NEW YORK – Tim Hudson didn't blame his back. Poor pitch location was the culprit.
Making his second start since he skipped one with a sore back, Hudson was roughed up in a ballpark he usually dominates in, giving up five runs in four innings of a 6-4 loss to the New York Mets on Sunday night.
"Physically, I felt really good," Hudson said. "I made some mistakes."
Brian McCann homered off R.A. Dickey (3-6) leading off the seventh to snap Atlanta's scoreless streak at 15 innings. They were shut out 5-0 by rookie Dillon Gee and two relievers Saturday night. But the Braves could do little else against the Mets' knuckleballer.
Pinch-hitter Diory Hernandez hit a three-run homer in the ninth for the Braves, who dropped two of three to kick off a 10-game road trip. They next go to Florida, where manager Fredi Gonzalez will be facing his former team for the first time in Miami since being fired last summer.
"In my gut, in my heart, I know we're going to swing the bats," Gonzalez said. "Hopefully soon."
Hudson was 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three starts at Citi Field, but he didn't look sharp from the start.
Jose Reyes led off the first with a single, giving him a 10-game hitting streak. An out later, Carlos Beltran lined a double to center for the quick lead. Daniel Murphy singled and Angel Pagan followed with a sacrifice fly.
In the second, Justin Turner had an RBI single and Reyes walked and scored on a wild pitch, sliding home just ahead of Hudson's tag.
Hudson missed a start May 25 with back stiffness and gave up two runs — one earned — in his previous outing. But he gave up five runs and seven hits in four innings against the Mets.
"I was throwing a lot of strikes," Hudson said. "On occasion, some of those strikes weren't very good quality strikes, up and over the plate."
Dickey allowed a run over eight baffling innings, and Reyes hit an RBI double and scored twice for New York.
His knuckleball "was dancing all over the place," McCann said. "We didn't really string anything together."
Beltran had a run-scoring double off Hudson (4-5) before fouling a ball off his right shin and leaving the game in pain. Turner added his RBI single and the banged-up Mets finished 5-5 on a homestand against Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Atlanta.
The Mets, with Ike Davis and David Wright already on the disabled list, got another injury scare when Beltran fouled a ball off his lower leg in the second inning. Fans at Citi Field gasped when they saw their most productive hitter this season limp out of the batter's box and fall to his knees.
"Maybe the best thing for me was to strike out because it was painful," Beltran said.
Bay was given a night off for what manager Terry Collins called a chance to "take a deep breath." Jason Pridie switched from left to right.
X-rays on Beltran's leg were negative and he is day to day with a bruise. When Beltran left, the Mets were already ahead 4-0.
Dickey looked much more comfortable in his second start since partially tearing the plantar fascia in his right foot. His knuckleball was floating and darting and fooling the Braves. He allowed just three hits through five innings and no runner past second until McCann homered.
"Physically, it's just an issue we're going to have to work through for who knows how long," Dickey said. "But it's manageable."
Manny Acosta put two on in the ninth, and closer Francisco Rodriguez came on. He gave up a three-run homer to Hernandez to cut the lead to 6-4. But Rodriguez struck out Eric Hinske and Joe Mather to end it with Chipper Jones on deck. Jones was given a scheduled night off.
In the fourth inning fans chanted "Don't trade Reyes!" before the All-Star shortstop, who can become a free agent after the season, hit an RBI double to left-center to make it 5-0.
Ruben Tejada had a bases-loaded walk in the fifth.
NOTES: Braves right-hander Kris Medlen (elbow surgery) cut short a bullpen session Tuesday. Gonzalez said there was no reason to be concerned. ... The Mets had 10 hits, only two for extra bases. ... The Mets start a 10-game road trip in Milwaukee on Tuesday. ... The first soccer game at Citi Field will take place Tuesday, with Greece playing Ecuador.
(This version CORRECTS Mets 6, Braves 4. Corrects to bases-loaded walk in 24th paragraph.)