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NYM@ATL: Nieuwenhuis lines a two-run single to left

ATLANTA -- On a night when All-Star break rust and Friday the 13th black magic seemed ready to befall the Mets in the first few innings, it was longtime nemesis Chipper Jones who once again struck the decisive blow.

Facing left-hander Josh Edgin, who was making his Major League debut, Jones blasted a 3-2 slider into the seats in center field in the sixth inning. It was his seventh home run this season and 49th against the Mets in his 19-year career. Jones' homer proved to be the winning margin for the Braves as they went on to beat the Mets, 7-5, in front of 37,020 fans at Turner Field.

Before giving up the home run, Edgin had retired the first four batters he faced. But he hung a slider to one of the game's best hitters, who didn't miss it.

"Chipper does what Chipper does when you make mistakes," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "You don't have that career he had [by] missing them."

Jones' home run, followed by another sixth-inning insurance run for the Braves, halted the Mets' comeback attempt. They fell behind, 5-0, in the first three innings as Atlanta quickly jumped on right-hander Chris Young.

Michael Bourn started the first inning with a leadoff double. Seven batters later, Young got Jack Wilson to pop out to David Wright in foul ground, but not before the Braves scored two runs on two hits and three walks, including one with the bases loaded.

Atlanta added three more runs in the third on David Ross' fourth home run of the season. Ross, playing because regular Braves catcher Brian McCann was placed on the paternity list Friday, went 1-for-1 with a home run, three walks and four RBIs.

Young said he didn't have the best command of his fastball or breaking ball, but said he wasn't affected by the eight-day layoff between starts.

"I had trouble finding my rhythm early," Young said. "I needed to do a better job limiting the damage. If I had done so, I think we could have won the game. But I wasn't able to. I just dug us in too big a hole."

Despite the deficit, the Mets were able to cut the Braves' lead to one run in the fourth. They batted around against Atlanta starter Tim Hudson, scoring four runs on four hits. Scott Hairston delivered an RBI double and Kirk Nieuwenhuis drove in two runs with a single. The Mets added another run on a Ruben Tejada single to cut the deficit to 5-4 before Hudson escaped the inning.

Ross said he could tell the Mets weren't giving in at the plate.

"They give some of the toughest at-bats of any team we play," Ross said. "They do not give up at-bats. Those guys, they're in it the whole way."

Hairston and Tejada each went 2-for-5 with an RBI. Wright was 2-for-4 with a run.

Collins said the comeback was good to see, but knew it would be difficult to complete after trailing by five runs.

"We've said it many times, many, many times. When we pitch, we have a chance to win," Collins said. "When we don't pitch, it's tough for us because we don't have a lot of power."

On Friday night, the Mets didn't pitch especially well. They used six pitchers who combined to allow more walks (11) than hits (10).

Collins called his pitching staff's performance "a little frustrating."

"Eleven base on balls, 21 baserunners, you're not going to win that game," he said.

Young lasted just three innings, allowing five runs on six hits. He was lifted for a pinch-hitter during the Mets' fourth-inning rally having thrown just 71 pitches.

While the Mets will wait to see how Young feels Saturday, it is likely he will be able to start Wednesday against the Nationals, eliminating the need for a fifth starter.

"I'm sure he'll feel good in a couple of days, even though he had to work pretty hard," Collins said. "But 71's certainly something you can come back from."

The game -- and Young's outing -- was interrupted Friday night by a partial power outage in the top of the second. After the brief Friday the 13th scare, play resumed after a 16-minute delay.

Young downplayed any effects the delay might have had on his performance.

"You've got to deal with it," Young said. "Tim Hudson had to deal with it and there's no excuses. I need to be better and that's it."

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