NEW YORK — Tim Hudson pitched six effective innings for his second win since major elbow surgery and the Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 5-2 on Wednesday night to complete a three-game sweep.
Hours after announcing Bobby Cox will retire as manager following next season, the Braves won for the 11th time in 13 games. Clinging to scant playoff hopes, Atlanta began the day five games behind Colorado for the NL wild card.
Adam LaRoche had three hits and two RBIs. Late substitute Kelly Johnson also knocked in two runs for the Braves, who won their seventh straight road game and finished 13-5 against New York this year.
It was their first sweep on the road against the Mets since July 2003 at Shea Stadium.
All-Star catcher Brian McCann was back in the Braves' lineup after leaving Tuesday night's game with a bruised left wrist. Third baseman Chipper Jones, however, came out in the seventh with a stiff back.
Johnson was inserted into the lineup at second base to replace Martin Prado, scratched after getting hit in the left knee with line drive during batting practice. X-rays were negative and he is day to day with a bone bruise.
Mike Pelfrey (10-12) gave up four runs — three earned — and nine hits in six innings for the feeble Mets, limping to the end of a miserable season. They have lost nine of 11 and 13 of 16.
Hudson (2-1) allowed nine hits and two walks in his fifth start since coming back from elbow ligament replacement surgery performed in August 2008.
Handed a 3-0 lead in the second, the right-hander pitched out of trouble all night and threw 58 of his 87 pitches for strikes. Luis Castillo hit an RBI single in the third and the Mets put runners on second and third with nobody out, but David Wright grounded out, Carlos Beltran struck out and Daniel Murphy bounced out.
With the bases loaded in the fourth, Castillo grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Mike Gonzalez worked around a leafoff double in a scoreless eighth before Rafael Soriano got three outs for his 26th save.
Angel Pagan also drove in a run for New York, which was 2 for 18 with runners in scoring position. Murphy went 0 for 4 and grounded into a double play, stranding seven runners.
The 68-year-old Cox, a four-time Manager of the Year, agreed to a one-year contract extension for 2010. He will start a five-year consulting agreement to advise the team in baseball operations after he steps down as manager.
"I'll believe it when I see it," said Jones, who has played for Cox his entire career.
During an illustrious career on the bench, Cox has guided Atlanta to 14 consecutive postseason appearances (1991-2005) and the 1995 World Series title.
"There's no turning back now — win, lose or draw," he said. "Whatever happens next year is going to be it."
NOTES: Hudson improved to 10-5 in 16 career starts against the Mets. ... New York reliever Brian Stokes left the team to be with his wife, who gave birth to a baby boy Wednesday afternoon. Stokes is expected back Saturday.