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ATL@CWS: Hudson escapes jam with double play in fifth

The sixth game after the All-Star break means that both the Braves and Mets will turn over their rotations for the first time in the second half when the two teams square off on Wednesday night at Citi Field.

Jeremy Hefner and Tim Hudson each knocked off the rust with varying degrees of success last Friday, but the way this week's four-game series has gone so far, neither should expect very much in the way of run support: through 18 innings of action, Atlanta and New York have combined to score eight runs and leave 29 runners on base.

Hefner's next start could not have come any quicker after he was lit up for eight runs on 10 hits before making an early exit in Friday's 13-8 loss to the Phillies. The right-hander allowed the first four batters to reach in the bottom of the third before getting the hook, but by that point he had given up as many runs as he had in his previous six starts combined.

"I don't think he hit a spot the entire first inning," Mets manager Collins said after the game on Friday. "Anything he wanted to throw, he didn't throw it there. He came in the dugout after he got the pitcher out and thought he might be settling in, and we get in the third inning -- he didn't throw a ball when he needed to."

Meanwhile, Hudson nearly squandered the three-run lead his battery mate Brian McCann staked him to on Friday, allowing four earned runs in 7 1/3 innings as the Braves opened their post-break road trip with a 6-4 win in Chicago. While the Braves have won Hudson's last four starts, the right-hander has received six or more runs of support on each occasion. The Braves had scored five runs or less in Hudson's nine previous starts before his current streak began.

The Braves may have missed Mets ace Matt Harvey yet again -- Atlanta will have faced Harvey just once in 14 meetings this season after this week's series -- but the rest of the rotation has given them plenty of trouble. Dillon Gee tossed his second consecutive gem against the Braves in a losing effort on Monday night, and Carlos Torres picked up his first win as a starter with six solid innings in the Mets' 4-1 win on Tuesday.

Braves: No timetable for Upton's return
• So far this week, B.J. Upton has been cleared for light jogging exercises and hitting off a tee -- the center fielder's first on-field activity since straining a right adductor muscle while diving for a line drive on July 12.

However, the team has not established a timetable for Upton's return, and he will not be ready to be activated when he is eligible to come off the disabled list on Saturday -- although he could begin a Minor League rehab stint as early as next week.

"It definitely feels a lot better than last week," Upton said before Tuesday's game. "I'm definitely making progress, and I don't see it being too much longer."

• Right-handed reliever Kameron Loe made his Braves debut on Tuesday night, facing the minimum in a scoreless eighth that dropped his season ERA to 7.31 in 12 appearances with three different teams.

Mets: Marcum released after injury-riddled first half
• The Mets released Shaun Marcum on Tuesday afternoon after receiving confirmation that the injured right-hander was unlikely to pitch again this season.

Marcum was placed on the disabled list on July 9 and underwent shoulder surgery after he was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome. He had experienced numbness and tingling in his right hand during his last two starts.

• The club announced that 23-year-old right-hander Jenrry Mejia will likely start the afternoon game of the Mets' doubleheader against the Nationals on Friday. Mejia will be making his first Major League appearance of the season after allowing just one run in his first two starts for Double-A Binghamton.

Worth noting
• Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons hit his third career leadoff home run on Tuesday night.

• Mets first baseman Ike Davis' RBI double on Tuesday extended his hot hitting against Atlanta. In spite of his season-long search for consistency at the plate, Davis is 7-for-21 (.333) with four RBIs against the Braves this year.

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