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Ninth-inning gaffe leads to Braves win
Atlanta Braves' Troy Glaus celebrates with his teammates after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning against the New York Mets on Tuesday in Atlanta. - photo by John Bazemore

ATLANTA — The Braves struggled with the fundamentals in the ninth inning.

No worries. David Wright made the biggest blunder of all.

After failing twice to get down sacrifice bunts, Atlanta still beat the New York Mets 3-2 when Wright’s throwing error allowed pinch-runner Brent Clevlen to trot home with the winning run Tuesday night.

Brian McCann opened the bottom of the ninth with a single off Pedro Feliciano (1-2), the Braves’ first baserunner since the third inning. New York pitchers had retired 16 in a row until McCann reached and was replaced by Clevlen.

Yunel Escobar fouled off two attempts at a sacrifice bunt against Jenrry Mejia, but managed something even better — a walk. Melky Cabrera fell into an 0-2 hole, fouling off two more bunt tries, then hit a high chopper toward Wright. The third baseman threw on the run, but the ball tailed into Cabrera and got by first baseman Ike Davis.

“When Melky got in the hole 0-2, he had to fight hard to get the ball in play,” Chipper Jones said. “Fortunately, he hit the ball right where he wanted to get down the bunt.”

Clevlen came in with the winning run while the ball rolled down the right-field line, making a winner of Billy Wagner (3-0) against his former team.

In addition to his throwing error, Wright struck out three times — including in the top of the ninth with the potential go-ahead run at third and only one out.

“It’s a tough, humbling game sometimes, and right now it is for me,” he said. “It’s tough, when somebody goes out there and is playing as poorly as I am right now and really costing us, both offensively and defensively.”

Troy Glaus hit a two-run homer off Mets starter Johan Santana in the third, but New York tied it in the fifth with solo homers by Davis and Jeff Francoeur. Santana went seven strong innings, giving up only five hits, and retired his last 13 hitters.

Glaus has been one of Atlanta’s hottest hitters in May — batting .371 with four homers and 18 RBIs — after getting off to a rough start with his new team. He homered with two outs after Jones singled.

“I just made one mistake and hung that changeup,” said Santana, lifted for a pinch hitter after throwing 104 pitches.

Atlanta’s Kris Medlen, starting for the second time in place of injured Jair Jurrjens, allowed two runs and four hits in 6 1-3 innings. Peter Moylan came on in the seventh to get Francoeur on a 5-4-3 double play with runners at first and second.

“Whether I get the win or Billy, it doesn’t matter,” Medlen said. “We’re just here to win.”

Wagner escaped a major jam in the top of the ninth. Luis Castillo started the inning by barely beating out an infield single.

Atlanta manager Bobby Cox came to the top step of the dugout to complain to first-base umpire Ron Kulpa, and continued to yap when Castillo moved to second on a wild pitch.

Whatever Cox said, it was enough to get him thrown out for the 155th time in his career and second time this season.

Gary Matthews Jr. bunted Castillo over to third, but that was as far as the runner got. Wagner fanned Wright and Davis, the latter with a slider that swept out of the strike zone after fastballs of 96 and 98 mph.

Medlen breezed through the first three innings, allowing only a walk. Castillo led off the fourth with the first New York hit, only to be erased with a double play. But the Mets tied it with two swings in the fifth.

Leading off, Davis ripped a high fastball into the right-field seats for his fourth homer of the season. After Angel Pagan flied out, Francoeur got hold of a breaking ball that hung right over the plate, lifting a towering fly that settled a few rows back in left for his fifth homer.

Francoeur, a native of Atlanta who once looked like a rising star for the Braves, was mostly booed by his hometown crowd as he circled the bases. The homer broke an 0-for-20 slump that had prompted the Mets to bench him in the two previous games.

“I struggle with that guy,” Medlen said of his former teammate. “He has no approach. He just comes out hacking.”

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