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Mets aim to continue hot start in Atlanta

Apr 17, 2012 - 2:53 PM (Sports Network) - Given how things have gone for the Mets over the past few seasons, their 7-3 start can be categorized as a surprise. No team has been shocked more by New York's turnaround than the Atlanta Braves.

The Mets look to remain undefeated against the Braves this season and get Johan Santana his first victory since 2010 as the National League East rivals play the middle contest of a three-game series at Turner Field.

New York hasn't finished above fourth place in the division since 2008 and did very little to upgrade this offseason other than get Santana back from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss all of 2011. However, four games against the Braves -- and four wins in that span -- have helped New York get off to a 7-3 start, its best since 2007.

The Mets began the season by sweeping the Braves in three games at home, then stretched their overall winning streak in this series to five in a row with last night's 6-1 victory. New York has outscored Atlanta 18-8 so far this season and have left Braves second baseman Dan Uggla impressed so far.

"If they stay healthy, they have a lineup that can hit," Uggla said following last night's loss. "They've got pitchers that are going to give them a chance. Their bullpen has been pretty solid so far. I never once thought they looked like a pushover or anything like that and they haven't been."

Dillon Gee certainly pushed Atlanta's lineup around, holding the Braves to just a run on four hits over seven innings of work.

"Anytime you give up one run against the Braves it's a nice outing," Gee said.

Ike Davis clubbed his second home run in as many games but is still batting just .139 on the season. The Mets hope his three-run shot off Atlanta starter Tommy Hanson will be the spark the first baseman needs.

Hanson was tagged for five runs -- four earned -- on five hits in seven frames. He was the hard-luck loser in the Braves' 1-0 setback on Opening Day.

Tha loss was part of Atlanta's 0-4 start, but the club had rebounded with five straight wins prior to last night's loss.

Santana will try to cool off the Braves again tonight and earn his first victory since he beat Atlanta on Sept. 2, 2010. He is 3-6 with a 2.14 earned run average in 13 career meetings with the club.

The 33-year-old lefty has made a solid return from injury so far, hurling five scoreless innings in his season debut on April 5, getting a no-decision against the Braves despite giving up just two hits and a pair of walks with five strikeouts.

With a lengthier pitch count, Santana took a hard-luck loss versus the Nationals on Wednesday, logging 99 pitches and yielding just one run with eight strikeouts in a 4-0 defeat.

The Braves counter with 22-year-old Randall Delgado, who is set to make his second start of the season and ninth of his career.

The right-hander went 1-1 with a 2.83 ERA in seven starts last year, then opened his 2012 campaign with a win over the Astros on Wednesday. Delgado allowed two runs over five innings with six strikeouts.

"I thought he gave us everything we were looking for," said Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez about his starter. "He hadn't pitched in over a week so we didn't want to leave him out there all night, but he did his job great."

Delgado will face the Mets for the first time.

  • NEW YORK: 3
    ATLANTA: 9

    Apr 17 10:04 PM

  • Pinch-Hitter Juan Francisco lead-off Home Run (1) to right center. Jack Wilson due up.

    Mets 3, Braves 9  Bot 8, 0 OutsApr 17 9:51 PM

  • Daniel Murphy singled to third scoring Kirk Nieuwenhuis with two out. On the play, Ruben Tejada advances to second. Runners on first and second and David Wright due up.

    Mets 3, Braves 8  Top 6, 2 OutsApr 17 9:13 PM
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    Mets 3, Braves 8  Top 6, 2 OutsApr 17 9:13 PM

  • Freddie Freeman singled to center scoring Brian McCann with two out. Runner on first and Tyler Pastornicky due up.

    Mets 2, Braves 8  Bot 5, 2 OutsApr 17 8:58 PM

  • Matt Diaz sacrifice fly out to right scored Chipper Jones with two out. On the play, Brian McCann advances to third. Runner on third and Freddie Freeman due up.

    Mets 2, Braves 7  Bot 5, 2 OutsApr 17 8:57 PM
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    Mets 2, Braves 7  Bot 5, 2 OutsApr 17 8:57 PM

  • Pinch-Hitter Mike Baxter singled to center scoring Josh Thole with two out. On the play, Kirk Nieuwenhuis advances to second. Runners on first and second and Ruben Tejada due up.

    Mets 2, Braves 6  Top 4, 2 OutsApr 17 8:28 PM

  • Kirk Nieuwenhuis singled to center. On the play, Josh Thole advances to third. Runners on first and third with two outs and Miguel Batista due up.

    Mets 1, Braves 6  Top 4, 2 OutsApr 17 8:27 PM
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    Mets 1, Braves 6  Top 4, 2 OutsApr 17 8:27 PM

  • Miguel Batista enters the game for the Mets with a runner on first and one out.

    Mets 0, Braves 6  Bot 2, 1 OutApr 17 8:00 PM

  • Randall Delgado reached first on a sacrifice bunt to first. On the play, Tyler Pastornicky scored on Ike Davis's throwing error with none out. Randall Delgado advances to second. Runner on second and Michael Bourn due up.

    Mets 0, Braves 5  Bot 2, 0 OutsApr 17 7:57 PM
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    Mets 0, Braves 5  Bot 2, 0 OutsApr 17 7:57 PM

  • Tyler Pastornicky doubled to right scoring Matt Diaz and Freddie Freeman with none out. Runner on second and Randall Delgado due up.

    Mets 0, Braves 4  Bot 2, 0 OutsApr 17 7:52 PM

  • Chipper Jones sacrifice fly out to left scored Michael Bourn with two out. None on and Brian McCann due up.

    Mets 0, Braves 1  Bot 1, 2 OutsApr 17 7:26 PM

  • NEW YORK: 0
    ATLANTA: 0
    Top 1, 0 Outs

    Apr 17 7:10 PM
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    Mets vs. BravesDec 20 6:02 AM