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Davies, Braves batter NY Mets
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Atlanta Braves second baseman Kelly Johnson fields a ball hit by New York Mets Shawn Green during the second inning Tuesday at Turner Field. Green was out at first. - photo by Associated Press
    ATLANTA — Kyle Davies dominated the New York Mets with his arm — and his bat.
    The Braves starter pitched eight strong innings Tuesday night and turned the game into a rout with a three-run homer over the center-field wall, leading Atlanta past the Mets 8-1 and tightening the race in the NL East.
    Davies allowed only six hits, but his biggest splash came in the sixth. The .096 career hitter drove a 3-1 fastball from Aaron Sele over the 400-foot sign, clearing the wall with plenty to spare.
    Over the last two years, Davies has been all or nothing at the plate. He went 1-for-23 in 2006, the only hit being a homer. His three-run drive off Sele snapped an 0-for-13 start to this season.
    Davies didn’t look all that pumped up about his latest homer, calmly circling the bases with his head down. There wasn’t even a smile when he touched home and was congratulated by teammates Andruw Jones and Willie Harris.
    The Braves returned home from a 4-6 road trip that dropped them from first to second behind the Mets, who had surged to the league’s best record by winning nine of 12.
    Atlanta closed to within 1 1/2 games of the division lead by knocking around one of its former starters. Jorge Sosa (3-1) surrendered six hits, walked three and was charged with five runs during his four-inning stint.
    The Braves scored two runs apiece in the second and third, then Scott Thorman hit a 1-2 pitch deep into the right-field stands in the fourth. Shawn Green didn’t even bother turning around as the ball landed midway up in the lower deck.
    Handed the big lead, Davies (2-2) put together another strong start to solidify his spot in the Braves’ thin rotation. Before the game, Atlanta cut struggling left-hander Mark Redman and will likely dip into the minors this weekend for another candidate for the fifth slot.
    Davies struggled through the first month, going 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA. But the right-hander has pitched much better in May, having lasted at least 6 2-3 innings in three of four appearances while lowering his ERA to 4.47.
    He allowed only two hits through the first four innings, and one of them was erased with a double play. By then, the Braves had already roughed up Sosa, who went 13-3 with a 2.55 ERA for the Braves in 2005 but was dumped the following year.
    After starting this season at New York’s Triple-A team in New Orleans, Sosa was recalled at the start of the month and won his first three starts, lasting at least 6 1-3 innings in each of them.
    He got off to another good start against his old team, striking out Edgar Renteria and Chipper Jones in the first.