Santana Delivers On Dazzling Debut, Braves Win 4-3

Mike Zarrilli

Ervin Santana pitched 8 innings of shutout ball in his Braves debut

Another day, another great outing from a Braves starter. This time, the starting work was done by Braves debutant Ervin Santana, whose first 8 innings as an Atlanta Brave were stellar: 8 innings, 3 hits, 6 strikeouts, and most importantly, 0 runs allowed as the Braves reversed last night's result against the Mets to the tune of a 4-3 victory.

The game got off to a lovely start for the Braves. Following a quick 1st inning from Santana, Jason Heyward battled Zack Wheeler over an at-bat that had more pitches than Santana had in the entire top of the 1st. The end result of the 11-pitch duel? A leadoff homer for Heyward, his second home run of the season. Later on in the 1st with a runner on 1st base, things could have gotten worse for the Mets with Freddie Freeman at bat. However, Juan Lagares showed off his excellent fielding skills to make a dazzling catch at the wall to rob Freeman of a run.

The scoring would end there, but the highlights continued in the top of the 2nd, which is when defensive maestro Andrelton Simmons did this:




The Braves would open their scoring account again in the 5th inning, this time manufacturing the runs. After a rally that included Ervin Santana adding a hit to what turned out to be a dazzling debut in a Braves uniform, Heyward hit a single to drive in Evan Gattis. After Simmons got a single to load the bases, Freeman then delivered a single of his own to bring in both Heyward and Santana to stretch the lead to 4. Santana's run was only the 2nd of his career, and helped to put the icing on what turned out to be a winning cake in his first game as a National League pitcher.

In the 6th with a runner on 2nd and 2 outs, David Wright nearly clawed a run back for the Mets on what was nearly a gapper. I say "nearly" because Jason Heyward made a diving catch to save what was then a shutout.

The shutout came to an end in the 9th, and that's when things got a bit wonky. After Jordan Walden allowed Eric Young and David Wright to reach base with one out, Fredi Gonzalez decided that it was time for Craig Kimbrel to come in. After walking the first batter, Kimbrel struck out Lucas Duda to bring up Juan Lagares. Lagares then hit a single to right to score Wright and Young. Travis d'Arnaud then hit a liner to right to bring in Curtis Granderson to make it a 1-run game. Kimbrel eventually got things under control and struck out Ruben Tejada to end a scary 9th inning and put the Braves back in the W column.

The Braves improved to 5-3 with the win, while the Mets fell to 3-5. Tomorrow's rubber match should be an interesting matchup between David Hale and Jenrry Mejia, and it will start at 7:10.

Source: FanGraphs

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