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Seven-Run Fifth Inning Propels Atlanta

Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) – David Ross’ first career grand slam capped a seven-run fifth inning as the Atlanta Braves clobbered the New York Mets, 9-2, in the second of a four-game set.

Derrek Lee went 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored while Jason Heyward added a two-run double for the Braves, who have won four straight.

Mike Minor (3-0) lasted five innings in the start and was charged with two runs on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts for Atlanta, which moved its lead over Philadelphia for first place in the NL East to 3 1/2 games. Philadelphia plays the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Jeff Francoeur and Henry Blanco each drove in a run for the Mets, who have dropped five of their last seven. Jon Niese (8-7) was tagged for eight runs — three earned — on 10 hits with two walks and six strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings.

Lee doubled to lead off the second for Atlanta and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from Matt Diaz, but he was stranded there as Alex Gonzalez grounded out and Melky Cabrera struck out to end the frame.

Ross led off the Atlanta third with a triple, but the team was unable to bring him home as the next three batters were retired.

The Mets had men at first and second with two outs in the fourth, but Niese struck out to end the frame.

The Braves finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth as Martin Prado led off with a double and came home on Lee’s single to left for a 1-0 lead.

The Mets, though, responded with two runs in the fifth as sacrifice flys from Francoeur and Blanco gave the team a 2-1 lead.

Atlanta answered with a seven-run fifth inning to surge ahead. With two on and no outs, Heyward chased home both runners with a double. Atlanta then loaded the bases, and a Gonzalez single scored one, with Martin Prado getting thrown out at the plate. After Cabrera walked to again load the bases, Ross hit a line drive shot over the left field fence for a grand slam and an 8-2 lead.

The Braves tacked on another run in the seventh as Cabrera’s double scored Diory Hernandez for a 9-2 lead.

After scoring in the fifth, the Mets failed to get another runner on base the rest of the game.

Atlanta has now won seven of the 13 matchups with New York this season…Minor has won his past three starts…Niese fell to 1-1 in four career starts against the Braves…The Mets went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight.