ATLANTA – Tim Hudson pitched six solid innings and Rick Ankiel drove in two runs with his first hit as a Brave, a two-out, two-run single in a three-run first inning that helped Atlanta to a 4-1 victory over the New York Mets on Monday night.
Chipper Jones added a solo home run in the seventh — his eighth — as the Braves, who had lost five of seven and two straight, increased their NL East lead to three games over the idle Philadelphia Phillies.
It was the start of a seven-game homestand for the Braves who will play 13 of their next 16 games at home where they own the best record in the majors at 35-13.
The Mets lost their second straight and 10th in 14, and have won only six of their last 23 games.
Hudson (12-5) allowed six hits, one run, walked three and struck out three. It was his third straight win. The right-hander has allowed two earned runs in his last 20 2-3 innings and lowered his ERA to 2.36.
The Mets' run came in the fifth inning on a run-scoring double by Carlos Beltran, scoring Jose Reyes, who had singled.
Johan Santana (8-6), who was coming off one of his worst starts when he gave up a career-high 13 hits and seven earned runs in 5 2-3 innings in an 8-7 loss to St. Louis last Thursday, settled down after the first.
The left-hander gave up nine hits, four runs, walked two and had a season-high 11 strikeouts in seven innings.
Ankiel's big hit — a line drive single to center with the bases loaded — scored Matt Diaz, who had a run-scoring double, and Alex Gonzalez, who reached on a fielder's choice. Ankiel was acquired Saturday in a five-player deal with Kansas City and went 0 for 3 in his Atlanta debut on Sunday, a 2-1 loss at Cincinnati. He added a double in the sixth on Monday and finished 2 for 4.
Billy Wagner pitched a scoreless ninth for the Braves to earn his 25th save in 30 opportunities.
Notes: The Braves placed 2B Martin Prado on the 15-day DL, retroactive to July 31 with a broken right pinkie and recalled SS Diory Hernandez from Triple-A Gwinnett. ... Jones' home run was No. 434, tying him with Juan Gonzalez for 37th on the career list. ... Hudson made two throwing errors, but neither cost him a run. ... The Mets' Jeff Francoeur snapped an 0-for-20 streak with a single in the eighth. ... Hudson allowed four hits in seven innings in a 4-0 win on July 10, his only other start against the Mets this season. ... New York's David Wright has eight RBIs in his last three games.