Braves Drop Season's First Game Falling To The Mets, 1-0

Thursday, April 5, 2012
Johann Santana
Johann Santana
- photo by Tim Evearitt

NEW YORK -- While squandering multiple scoring opportunities, the Braves were not able to overcome the sixth-inning flurry that doomed Tommy Hanson and provided the Mets all they needed to celebrate a 1-0 Opening Day victory.

David Wright's sixth-inning single to left field accounted for the lone run during a game that was controlled by solid pitching efforts. Mets starter Johan Santana proved fortunate to escape the trouble he created in his fifth and final inning. Moments later, Hanson saw a leadoff walk sour what had the makings to be a memorable first Opening Day start.

Hanson induced a double play and recorded a three-pitch strikeout to pitch around his first two walks of the afternoon. But after issuing a sixth-inning leadoff walk to Andres Torres, he saw his outing end with Daniel Murphy and Wright recording consecutive singles.

After Wright's single gave the Mets a lead and put runners at first and second base with no outs, Kris Medlen stopped the bleeding by retiring the next three batters he faced.

The Braves left the bases loaded against Santana in the fifth inning and came up empty after putting two on with one out in the sixth inning. This trend continued after Tyler Pastornicky recorded his first Major League hit with a one-out, seventh-inning triple off Ramon Ramirez. This prompted the entry of Tim Byrdak, who killed the threat with consecutive strikeouts of Jose Constanza and Michael Bourn.

There were not many early scoring opportunities as Santana allowed just two hits in five innings. But during the final five innings, the Braves went hitless in six at-bats with a runner in scoring position.

Hanson surrendered a double to Murphy with his sixth pitch of the afternoon and then found a groove that carried him through the end of the fifth inning. The 25-year-old hurler retired the next seven batters he faced and did not allow another hit until Josh Thole produced an opposite-field single with two outs in the fifth.

This was Hanson's first start since right shoulder discomfort had limited him to 3 1/3 innings against the Mets on this same mound on Aug. 6. After missing the regular season's final seven weeks and resting during the winter, he has not revealed any problems with his shoulder.

Martin Prado's one-out, first-inning single stood as the Braves' only hit until Matt Diaz improved his career batting average against Santana to .500 (17-for-34) with a one-out, fifth-inning double. The Mets left-hander seemed to be in good position when he gained an 0-2 count against Pastornicky with two outs in the fifth. But he then issued consecutive walks to the patient Pastornicky and Hanson to load the bases.

Santana escaped the jam unscathed by getting Bourn to hit a chopper back to the mound. But the 16 pitches he threw after getting ahead of Pastornicky with the 0-2 count pushed his pitch count to 84 and put an end to his day. The former Cy Young Award winner missed the 2011 season while recovering from left shoulder surgery.

Box score 


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