Santana, Mets Blank Braves 3-0, Chip Away At NL East Lead Before All-Star Break

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Braves-Mets, In Progress: Derek Lowe, Johan Santana Delivering Pitcher's Duel

For more, check out our Mets blog, Amazin' Avenue, and our Braves blog, Talking Chop.

Flushing, NY (Sports Network) - Johan Santana tossed seven scoreless innings and Ike Davis supplied a solo home run, as the New York Mets beat Atlanta, 3-0, to salvage the finale of a three-game series at Citi Field.

Santana (7-5) scattered five hits, walked three and struck out five, throwing 74 of his 107 pitches for strikes. Bobby Parnell followed Santana and pitched a clean eighth inning, while Francisco Rodriguez needed just eight pitches to finish things off in the ninth for his 21st save of the season.

Alex Cora and Josh Thole each had a two-out RBI single for the Mets, who at 48-40 will head into the All-Star break four games behind the first-place Braves (52-36) in the NL East standings.

"We scratched a couple runs on the board and got a (win). It's huge," Davis said.

Atlanta starter Derek Lowe (9-8) gave up two runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings to absorb his third straight loss.

The Mets got to Lowe in the third inning. The right-hander retired the first two batters, but Angel Pagan tripled to the right-center field gap and Cora followed with a line drive up the middle to put New York on the board.

Santana pitched out of trouble in the fourth. Brian McCann drew a one-out walk and a Matt Diaz bloop single put runners at first and second for Yunel Escobar, who swung at the first pitch and popped out to right fielder Jeff Francoeur in foul territory. Melky Cabrera then walked to load the bases, but Lowe struck out swinging to end the frame.

Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones prevented a run from scoring in the bottom of the inning when he threw home to retire Francoeur on a fielder's choice.

Davis' leadoff homer in the sixth gave the Mets a two-run cushion.

Thole singled home a run off Braves reliever Takashi Saito in the eighth to push the Mets' lead to 3-0.

"We had I think two chances all day to do a little bit and we couldn't get to (Santana)," said Atlanta manager Bobby Cox.

Pagan had three hits...Atlanta utility man Omar Infante finished 9-for-14 in the series...Braves closer Billy Wagner was invited to the All-Star Game as a replacement for teammate Jason Heyward, but declined the offer to rest a sore ankle.

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