From the start, the New York Mets put plenty of runners on base against Paul Maholm.
Getting them home, that was the trouble.
Maholm and the Braves bullpen combined to give Atlanta three straight shutouts for the first time in exactly a decade, and the NL wild-card leaders beat the Mets 3-0 on Friday night.
The Mets were hitless in 10 tries with runners in scoring position, a persistent problem since the All-Star break.
"The thing we did so well when we had guys on base was to get two-out hits. But lately, we're not hitting. We're not hitting at all. And we haven't been able to get big hits here at home," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
The Mets lost their eighth straight series opener at Citi Field.
"You always hope your offense is going to give you what you need. Sometimes they give you a lot of runs. Sometimes you battle not to give up runs," starter Jonathon Niese said.
Ronny Cedeno led off the Mets first with a walk and Daniel Murphy followed with a solid single up the middle. But Maholm retired David Wright, Scott Hairston and Ike Davis in order, setting a tone for the whole game.
"He wiggled out of a lot of jams," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Coming off two 1-0 wins over Colorado, the Braves' staff stretched its scoreless streak to 28 innings. Atlanta last pitched three straight shutouts on Sept. 4-7, 2002, according to STATS LLC.
Jason Heyward hit his 25th homer in the fourth inning and Dan Uggla also connected.
This weekend marks Chipper Jones' last trip to New York to play the Mets, an opponent he has often wrecked in the past. The Mets presented the retiring 40-year-old star with a pricey piece of 3-D artwork as part of his farewell tour, while the crowd responded with its usual boos.
Jones did little, going 0 for 4, including a strikeout with the bases loaded, and making a throwing error from third base. Fortunately for the Braves, they did fine without him making a contribution.
Maholm (12-9) worked around five hits and three walks in 5 1-3 innings. He evened his record at 3-3 since the Braves got him in a trade with the Chicago Cubs on July 30, including a three-hit shutout at Citi Field on Aug. 10.
Chad Durbin got one out in the sixth and Luis Avilan retired pinch-hitter Lucas Duda on a grounder with runners on second and third to end the inning. Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty each pitched a scoreless inning and Craig Kimbrel worked the ninth for his 35th save in 38 chances.
Heyward put the Braves ahead with a drive off Niese (10-9) that landed on the roof of the Atlanta bullpen.
"He didn't miss my mistake," Niese said.
Uggla opened the seventh with a double against Bobby Parnell. Catcher Kelly Shoppach had him picked off, but made a wild throw into center field. The error moved up Uggla, and he scored on a sacrifice fly by David Ross.
Uggla hit his 18th home run with two outs in the ninth.
NOTES: Mets CF Andres Torres bruised his left knee making a diving catch on Martin Prado's liner in the second and left the game. He was listed as day-to-day. ... The Mets have scored three runs or less in eight straight home games. ... Mets SS Ruben Tejada got a day off for rest. Collins said Tejada might sit out again Saturday. ... Mets RHP Jenrry Mejia gave up one run in two innings during his first major league game since Sept. 15, 2010. He had Tommy John surgery in May 2011. "It's been a long time since I've been here, but it felt good to be back," he said.