Ben Sheets loved being back in the majors so much that he broke normal custom for starting pitchers and watched the last three innings from Atlanta's hot dugout instead of the clubhouse.
''I like to do that and I've had very good feedback on it,'' he said. ''You work so hard to get a victory. I ain't going to leave them out there. They're battling for me.''
Sheets pitched six scoreless innings in his first game in two years and the Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 6-1 on Sunday for their season-high seventh straight victory.
Freddie Freeman hit a three-run homer in a six-run fifth inning, and Sheets (1-0) allowed two hits and one walk with five strikeouts in his first start since July 19, 2010.
''I didn't know what to expect,'' Freeman said of his new teammate. ''It didn't look like he took two years off.''
The Mets have lost four straight and seven of 10. Atlanta improved to a season-high 10 games over .500.
Johan Santana (6-6) gave up eight hits, six runs, two walks and struck out three in five innings.
The Braves had placed just two runners in scoring position before Matt Diaz, who began the game with a .514 in 35 career at-bats against Santana, doubled to lead off the fifth.
After Paul Janish walked on a slider that appeared to cross the outside part of the plate for a strikeout, Michael Bourn hit a one-out, opposite-field RBI double down the line in left to score Diaz from second and make it 1-0.
Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen was ejected during a mound visit following Bourn's hit. When plate umpire C.B. Bucknor reached the mound, Warthen began arguing with him, apparently because Bucknor called Santana's fastball outside on the pitch that preceded Bourn's double.