April 8, 2012: Mets Complete Season-Opening Sweep

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Date: April 8, 2012
Mets starter: Jon Niese
Mets: 7
Braves: 5
Winning pitcher: Jon Niese
Key player(s): Jon Niese, Ruben Tejada, Daniel Murphy
Key play: Murphy’s and Tejada’s two-run doubles

The Mets and Braves faced each other on Easter Sunday afternoon at Citi Field. The teams played the finale of a three-game series to open the season. The Mets completed a sweep of the series with a 7-5 win over Atlanta.

Mets’ starter Jon Niese pitched a scoreless top of the first inning. Ruben Tejada led off the bottom half with a double to left field. Tejada advanced to third base on Daniel Murphy’s ground out to second baseman Dan Uggla and came home via a sacrifice fly by David Wright. Braves’ starter Mike Minor then struck out Ike Davis to end the inning.

After a scoreless second inning, Niese struck out the side in order in the top of the third. Minor hurled a perfect bottom half and Niese again retired all three Atlanta batters in the top of the fourth. Murphy began the bottom of the inning with a double to center field. Wright and Davis drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Jason Bay hit a sacrifice fly to drive home Murphy for the Mets’ second run of the game. Minor retired Lucas Duda on an inning-ending fly ball to center fielder Michael Bourn. Niese then set down the Braves 1-2-3 in the top of the fifth.

Niese and Tejada got consecutive singles with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Murphy followed with a double to drive them home for a 4-0 Mets lead. Wright was given an intentional walk and Davis hit a fly ball to left fielder Matt Diaz for the third out. Niese pitched a perfect top of the sixth and Bay drew a walk to begin the bottom half. Duda hit a single and Minor was replaced on the mound by Braves’ reliever Cristhian Martinez. Scott Hairston greeted Martinez with a double that plated Bay. Martinez followed up by striking out Mike Nickeas and Niese. Tejada doubled to score Duda and Hairston, increasing the Mets’ lead to seven runs. Martinez then got Murphy to ground out to Uggla and end the inning.

Uggla drew a walk to open the top of the seventh. Freddie Freeman singled for the first Atlanta hit of the game. Diaz reached on an error by right fielder Duda that brought home Uggla and moved Freeman to third base. An ensuing double by Jason Heyward scored Freeman and Diaz to cut the Mets’ lead to 7-3. With Mets’ reliever Manny Acosta facing Jack Wilson, Heyward stole third base. Wilson followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home Heyward with the Braves’ fourth run. Acosta struck out pinch-hitter Jose Constanza and Bourn to finish off the inning. The Mets loaded the bases with two outs against Atlanta’s Kris Medlen in the bottom half. Hairston then hit a ground ball to third baseman Martin Prado for an inning-ending double play.

Prado flied out to Duda to begin the top of the eighth inning. Brian McCann homered for the fifth Atlanta run of the game. Acosta retired Uggla on a fly ball to center fielder Hairston and Mets’ reliever Tim Byrdak got Freeman to fly out to Duda and end the inning. Braves’ reliever Eric O’Flaherty then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

For New York, reliever Frank Francisco retired pinch-hitter Juan Francisco on a fly ball to left fielder Bay to start the top of the ninth inning. Heyward popped out to second baseman Ronny Cedeno. Frank Francisco then struck out Wilson to end the game. The Mets had a victory to finish off a season-opening three-game sweep.