- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 9, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) - Zack Wheeler’s latest trip to his home state was ruined by Jason Heyward and Ervin Santana.

New York scored three runs in the ninth, but the comeback fell short as Wheeler and the Mets fell to Santana and Atlanta 4-3 on Wednesday night.

Wheeler, who was born near Atlanta, won his major league debut at Turner Field on June 18 last season and was 3-0 with a 2.89 in his first three career starts against the Braves.

The fourth try didn’t go as well.

Wheeler (0-2) allowed four runs on eight hits in five innings for the Mets.

“I was aggressive today,” Wheeler said. “That was my goal coming in this year, to be aggressive. Sometimes when you miss on your pitches they take advantage of it, sometimes they don’t and you have a good game.”

Santana allowed only three hits over eight scoreless innings and Jason Heyward homered and drove in two runs for Atlanta.

After trailing 4-0, the Mets almost completed a ninth-inning rally with Santana out of the game.

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 d'Arnaud added a run-scoring single before Kimbrel fanned Ruben Tejada for his fourth save.

“I’m more frustrated for giving up somebody else’s runs and making it close,” Kimbrel said.

Santana (1-0) was sharp from the start, throwing 28 strikes in his first 29 pitches through three innings. He finished with six strikeouts and no walks. He said he didn’t 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.

Santana’s first 20 pitches were strikes. He threw only one ball in his first three innings.

Mets manager Terry Collins said he could name only one pitcher who threw so many consecutive strikes.

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