published Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Braves finally beat Mets, 9-3

Atlanta Braves Dan Uggla is shown against the New York Mets a Major League Baseball game Tuesday, April, 17, 2012 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Atlanta Braves Dan Uggla is shown against the New York Mets a Major League Baseball game Tuesday, April, 17, 2012 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Photo by Associated Press.

By Paul Newberry, The Associated Press

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves finally beat the New York Mets, taking advantage of shaky defense to hand Johan Santana the shortest start of his career in a 9-3 victory Tuesday night.

Tyler Pastornicky's two-run double highlighted a five-run second inning that finished off Santana. Randall Delgado (2-0) won it for the Braves, who lost their first four games against the Mets this season.

Two costly errors -- Jason Bay dropped a fly ball, Ike Davis made a wild throw -- led to a pair of unearned runs against Santana (0-2), who allowed just one run in his first two games.

He was lifted after getting only four outs, finished off by Jason Heyward's run-scoring single that made it 6-0. Santana had never gone less than three innings in his previous 265 starts.

The night turned cool and blustery after an afternoon storm front moved through Atlanta, forcing the teams to use the indoor cages for batting practice.

The swirling winds led to some adventurous plays in the field. Leading off in the bottom of the first, Michael Bourn lifted a fly ball to deep left that looked like an easy out for Bay. After all, he had leaped above the wall the night before to prevent a homer by Jack Wilson.

This time, the ball deflected off the side of Bay's glove at the edge of the warning track, an error that left Bourn at second base. He tagged and went to third on Heyward's flyout, then did it again on Chipper Jones' sacrifice fly.

The Braves blew it open in the second. Dan Uggla led off with a walk, Matt Diaz singled to center and Freddie Freeman kept fouling pitches off until he got one he liked from Santana. On the 11th pitch of the at-bat, the first baseman lined an opposite-field double into the left-field corner to bring home Uggla.

Pastornicky followed with another opposite-field double, this one just inside the first-base bag to give Atlanta a 4-0 lead. Then, with Delgado putting down a bunt, Davis made an ill-advised decision to take a shot at Pastornicky instead of the sure out at first. It would've been close even with a good throw, but Davis flung it far wide of the bag, the ball skipping down the left-field line while Pastornicky trotted home.

Bourn finally made the first out of the inning on a grounder to second, but Heyward's RBI single to left-center ended Santana's night. He gave up four hits, walked one and didn't strike out anyone -- the first time that's happened to him as a starter.

The Mets took advantage of an Atlanta defensive miscue in the fourth. Bay lifted a popup behind second base, but Uggla never saw it and none of his teammates arrived in time to make the catch. The ball fell to the ground, giving Bay a fortuitous double.

He scored on the first of three straight two-out hits, Josh Thole's single to center. Kirk Nieuwenhuis kept it going, and pitch-hitter Mike Baxter ripped an RBI single up the middle to make it 6-2. Delgado escaped a potentially big inning by getting Ruben Tejada to pop out to Freeman against the railing in front of the Braves' first-base dugout.

Tejada swiped at his bat in disgust, knowing he had missed a chance to get the Mets back in the game.

The Braves regained their six-run lead in the fifth against Ramon Ramirez. Diaz had a sacrifice fly and Freeman drove in his second run of the night with a two-out single.

Delgado went 5 1/3 innings and allowed three runs and seven hits. Kris Medlen got out of a jam in the sixth by striking out David Wright, pitching 2 2/3 scoreless innings. Juan Francisco added a pinch-hit homer for the Braves in the eighth.

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