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Mets Beat Braves in Opener, Magic Johnson Watches Dodgers Win

Mets Pitcher Johan Santana
Johan Santana of the New York Mets throws a pitch against the Atlanta Braves on opening day at Citi Field in New York, on April 5, 2012. Photographer: Nick Laham/Getty Images

Johan Santana pitched five scoreless innings and David Wright drove in the lone run as the New York Mets defeated the Atlanta Braves 1-0 in their first game of the Major League Baseball season.

In San Diego, Magic Johnson, whose group is paying $2.3 billion for the Los Angeles Dodgers, watched his team open the season with a 5-3 defeat of the Padres. Johnson sat next to the dugout with Frank McCourt, who is selling the team.

At Progressive Field in Cleveland, J.P. Arencibia’s three-run homer gave the Toronto Blue Jays a 7-4 win against the Indians in 16 innings, the longest opening day game in major league history. The previous longest openers were 15 innings between Cleveland and Detroit in 1960 and 15 innings between Philadelphia and Washington in 1926.

At Citi Field, Santana, making his first start in 570 days after shoulder surgery, allowed two hits while striking out five and walking two. Both walks came with two outs in the fifth inning, to the Braves’ eighth- and ninth-place hitters. Michael Bourn then grounded out to Santana on a full count. Santana, who didn’t figure in the decision, left after 84 pitches, including 50 strikes. Ramon Ramirez, who pitched an inning and a third in relief, got the win.

Tommy Hanson (0-1) pitched five innings for the Braves, allowing one run on four hits, striking out four and walking three.

Tribute to Carter

Opening day at Citi Field began with a tribute to former Mets catcher Gary Carter, who died in February at 57 after a nine-month battle with brain cancer. Carter’s nickname, “Kid,” and uniform number, 8, were displayed on the outfield wall. His family threw out the honorary first pitch.

With the departure of All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes during the offseason and the team having trimmed its payroll while fighting a lawsuit tied to the Ponzi scheme run by Bernard L. Madoff, the Mets entered the season with more than 200-1 odds to win the World Series, according to Las Vegas-based handicapping information service Those are the third-longest odds of MLB’s 30 franchises.

With the Mets having hit a major league low 331 home runs since 2009, the team moved the outfield fences as much as 12 feet closer this season and lowered their height to 8 feet from 16, adding more than 100 seats in left field. The additional seats resulted in a record attendance of 42,080 yesterday at the four-year-old stadium.

The Philadelphia Phillies beat the Pirates 1-0 in Pittsburgh as Roy Halladay allowed two hits over eight innings, striking out five. Jonathan Papelbon retired the Pirates in order in the ninth inning to earn his first save as a Phillie.

The Detroit Tigers beat the Boston Red Sox 3-2 when Austin Jackson capped a three-hit day with a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth inning. Justin Verlander allowed two hits over eight shutout innings for the Tigers, who gave up the tying runs in the top of the ninth.

In other contests yesterday, the Washington Nationals beat the Chicago Cubs 2-1 and the Cincinnati Reds defeated the Miami Marlins 4-0.

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