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Updated: Saturday, April 9, 2005 12:04 AM EDT
RECAP | BOX SCORE | PLAY-BY-PLAY

1

(0-4)
3

(3-1)
  R H E  
Mets 1 9 1 WP: Thomson (1-0)
LP: Zambrano (0-1)
S: Kolb (3)  
Braves 3 7 0
Thomson throttles Mets as Braves win home opener

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- The faces on both teams have changed, but one thing remains a constant - the New York Mets cannot beat the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.

John Thomson allowed a run in seven innings and Julio Franco delivered a key insurance tally with a two-out single in the seventh as the Braves recorded a 3-1 triumph over the Mets.

Atlanta has served as the Mets' nemesis in the National League East Division for the last decade and has been particularly tough on New York at home since Turner Field opened in 1997.

The Braves have taken 44 of the 63 meetings between the teams here - not including the postseason, when Atlanta closed out New York in the 1999 NL Championship Series.

"It's a tough place for us," Mets catcher Mike Piazza said. "They get up for us and play us tough. We don't get a lot of breaks here. There's no excuse for us. But you have to stay optimistic. We've always had a tough time here, but you have to make it up elsewhere."

Thomson (1-0) allowed a homer to Piazza and seven singles. The veteran righthander did not walk a batter and struck out five.

"I needed to go out there and at least go seven, and I did," said Thomson, who gave a Braves bullpen that hurled 17-plus innings over the last three nights a much-needed break. "I had a good changeup tonight. My curveball was where I needed it to be and the location of my fastball was running in and out."

"Very rarely is a pitcher going to have all four of his pitches," Braves catcher Johnny Estrada said. "Tonight (Thomson) did."

Thomson has won his last six decisions dating to August 25, 2004 and has not lost to the Mets since May 12, 1999.

"I ain't giving a pitcher any credit, said Mets outfielder Cliff Floyd . "I don't care who they are. But (Thomson) did what he needed to do. He got some breaks and got a couple of double plays when he needed to. Little things like that helped him tonight."

Roman Colon worked around a hit in the eighth before Danny Kolb recorded his third save in as many contests.

New York starter Victor Zambrano (0-1) pitched well, allowing two runs and five hits in five innings. He did struggle a bit with his control, walking four, but struck out six.

"I felt pretty good," Zambrano said. "I was trying to keep the game close. I made good pitches. They hit a couple of ground balls hard."

Zambrano surrendered RBI singles to Adam LaRoche and Johnny Estrada in the opening inning and New York trailed 2-1 in the seventh, when pinch hitter Franco delivered a two-out, RBI single against Dae-Sung Koo.

"Today was a good situation," said the 46-year-old Franco, who with the hit tied Lloyd Waner for 88th on the all-time list with 2,458. "In that situation, you don't want to strike out, you want to put it in play. Luckily, I hit it up the middle."

The Braves have won three straight games, despite scoring only nine runs.

"I'd rather be scoring a ton of runs, pitching good and playing good defense," said Braves manager Bobby Cox . "We faced some good (pitchers)."

The same can't be said for the Mets, who fell to 0-4 for the first time since 1964.

"It's just four games," said Mets shortstop Jose Reyes . "We've got a lot of games left. Nothing to worry about. We have to come in tomorrow and win."

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