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ATL@NYM: Dickey hurls six innings of two-run ball

In their fifth try this season, the Braves finally solved the Mets on Tuesday night, and after a quick turnaround, they'll be looking to ride that momentum to a series victory over their division rivals.

With an early 12:10 p.m. ET first pitch, the Braves send Jair Jurrjens to the mound for their rubber match against the surprisingly hot Mets, who counter with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

Dickey looked sharp his first two times out, including a quality start against the Braves when he outdueled Jurrjens on April 7.

But it's been more than just the two games this season with which Dickey has impressed. He has pitched well dating back to last May 15. Since then, Dickey ranks sixth in ERA behind an impressive list: Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander and Jered Weaver -- all of whom finished in the top three of Cy Young voting in their respective leagues last season.

With his seven-inning, one-run outing against the Phillies on Friday, Dickey extended his streak to 14 straight quality starts.

The Mets could use another one of those after extending their bullpen in Tuesday's 9-3 loss to Atlanta. Starter Johan Santana only lasted 1 1/3 innings, the shortest start of his career.

For the Braves, Jurrjens didn't make it through the fifth in his last start against the Mets, as he threw 102 pitches in 4 1/3 innings and surrendered three runs.

Mets: Torres will have center-field job upon return
• Whenever Andres Torres returns from his strained left calf, the center-field job will be his, Mets manager Terry Collins confirmed Tuesday.

In place of Torres, who sustained the injury on opening day, Kirk Nieuwenhuis is hitting .292 with a homer and three RBIs. The injured Torres performed light outfield drills for the first time on Tuesday.

"I think he's still an important piece of this puzzle," Collins said of Torres. "Nieuwenhuis has has played great. But Andres Torres, we got him for a reason. One of the things he provides is that guy who can get in scoring position for us."

• David Wright's ninth-inning single extended his streak of reaching base safely at least twice to eight games. That is the longest stretch to start a season in team history, and Wright is hitting .517 through 29 at-bats.

• The Mets have four multi-home run games in their first 11 contests, including three in their last five. The Mets are 4-0 when they hit two or more home runs in a game this season.

Braves: Heyward's hot streak continues
• With an RBI single in the second inning on Tuesday, Jason Heyward extended his hitting streak to seven games.

During that stretch, the Braves' right fielder is hitting .444 with two home runs and four RBIs.

• Braves righty Tim Hudson said he is aiming to rejoin the Braves for the club's game on April 29 against Pittsburgh. He has thrown in two Minor League rehab starts and is scheduled for two more in his recovery from spinal fusion surgery.

The first of those outings comes Wednesday with Triple-A Gwinnett.

"I feel like my body is in better shape, because I did have six weeks of Spring Training to get in shape, even though I wasn't pitching," Hudson said. "I wasn't down there just playing golf and eating donuts. I feel better physically than I normally do."

• With Tuesday's win, the Braves avoided dropping to 0-5 against the Mets for just the second time in franchise history. Atlanta lost its first five to the Mets in 1989.

Worth noting
• The Mets have faced Jurrjens plenty since he made his big league debut in 2007, but of the six hitters with more than 10 plate appearances against the Braves' righty, only catcher Josh Thole is hitting above .300 (4-for-13, .308 average). David Wright is hitting .250, but has bashed two homers in 34 plate appearances.

• Control seems to elude Dickey at Turner Field, where he has walked more batters than he has struck out in his six appearances. Dickey has a 4.98 ERA and 16 walks (15 K's) in 21 2/3 innings in Atlanta's home park.

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