Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 4/5/12
NEW YORK (AP) -- Johan Santana pitched five innings of two-hit ball in his long-awaited return from shoulder surgery and David Wright hit an RBI single to lead the New York Mets past the Atlanta Braves 1-0 in their season opener Thursday. New York's revamped bullpen picked up for Santana and shut down the Braves, while the shortened fences at reconfigured Citi Field hardly came into play. But it wasn't all good news for the Mets, who watched new center fielder Andres Torres hobble off after re-injuring his calf. It was the first time since 1996 that Atlanta fielded an opening-day lineup without Chipper Jones, and the Braves were punchless at the plate. Coming off a near-record collapse last September that cost the team a playoff spot, Atlanta managed only four hits. On a sunny, 53-degree afternoon, the Mets honored late catcher Gary Carter and announced a sellout crowd of 42,080 -- the largest ever at Citi Field, which opened in 2009. There did appear to be patches of empty seats, however. Expected to finish last in a loaded-up NL East, the Mets have slashed 43.4 million off last year's opening-day payroll -- believed to be the largest one-year drop in baseball history. But with Santana back on the mound for the first time in 19 months, it was a day of optimism. The two-time Cy Young Award winner struck out five and wriggled out of a fifth-inning jam. It was his first big league appearance since beating the Braves 4-2 on Sept. 2, 2010. He had surgery 12 days later to repair a torn anterior cruciate capsule in his left shoulder. On the other side of the field, Atlanta was missing two key pieces. Jones, who recently announced his plans to retire after this season, is on the disabled list following arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Also on the mend is ace Tim Hudson, who had offseason back surgery. In his absence, Tommy Hanson got the opening-day start and wound up with a hard-luck loss. With the Mets celebrating their 50th anniversary, the crowd was hushed as Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner read the starting lineup from a podium behind home plate. The 89-year-old Kiner has been a Mets broadcaster since their inception. Carter's wife and three children unveiled a logo on the left-center wall honoring the star slugger who helped lead the Mets to their most recent World Series championship in 1986. Shaped like home plate, it has "Kid" written above an "8" -- Carter's nickname and number during his 19-year career. It's the same symbol the Mets are wearing on their sleeves as a tribute this season. There was also a moment of silence for Carter and his family members also threw out ceremonial first pitches to several of his former Mets teammates. The Hall of Famer died of a brain tumor in February at age 57. Torres, acquired from San Francisco in an offseason trade, drew a leadoff walk from Hanson (0-1) in the sixth and scored on Wright's single. Moments later, Torres took a bad angle on a triple by Tyler Pastornicky, the rookie's first major league hit, and pulled up while chasing the ball toward the wall. Tim Byrdak, back already from March 13 knee surgery, struck out Jose Constanza and Michael Bourn to escape the jam. Ramon Ramirez (1-0), obtained in the same deal as Torres, got four outs to earn the win. Jon Rauch worked a 1-2-3 eighth and new closer Frank Francisco pitched a perfect ninth for the save. Santana retired 12 in a row after Martin Prado's first-inning single, striking out the 3-4-5 hitters in succession before Matt Diaz doubled in the fifth. His fastball mostly ranged from 86-89 mph, and his signature changeup looked sharp. The left-hander walked two consecutive batters with two outs, though, including Hanson. Santana went to a full count on Bourn with the bases loaded and, with the crowd on its feet, got the speedy leadoff man to hit an inning-ending comebacker. NOTES: A longtime Mets nemesis, Jones was booed during pregame introductions even though Howie Rose's announcement noted the slugger was beginning his final major league season. Jones hopes to be back in time for Atlanta's home opener April 13 against Milwaukee. ... Pastornicky went 1 for 2 with a walk in his big league debut. ... Hudson (back surgery) is slated to throw 40-50 pitches in a rehab outing Saturday for Class-A Rome. He could be back by late April or early May. ... Mets LF Jason Bay fell just short of a homer in front of the new fence in left-center.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

U.S. Senator “appalled” by Bettman’s stance on concussions

Team USA’s Opening Ceremony uniforms look a little treasonous

Lawyer who reps concussion lawsuit wants to speak with Bettman

Former NFL LB Armstrong, wife reportedly killed by 16-year-old son

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Nationals among multiple teams inquiring on Mark Melancon

McClain does not show up for Cowboys’ training camp

Andre Johnson agrees to two-year deal with Titans

Is it time to start taking West Ham seriously?

Storyline from 'Ballers' plays out in Cowboys preseason camp

Texas A&M creates a very sexist version of their fight song for women

Brown, Marshall are apparently serious about their car bet

Lacy, Starks could split carries to start season

Cyborg Santos post-surgery skull photos are eerie

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Hockey team unveils Clinton, Trump bobbleheads

Bennett compares chemistry with Pats QBs to his love life

Crowell still making amends for controversial Instagram post

Report: LeBron urged Justin Bieber not to perform at RNC

Luck refutes Matt Hasselbeck’s assertion he never showers

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker