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Francouer powers Braves past Mets

POSTED: June 2, 2008 5:00 a.m.
The Associated Press/

Atlanta Braves' Jeff Francoeur (7) celebrates with Chipper Jones on Wednesday after hitting a home run in the seventh inning against the New York Mets in Atlanta.

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ATLANTA — Jeff Francoeur says he wasn’t physically drained by playing 370 consecutive games.
Mentally zapped? That’s another matter.

Francoeur, refreshed by his rare night off, homered and drove in four runs to help the Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 11-4 Wednesday night for their third straight win in the series.

Manager Bobby Cox held out Francoeur in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader, ending the majors’ longest active streak of consecutive games played. It was his first game off since Oct. 1, 2005.

“Bobby knew what he was doing,” Francoeur said. “He’s been doing this for a long time. He just wanted me to relax in the dugout and have fun, and tonight was fun. I had fun for the first time in a while. I smiled and just relaxed.”

Francoeur, who had gone 10 at-bats without a hit before the game, hit his first homer since April 12, a two-run shot in the sixth off reliever Pedro Feliciano.

“To me it had nothing to do with physical,” he said. “It was more of a mental thing, just to sit on the bench and relax and try to get my mind back the right way.”

Braves rookie Jair Jurrjens (5-3) gave up only one earned run in seven innings for his second win over the Mets this season. Jurrjens gave up five hits and two runs with two walks and a strikeout.

“J.J. was sharp, really good,” Cox said. “He was right on with about every pitch.”

Mets starter Mike Pelfrey (2-5) gave up six runs on eight hits in four innings.

Mark Teixeira had three hits, including a three-run double, and     Chipper Jones hit his 12th homer.
Jones left the game in the seventh after he was hit by a pitch from Scott Schoeneweis on his right shin, loading the bases. With fans booing the Mets reliever, Teixeira followed with a three-run double for an 11-2 lead.

Jones had a big bruise on his shin. He said he hopes to play Thursday in the final game of the four-game series.

“If I feel like I can put weight on it and push off, I think I can play,” Jones said.

The Mets also lost a player when left fielder Moises Alou walked off the field in the third inning with a strained left calf. He will fly back to New York for an MRI on Thursday.

“It’s been bothering me three or four days,” Alou said.

“To me one of the most embarrassing things is to walk off the field like I did. But I could hardly move.”
Francoeur drove in runs with a third-inning triple and fifth-inning single before his homer. Needing a double for the cycle, he hit a soft popup to second base in the seventh.

The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when David Wright’s single drove in Jose Reyes. But the

Braves went ahead on Brian McCann’s two-run double and Francoeur’s triple.

The Braves, 6-2 against the Mets this season, swept a doubleheader on Tuesday night to open the four-game series.

The Mets (22-22) fell to .500 for the first time since April 25, when they were 11-11 following a home loss to the Braves.

“It’s not acceptable,” Mets manager Willie Randolph said. “That’s not the way we want to play baseball.
“Talking about it’s not going to get it done for you.”

Before the game, Randolph apologized to team ownership, the club’s TV network and his players for creating an “unnecessary distraction” with his comments this week that suggested he was treated in a manner different from white managers.

Pelfrey gave up three hits, including Jones’ 12th homer, and a walk without recording an out before leaving in the fifth. He gave up eight hits and six runs in four innings.

Carlos Beltran, who had two hits, drove in Wright with a double in the eighth. Beltran scored later in the inning on Carlos Delgado’s groundout.

Notes: An unidentified 25-year-old man suffered critical head injuries when he fell about 150 feet down a stairwell in the eighth inning, according to Atlanta Police Department spokesman Charles Campbell. The man was taken to Grady Hospital in Atlanta. ... Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalyn, attended the game. ... Jones’ homer tied him with former Braves outfielder Dale Murphy for 45th all-time with 398 homers. ... Atlanta SS Yunel Escobar (sore knee) and New York OF Ryan Church (mild concussion) were held out following their collision at second base Tuesday night. ... The Braves won on Cox’s 67th birthday.



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