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MIL@ATL: Chipper connects on a three-run shot

New York used a season-opening sweep of rival Atlanta as a catalyst for its surprising 6-3 start, and the suddenly red-hot Braves will be seeking to return the favor when the teams meet again on Monday night at Turner Field.

Atlanta, which will send ace Tommy Hanson to the mound in the opener, enters the series fresh off a three-game sweep of Milwaukee and having won five straight.

Catcher Brian McCann stressed directly after the season-opening sweep at the hands of the Mets that it was still early and that the Braves would bounce back. It turns out he didn't have to wait long to have that belief validated.

"You know it's a long season and you can fight back," McCann said. "We did that, and we're right back where we need to be. We just need to keep winning."

A victory over Dillon Gee and the Mets on Monday would push the Braves' winning streak to six, matching their longest from last season. Gee, on the other hand, will be looking to notch his first victory after a so-so season debut and extend the Mets' four-game winning streak against the Braves dating back to last season.

Gee lasted just 5 1/3 innings against the Nationals last Tuesday, conceding eight hits and allowing four runs, two of which crossed the plate after he had turned the game over to the bullpen.

One thing he will likely have working in his favor that he didn't have in that outing is David Wright's offensive support. Wright continued his hot start on Sunday in his second game back from a finger injury, recording two hits to raise his season average to .571.

"When a guy like David Wright goes out and plays with a broken finger and everybody knows he's got it, and he plays the way he plays, all of a sudden, the other guys don't hurt as bad," Mets manager Terry Collins said after Wright hit a home run in his first at-bat back in the lineup. "When they have something minor, they say, 'Look, if he can do it, so can I.' I think it sends a big message to everybody on the club."

Mets: Early-inning offense sparking victories
The Mets' last three starting pitchers were each staked to a lead before even taking the mound, courtesy of first-inning home runs. On Sunday, Ike Davis became the third in as many days to hit a first-inning long ball, following Jason Bay on Friday and Wright on Saturday.

Overall, the Mets have scored in the opening frame in five of their first nine games, and their eight first-inning runs are their most for any frame.

Braves: Chipper returns to the lineup with a bang
After missing the first two games of the Milwaukee series because of his lingering knee injury, Chipper Jones belted a go-ahead three-run homer in Sunday's victory over the Brewers. The homer was his second in his three games this season.

The 39-year-old veteran, playing in his last season, is hitting .455 in his three starts this season.

Worth noting
• Current Braves players have just one home run (Jason Heyward) in 130 career plate appearances against Gee.

• The Mets, who lead the current season series 3-0, haven't won the season series with their division rivals since going 11-7 against them in 2006. Comments