Newly acquired Francoeur backs Santana as Mets shut out Reds

NEW YORK -- Jeff Francoeur's name was misspelled when the lineup was posted outside the New York Mets' clubhouse. A few fans at Citi Field encouraged him to go back to Atlanta. A baserunning blunder led to some razzing in the dugout.

Francoeur laughed off all of it. Just one night in and the 25-year-old slugger was well on his way to a fresh start in the Big Apple.

Francoeur had a two-run single in his Mets debut and Johan Santana pitched seven sharp innings, leading New York to a 4-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.

"It was awesome," Francoeur said with a wide grin. "Probably, it was even cool for me to have Santana throwing the first night you're here, coming in with an energized crowd. The place was packed and that's something as a player you thrive on."

Omir Santos had three hits for New York, which scored all its runs in the first two innings. Leadoff hitter Angel Pagan scored twice and swiped two bases in his second game back after being sidelined with a strained groin.

"Things really worked out well for us there early," manager Jerry Manuel said. "Pagan kind of set the table for us."

Santana (10-7) allowed five hits, struck out five and walked one, taking advantage of some rare run support. New York scored seven runs in the left-hander's previous five starts.

While the Mets were all smiles, the Reds had a rough night. Johnny Cueto (8-6) turned in another shaky start, and right fielder Jay Bruce broke his right wrist trying to make a sliding catch.

"It seems like we get one guy back and then we lose another guy," manager Dusty Baker said. "I don't know what to say. I think we are being tested. We got to keep pushing and keep playing."

Francoeur got a warm greeting when he came to the plate with one out and the bases loaded in the first inning. The Mets acquired the free-swinging slugger and cash from the Braves on Friday for Ryan Church in a swap of outfielders.

Francoeur responded with a well-placed blooper over the head of first baseman Joey Votto, driving in Pagan and Luis Castillo. After Daniel Murphy walked, Santos singled to center to give the Mets a 3-0 lead.

"To be able to dump that one in the first inning felt good," Francoeur said. "Last thing I want to do is roll over my first pitch into a double play to end the inning."

Francoeur also singled in the seventh and was caught stealing by reliever Carlos Fisher, leading to some good-natured barbs when he returned to the dugout.

"Put it this way," he said. "I haven't ran too much in Atlanta and it's something I'm going to work on with them."

"I loved my time in Atlanta," Francoeur said. "It's where I
was from. But at the same time I feel I needed a change and this is
something that's going to, I think, fit real well."

Francoeur had received a raft of phone calls and text messages after he was traded to the Mets, including some advice from former New York left-hander Tom Glavine.

"He just told me, 'Make the most of it. If you play hard, you
hustle, you do the things right up here, the fans will love you,"'
Francoeur said. "I like to believe I'm kind of that type of
player, where I love to play hard. I love to get dirty and play the
game the right way."

Cueto gave up four runs and nine hits over five innings, dropping to 2/3 with a 7.31 ERA in his last six starts. It was the right-hander's first game since he allowed a career-high nine runs while recording just two outs in a 22-1 loss at Philadelphia.

"I had a little difficulty out there," he said. "I wasn't locating my pitches the way you're supposed to."

Bruce went down when he rushed in trying to grab David Wright's blooper in the first inning. He got his glove on the ball, but it came out as his wrist folded back awkwardly.

Bruce grabbed at his arm, and Baker and a trainer came out of the dugout after Wright's hit loaded the bases with no outs. The crowd groaned as the replay was shown on TVs around the ballpark.

"I knew it wasn't in good shape when I got up," said Bruce, who was wearing a cast in the clubhouse after the game. "It hurt pretty bad. I was in pretty bad pain but you know it's part of the game I guess. Trying to make the play."

Bruce will fly back to Cincinnati on Sunday to be examined. Chris Dickerson replaced him in right.

The Reds put two runners on in the first and seventh but Santana kept them from scoring.

"I felt good. I was throwing my two-seamers and my changeup pretty good," said Santana, who earned career win No. 119 to pass Freddy Garcia for most wins by a Venezuelan pitcher.

Pedro Feliciano worked the eighth and Francisco Rodriguez finished the six-hitter.

Cincinnati was shut out for the third time this season and has lost three of four overall.

Game notes
The Mets haven't homered in 74 innings since Fernando Tatis went deep in the sixth at Pittsburgh on July 2. ... New York optioned OF Nick Evans to Triple-A Buffalo and signed INF Angel Berroa to a minor league contract. Berroa was assigned to Buffalo. ... Reds SS Alex Gonzalez (right elbow surgery) was scheduled to hit off a tee and throw Saturday in Cincinnati. RHP Edinson Volquez (right elbow) was slated to long toss on flat ground.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.