New York Mets starting pitcher Johan Santana has always had trouble winning against the Atlanta Braves, but the last two outings have been brutal for him. Freddie Freeman led the Braves charge in the 9-3 win at Citi Field on Saturday night, and Santana didn't even get out of the second inning.
After beating the Braves on Opening Day to improve his career record to them to 4-6, Santana has now surrendered 18 earned runs in 7 2/3 innings over his last three starts against Atlanta.
"It was his first time back from his rehab, so maybe he wasn’t as sharp as we’ve seen him," Fredi Gonzalez said.
Santana looked like he was about to get out of the first without taking any damage when he struck out two batters after allowing Michael Bourn and Reed Johnson to single to start the game. Freeman jumped on a first-pitch fastball for a double down the right field line to drive in the first two runs of the game.
The lefty walked Dan Uggla to start the second inning before giving up singles to five of the next six batters, including Braves starting pitcher Kris Medlen. Medlen, Michael Bourn, Jason Heyward and finally Chipper Jones drove in runs on singles. The single by Jones chased Santana from the game after 1 1/3 innings, setting up Freeman's three-run homer off Jeremy Hefner.
Freeman's homer, which traveled 450 feet over the apple in center field, left Santana with a line of eight runs on eight hits. Freeman is on pace for 106 RBIs after his second five-RBI performance of the season.
“In BP I was feeling good, I finally got my top hand working real well today, and I was lucky enough to carry it over [to the game]," Freeman said.
Medlen provided 6 1/3 innings in his outing, his longest start of the season. He gave up one run on five hits and struck out seven. The only run he gave up came in the second inning when the Mets recorded three hits off him, including an RBI-single by Andres Torres. Medlen would settle down and retire 13 of the final 16 batters he faced.
Medlen has surrendered three runs in 16 2/3 innings over three starts since moving to the starting rotation from the bullpen, and the Braves have won each of his 14 starts dating back to May 29, 2010.
The Braves remain 4 1/2 games behind the Washington Nationals, who tallied their eighth straight win.
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