Atlanta hopes to pick up its second straight victory on its seven-game homestand while dealing New York a third straight loss in this evening's middle portion of a three-game series at Turner Field.
The Braves batted just .190 over a recently-completed 3-6 road trip, but broke out for 11 hits in last night's 4-1 victory. Starting pitcher Tim Hudson then did his job, holding the Mets to a run over six innings.
Rick Ankiel, acquired from the Royals before the trade deadline, notched his first hit with the Braves -- a two-run single in the first inning -- and Chipper Jones homered in the seventh inning for his first long ball since July 15.
"I don't care how old you are, you can use a confidence boost," said Jones of his eighth homer of the season. "It was a good feeling."
The victory pushed Atlanta's lead over idle Philadelphia in the division to three games, while the Mets fell 7 1/2 games back of the Braves. Atlanta also improved its MLB-best home record to 35-13, while New York lost on the road for the 16th time in 21 games.
The Braves were without All-Star second baseman Martin Prado, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list after suffering a broken right pinkie on Friday.
Carlos Beltran drove in New York's lone run with a fifth-inning double, while Johan Santana allowed four runs with a season-high 11 strikeouts over seven innings.
"It was a tough one," said Santana about the loss. "I came here and I knew that I had to step up. I didn't do my job, because to get a win here would put us closer to these guys. Instead it is the opposite. I tried to do my best but it didn't work out."
New York has lost three of its last four overall and has been outscored 18-2 over its last two games.
The Mets might like their chances tonight as long as knuckleballer R.A. Dickey can continue his surprising run. The 35-year-old is 7-4 with an excellent 2.32 earned run average on the season and snapped a four-decision losing streak on Thursday versus St. Louis.
Dickey allowed just four hits over 8 1/3 scoreless innings in that game and hasn't allowed a run in his last two starts. He picked up his first victory since June 23.
The right-hander faced the Braves for the first time as a starter on July 9 following a pair of previous relief outings. Dickey took the loss, however, yielding four runs -- three earned -- over 6 2/3 frames.
The Braves counter with Derek Lowe, who is just 1-4 with a 5.03 ERA over his last six starts. He lost to Washington on Thursday after getting charged with four runs on five hits over five innings of work.
The right-hander is 10-9 with a 4.58 ERA this year and 3-5 with a pair of saves and 6.61 ERA in 15 lifetime meetings with the Mets, nine of those starts. Lowe, 27, has lost both starts to New York in 2010 despite a 3.65 ERA.
The Braves have beaten the Mets in 12 of the last 17 overall meetings and are 16-5 at home versus them since the 2008 season.