3 innings.

Notes: Uggla has reached base in seven straight plate appearances. ... McCann got four hits for the ninth time in his career. ... New York has scored three runs or less in nine straight home games, its longest such stretch since 1982. ... The Mets said tickets from this game could redeemed for a free ticket Monday night against NL East-leading Washington. ... Mets CF Andres Torres did not play a day after bruising his knee making a diving catch. ... Braves SS Andrelton Simmons (broken right pinky) is set to rejoin the team Monday in Milwaukee. ... Mets rookie RHP Matt Harvey is set for two more starts, manager Terry Collins said. RHPs Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia could get starts in the final weeks.