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JOHAN SANTANA LOOKS IN GREAT SHAPE AND THE METS BEAT THE BRAVES
Mon, 09 Apr 2012 12:26 PM EDT

Back on a major league mound for the 1st time in 19 months, Santana tossed 5 innings of 2-hit ball in his long awaited return from shoulder surgery and David Wright hit an RBI single to lead the N.Y Mets past the Atlanta Braves 1-0 in their season opener.

New York’s made over bullpen picked up for Santana and shut down the Braves, whilst the shortened barriers at changed Citi Field hardly came into play. However it wasn’t all excellent news for the Mets, who studied new center fielder Andres Torres hobble off after re-injuring his left calf.

Torres said he’s headed to the disabled list and back to Florida for a rehabilitation program.

It was the 1st time since 1996 that Atlanta fielded an Opening Day lineup without Chipper Jones, and the Braves were punchless at the plate. Coming off a near-record collapse last September that cost the team a playoff spot, Atlanta managed only 4 hits towards Santana and 4 relievers.

Anticipated to complete last in a loaded-up National League East, the Mets have slashed $43.4 million off last year’s Opening Day payroll — apparently the biggest 1-year drop in baseball history. But with Santana eventually in uniform again, it is a day filled with cheerfulness.

Santana struck out 5 and squirmed out of a 5th-inning jam in his 1st big league show since beating the Braves 4-2 on Sept. 2, 2010. He had surgical treatment 12 days later to repair a torn anterior cruciate capsule in his left shoulder.

“I’m OK with the form all stopped up,” the 2-time Cy Young Award winner recounted. “I need to make certain I’ll be able to locate all my pitches and mix them all, and I believe today was a good day.”

On the other side of the field, Atlanta was missing 2 key pieces. Jones, who recently announced his plans to retire after this season, is on the disabled list following arthroscopic knee surgery to fix a torn meniscus. Also on the mend is ace Tim Hudson, who had offseason back surgery.

In his absence, Tommy Hanson got the start and wound up with a hard-luck defeat.

Torres, acquired from San Francisco in an offseason trade, drew a leadoff walk from Hanson (0-1) in the 6th and scored on Wright’s single. Moments later, Torres took a wrong perspective on a triple by Tyler Pastornicky, the rookie’s 1st major league hit, and pulled up while chasing the ball. NFL scores

Torres originally strained his calf March 20 but hurried back for Opening Day.

Santana retired 12 in a row after Martin Prado’s 1st-inning single, striking out the 3-4-5 hitters in succession before Matt Diaz doubled in the 5th. His fastball mostly went from 86 miles per hour to 89 mph, and his signature changeup seemed sharp. NFL odds

The left-hander walked 2 uninterrupted batters with 2 outs in the fifth, including Hanson. Santana went to a full count on Bourn with the bases loaded and, with the crowd on its feet, got the speedy leadoff man to hit an inning-ending comebacker.


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