By GEORGE HENRY, Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) _ Ben Sheets pitched six scoreless innings in his
first game in two years and the Atlanta Braves beat the New York
Mets 6-1 on Sunday for their season-high seventh straight victory.
Freddie Freeman hit a three-run homer in a six-run fifth inning
and Sheets (1-0) allowed two hits and one walk with five strikeouts
in his first start since July 19, 2010.
The Mets have lost four straight and seven of 10. Atlanta
improved to a season-high 10 games over .500.
Johan Santana (6-6) gave up eight hits, six runs, two walks and
struck out three in five innings.
The Braves had placed just two runners in scoring position
before Matt Diaz, who began the game with a .514 in 35 career
at-bats against Santana, doubled to lead off the fifth.
After Paul Janish walked, Bourn hit a one-out, opposite-field
RBI double down the line in left to score Diaz from second and make
Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen was ejected during a mound visit
following Bourn’s hit. When plate umpire C.B. Bucknor reached the
mound, Warthen began arguing with him, apparently because Bucknor
called Santana’s fastball outside on the pitch that preceded
New York manager Terry Collins, who was ejected the day before,
came on the field and spoke with crew chief Dale Scott near the
third-base line, but walked back to dugout without further
Martin Prado followed with a sacrifice fly RBI to score Janish,
and Bourn crossed the plate from third on Jason Heyward’s RBI
single. After Chipper Jones singled, Freeman hit his 12th homer to
give the Braves a 6-0 lead.
Ramon Ramirez and Miguel Batista pitched the last three innings
for New York.
Kris Medlen replaced Sheets and gave up Andres Torres’ RBI
single to make it 6-1 in the seventh. Eric O’Flaherty got the third
out of the eighth, and Anthony Varvaro pitched a scoreless ninth
Sheets, unsigned after he missed all of 2011 following elbow
ligament replacement surgery, escaped a jam in the third with
runners on second and third when David Wright flew out to deep
Sheets threw 88 pitches, 57 for strikes. In his previous start
two years ago, he lost 2-1 to Boston while pitching for Oakland.
Making his 242nd career start, Sheets improved to 91-92 and
lowered his ERA to 3.77. Against the Mets, Sheets improved to 5-2
with a 4.05 ERA. The Braves purchased the former Milwaukee ace’s
contract from Double-A Mississippi before the game.
Santana hadn’t pitched since twisting his right ankle while
covering first base in an 8-7 loss to the Chicago Cubs on July 6.
Since throwing the Mets’ first no-hitter on June 1 against St.
Louis, Santana dropped to 3-4 with a 5.45 ERA in his last seven
starts. He has given up 11 homers over that span.
Santana, who hasn’t gotten a win against the Braves since Sept.
2, 2010, had the shortest start of his career, 1 1-3 innings, in a
9-3 loss at Turner Field on April 17.
NOTES: He threw 95 pitches, 56 for strikes. It was the third
time in seven starts that Santana has allowed at least six runs.
… Mets RF Lucas Duda will have his left hamstring examined by a
doctor in New York on Monday. He was held out of the lineup for the
second straight game. … Janish, who was acquired in a Saturday
trade with Cincinnati, played in the majors for the first time this
season. The 29-year-old spent the last 31/2 months at Triple-A
Louisville. … Prado made his first start at 2B since 2009. …
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said RHP Randall Delgado will be
recalled Saturday to start one of the Braves’ doubleheader games at
Washington. Delgado was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett to make room
on the roster for Sheets. … Atlanta placed SS Jack Wilson on the
DL to make room for Janish.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)