After Johan Santana and the New York Mets shut down the Atlanta Braves on Opening Day and proceeded to beat them in their first four meetings, the Braves got their revenge on Tuesday as they knocked around Santana en route to the shortest outing of his career.
It seemed the Mets were in trouble immediately when Jason Bay got turned around in the bottom of the first by a Michael Bourn flyball, dropping it just short of the left field warning track and leading to a run.
The Braves really put things together in the second inning when Dan Uggla, who previously had one hit and one walk in 22 plate appearances against Santana, drew a walk to lead off. Matt Diaz, who is now 18-for-35 against Santana, lined a single up the middle to put runners at first and second.
Freddie Freeman would be the key at bat in the inning, when he forced Santana to throw 11 pitches in what resulted in an opposite field RBI-double to put runners at second and third and still nobody out. Tyler Pastornicky hit a double of his own, which was followed by an Ike Davis throwing error and a Jason Heyward RBI-single.
Santana had previously completed three innings only three times in his career, with the last coming in 2009. The 1 1/3 innings after a five-run second inning resulted in the shortest outing of his career.
Freeman added another RBI-single in the fifth, and Juan Francisco hit his first homer as a Brave in the eighth to bring the score to its 9-3 final. The Atlanta offense provided plenty of cushion for Randall Delgado, who won his second game in as many starts. The 22-year-old went 5 1/3 innings and gave up two runs and four hits in the fourth inning, which would have been avoided had Uggla, Bourn and Pastornicky not lost track of a two-out pop-up by Jason Bay in the twilight sky.
The rubber game of the series will be a noon start Wednesday. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey will take the mound for the Mets, and Jair Jurrjens will look to get on track with the Atlanta Braves.
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