Freeman powers Braves past Niese, Mets 9-4
by Charles Odum, AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) — Freddie Freeman homered and drove in three runs, Tim Hudson pitched into the eighth inning and the Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 9-4 on Sunday.
Reed Johnson also had three RBIs for the Braves. Freeman, who finished with three hits, smacked a two-run double off left-hander Jonathon Niese in a five-run third and added a sixth-inning homer off reliever Jeurys Familia.
David Wright hit a two-run homer in the fourth off Hudson (4-1), who gave up three runs on five hits and a walk in 7 1-3 innings.
Niese (2-3) matched his career high with six walks while allowing seven runs and seven hits in four-plus innings. His ERA rose from 3.31 to 4.66.
The Mets scored twice in the eighth before Eric O'Flaherty struck out Marlon Byrd with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Niese's last two walks came in the fifth, when he was pulled with none out and the bases loaded. Johnson hit a two-run single off Familia.
The Braves sent 10 batters to the plate in the third. Andrelton Simmons doubled and scored on Justin Upton's single. Freeman drove in two runs with his double over left fielder Lucas Duda and scored from third on a wild pitch one out later. Johnson added a run-scoring single for a 5-0 lead.
After Wright's two-run homer to center in the fourth, Johnson pushed the lead to 7-2 with his bases-loaded single off Familia. Freeman hit his second homer in the sixth.
Pinch-hitter Mike Baxter led off the eighth with a double against Hudson and scored on Duda's single off Luis Avilan. Cory Gearrin hit John Buck with a pitch to load the bases with two outs. O'Flaherty, Atlanta's fourth pitcher of the inning, walked pinch-hitter Justin Turner to force in a run before striking out Byrd on a 3-2 pitch.
Braves rookie catcher Evan Gattis had two hits and an eighth-inning sacrifice fly off Scott Atchison to drive in Upton.
Mets manager Terry Collins stayed with Niese, originally slated to pitch Saturday before the game was postponed by rain.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez skipped Julio Teheran so Hudson and the other starters could remain on schedule. Teheran was available out of the bullpen.
With the Mets also off on Monday, Collins said he wasn't happy his starters would have too much rest. His other option would have been to have Matt Harvey remain on schedule and start Sunday.
"I don't like it. I don't like it a lick," Collins said before the game. "But if you skip Jon Niese, all of a sudden now he doesn't pitch in 10 days. So you move them both back, you try to keep them as prepared as you can."
NOTES: Niese also issued six walks on Sept. 22, 2010, at Florida. ... C Brian McCann (right shoulder) and RF Jason Heyward (appendectomy) were to accompany the Braves on their trip to Cincinnati. McCann completed his minor league rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Gwinnett on Sunday and is expected to come off the disabled list and be eligible to make his season debut Monday against the Reds. Heyward is ready to begin taking batting practice. ... LHP Paul Maholm will face Cincinnati RHP Bronson Arroyo on Monday night. The Mets open a two-game home series against the White Sox on Tuesday night, with Harvey going for his fifth win.