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Saturday, April 07, 2012

Preview - Game 2 - Braves at Mets - Dickey tries for two in row

Atlanta Braves (0-1) at New York Mets (1-0), 1:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Atlanta - Jair Jurrjens (0-0, 0.00) New York - R.A. Dickey (0-0, 0.00)

Jair Jurrjens got off to a sparkling start in 2011. Atlanta is hoping the 26-year-old right-hander can repeat the magic from early last season, but avoid the rough patch that saw him end the year.

Jurrjens will be on the mound today for the Braves when they resume their season-opening series against the New York Mets. He began 2011 5-0 over his first six starts, but struggled down the stretch by allowing at least five runs in three of his last four appearances. That led to a 13-6 record with a 2.96 ERA in 23 starts, but he sat out September due to a knee injury.

Over 13 career starts against the Mets, Jurrjens has posted an 8-4 mark with a 2.94 ERA. Last season, he was 1-2 in three starts vs. New York.

R.A. Dickey will try to follow in the footsteps of a successful season-opening performance from Johan Santana when he gets the ball for the Mets. Dickey, a knuckleball specialist, went 8-13 with a 3.28 ERA in 33 games (32 starts) last year. He was winless in his last three starts, mostly due to little run support.

Dickey is 1-4 with a 4.01 ERA in 10 games (7 starts) against the Braves.

In Thursday's 1-0 Mets win, Santana gave up two hits with two walks and five strikeouts over five innings in his first start since beating the Braves on September 2, 2010. He missed all of last season while recovering from left shoulder surgery.

"I'm happy. Finally have an opportunity to go out there in a game that counts and definitely get it out of the way. It was very important and it was good," Santana said.

David Wright singled home the game's only run in the sixth inning off Atlanta starter Tommy Hanson. The Mets also lost center fielder Andres Torres with a strained left calf. It's the same injury that sidelined Torres for two weeks in spring training. Torres re-injured the calf ranging back to cut off a ball hit by Tyler Pastornicky in the seventh inning.

To replace Torres, the Mets recalled outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis from Triple-A Buffalo. Nieuwenhuis, 24, joins the big league club for the first time.

These teams split 18 games last year.

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