ATLANTA -- For Ervin Santana, throwing strike after strike was even better than a no-hitter -- especially when his impressive command came in his Atlanta debut. Jeff Hornacek Jazz Jersey . Santana allowed only three hits over eight scoreless innings, Jason Heyward homered and drove in two runs and the Braves held off the New York Mets 4-3 on Wednesday night. Santanas first 20 pitches were strikes. He threw only one ball in his first three innings. "That one was close," he said with a smile before adding "Thats all right." Santana threw a no-hitter with the Angels in 2011. "This is better than a no-hitter," he said. "When you throw strikes all the time, that means youre in control of the game." Mets manager Terry Collins said he could name only one pitcher who threw so many consecutive strikes. "(Roy) Halladays about the only guy Ive seen," Collins said. "We chased some balls out of the zone early, which helped (Santana) a little bit." The Braves bullpen almost blew a 4-0 lead in the ninth. Jordan Walden walked Eric Young Jr. and gave up a one-out single to David Wright. Craig Kimbrel walked Curtis Granderson to load the bases before striking out Lucas Duda. Juan Lagares drove in two runs with a single, and Travis dArnaud added a run-scoring single before Kimbrel fanned Ruben Tejada for his fourth save. "Im more frustrated for giving up somebody elses runs and making it close," Kimbrel said. Santana (1-0) was sharp from the start, throwing 28 strikes in his first 29 pitches. He finished with six strikeouts and no walks. He said he didnt expect to have such strong command. "Honestly, no. In the bullpen I was all over the place," Santana said. "I just stepped over the line and focused and threw strikes." Santana signed a $14.1 million, one-year contract with Atlanta after the Braves lost starters Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy to season-ending elbow injuries last month. He pitched like he belongs near the top of the rotation as he threw only 88 pitches, 65 for strikes. Zack Wheeler (0-2) allowed four runs on eight hits in five innings for the Mets. Heyward took a 0-for-22 slump into the game and was hitting only .107, with three hits in 28 at-bats. He doubled his hits total with the homer and two singles in his first three at-bats. Heyward led off the first inning with an 11-pitch at-bat against Wheeler before pulling a 3-2 fastball over the wall in right-centre for his second homer. "Its a tough way to start the game, going that deep into the count and him hitting a home run, but it was a good at-bat for him," Wheeler said. "He just came out on top on that one." The Braves added three runs off Wheeler in the fifth. Evan Gattis doubled and scored on Heywards single to right field. Santana, who slapped a single to right for his fifth career hit, and Heyward scored on Freddie Freemans single. Each team had defensive highlights early in the game. In the first inning, Lagares raced back to make a leaping catch of Freemans drive at the wall, his cleat leaving a rip in the cushion. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons showed his Gold Glove form in the second. The shortstop went to his right to field a grounder by dArnaud before slipping, hopping up to one knee and throwing out dArnaud at first base, with Freeman stretching for the throw. An excited Santana pumped his fist, shouted and pointed at Simmons. Santana celebrated with another fist-pump after Heyward, sprinting toward the right-centre gap, ended the sixth by catching Wrights drive before falling on the warning track. NOTES: Braves LHP Luis Avilan, who left Tuesday nights game with a hamstring cramp, had no problems throwing in the bullpen before Wednesdays game and said hell be careful to remain hydrated in cooler weather. ... CF Jordan Schafer was 0-for-3 in his first start of the season. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said B.J. Upton, hitting .138, will be back in the lineup on Thursday. ... Braves LHP Mike Minor (sore shoulder) and RHP Gavin Floyd (elbow surgery) are scheduled for their next rehab appearances on Sunday. ... RHP Pedro Beato was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett to clear a roster spot for Santana. ... Braves RHP David Hale will face Mets RHP Jenry Mejia in the final game of the series on Thursday night. Donovan Mitchell Jersey .C. - The Carolina Hurricanes hope they now have the leadership tandem in place to turn the franchise around. Adrian Dantley Jersey . -- Chris Jones and Louisville have done a tremendous job protecting the basketball this season and thats led to easy victories. http://www.jazzauthentic.com/kids-jeff-hornacek-jazz-jersey/ .Y. - Carey Price had an early feeling that one goal might be enough to settle the latest matchup between his Montreal Canadiens and longtime Original Six foe, the New York Rangers.KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. - Maria Sharapova was happy to play an 11 a.m. match Monday, especially when her work day was already done by the time a mid-afternoon shower interrupted play. "Its nice to see all the players coming back in the locker room, and Im like, Ill see you later," she said. Sharapova started early but didnt start well. She won only five points in the first four games before settling down to reach the quarterfinals at the Sony Open by beating Kirsten Flipkens 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. The worlds top-ranked players had an easier time. Serena Williams eliminated fellow American CoCo Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-1. Rafael Nadal received a warning for slow play and still won in 59 minutes against Denis Istomin, 6-1, 6-0. Venus Williams lost her serve eight times and was beaten by No. 10 Dominika Cibulkova 6-1, 5-7, 6-3. Sharapova, meanwhile, endured her second successive ragged three-setter and found herself trailing 4-0 after only 15 minutes. "I usually like playing the first match, but I didnt start off the way I wanted to," she said. "Nothing was working." Seeded No. 4, Sharapova seemed thrown off by the lack of pace from Flipkens, a tour veteran who hits floating backhands and sometimes slices her forehand as well. "Shes a different type of opponent," Sharapova said. "There are not too many girls that hit a slice backhand 90 per cent of the time in the rallies. But I know what to expect from her game. It shouldnt be that much of a surprise." Sharapova finished with 36 unforced errors and only 13 winners. She also double-faulted 10 times. But she won — and was ready to leave Crandon Park before most matches had even begun. With the rest of the day free, what was on the schedule for one of the worlds most celebrated athletes? "Not much, actually," Sharapova said. "I like to have my afternoon tea around 5. Its like a Russian tradition. Ill see my dog, spend some time with him, then get treaatment, dinner, and then the day is over. Tony Bradley Jersey. " At the top of her to-do list for the rest of the week is winning her first Key Biscayne title. Sharapova has been the runner-up five times, including each of the past three years, but she downplays any frustration regarding her many near-misses. "Of course you want to be able to hold the winners trophy," she said. "But you also remember the matches that you got through to get in the position to get to the final stage. Its not like I didnt have my opportunities in those finals; I just didnt take them. Thats why you come back and hope for another chance." Williams seems to be gaining momentum as the tournament unfolds, as usual. She overcame sloppy patches in her first two matches and committed only one unforced error in the second set against Vandeweghe. But Williams was impressed with the 22-year-old American, and told her so when they met at the net after the match. "She said, Listen, you played so well. Weve got to play doubles. Wed do so well," Vandeweghe said. Williams next plays No. 5-seeded Angelique Kerber, who beat Ekaterina Makarova 6-4, 1-6, 6-3. No. 8 Petra Kvitova rallied past No. 12 Ana Ivanovic, who double-faulted nine times in the final two sets and lost 3-6, 6-0, 6-0. In mens third-round play, No. 10 seed John Isner, the only American to reach the mens third round, hit 17 aces and beat Nicolas Almagro 7-5, 6-3. No. 22-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov rallied from a break down in the final set to beat Dusan Lajovic 3-6, 6-0, 7-6 (5). Dolgopolov has gone 6-1 this month despite his worries about unrest in his native Ukraine, where his mother and other relatives still live. "For me it was important it has calmed down and no people are dying," said Dolgopolov, who was born in Kyiv. "But theres a little bit of chaos still going on, and no one knows who is the ruling party and who is controlling the country. Its a mess." ' ' '