Published September 29, 2012
| Sports Network
Coming down the stretch this season, Mike Minor has been one of the best pitchers in the Atlanta Braves rotation.
Minor aims to win his fifth consecutive decision tonight when the playoff- bound Braves continue their three-game set against the New York Mets.
The left-hander, who is unbeaten in his last six starts and hasn't lost since Aug. 19 to the Dodgers, has given up three runs over his last four starts. Minor is 2-1 with a 7.56 ERA in five games against the Mets.
Chris Young, who has just one victory over his last eight starts, counters for the Mets. The righty is 2-3 with a 7.36 ERA in seven contests versus the Braves.
Atlanta heads into Saturday trailing the Washington Nationals by four games with five left to play for the NL East lead. The Nats have a magic number of two to clinch the division, meaning they can do so on Saturday with a win coupled by a Braves loss.
Last night, Lucas Duda hit a three-run homer and Jon Niese pitched seven strong innings, as the Mets defeated the Braves, 3-1, spoiling the first of Chipper Jones' final three regular-season home games.
"It's just one of those games with the crowd like that, you could get a lot of energy. It's not very hard to find the energy in a game like tonight," said Niese. "A lot of guys made some great plays behind me. Lucas had a great hit, just fortunate to get the win."
Jones, who is retiring at the end of the season, was honored with a pregame ceremony in front of the seventh-largest crowd in the history of Turner Field, but the 18-year veteran finished 0-for-4 on the night.
"I'm glad it's over, it's been a lot of attention," said Jones. "I was an emotional wreck all night. It was tough to stay focused with the tributes in between innings from ex-teammates and teammates and everything like that. It was too overwhelming, I was a little too emotional to be able to go out there and play effectively tonight."
Niese (13-9) was dominant for New York, which has won seven of its last eight games. He made just one mistake, giving up a homer to Freddie Freeman in fourth. He struck out three and didn't allow a hit over his final three innings.
Duda provided the Mets' only offense with his blast in the seventh off Tim Hudson (16-7), who allowed five hits while striking out four over seven frames.
Bobby Parnell pitched a perfect ninth to earn his sixth save of the season.
The Mets are only 6-10 against the Braves this season and 2-5 at Turner Field. Atlanta has won 10 of the previous 12 meetings between the NL East foes.