ATLANTA — Lucas Duda’s three-run homer in the seventh gave New York the lead, Jonathon Niese pitched seven strong innings for his third consecutive 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.
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.
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said in a video message that Jones is a future Hall of Famer.
“It’s obvious where you’re headed,” Selig said. “The next time we all see you will be in Cooperstown, N.Y.”
Jones won the 1999 NL MVP and 2008 batting title. His 468 home runs are the third-highest total for a switch-hitter, behind Mickey Mantle (536) and Eddie Murray (504). His 1,623 RBI are the most for a third baseman, passing George Brett and Mike Schmidt this season.
Catcher Brian McCann, representing Braves players, thanked Jones “for being our leader, our mentor.” The players bought the 40-year-old Jones, who is retiring after the season, a pool table.
Jones and the Braves are heading back to the postseason after falling out of the playoffs on the last day of the 2011 season, capping a September collapse.
Jones smiled as he looked at his teammates watching from the dugout and said “I feel like every one of you are my younger brothers.
“You have done such a great job of coming back after what happened last year,” Jones said. “I’m so proud of each and every one of you.”
Niese (13-9) allowed one run on four hits in seven innings for his third consecutive win.
Bobby Parnell pitched a perfect ninth for his sixth save.
Freddie Freeman gave the Braves a 1-0 his 23rd homer off Niese in the fourth.
Hudson (16-7) gave up only three hits in six scoreless innings.