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"At times it seems magnified when it's the beginning of the year," New York manager Joe Girardi said. "We've all been through three-game losing streaks. This is a resilient club. We'll be fine."
Atlanta's meltdown last year mirrored that of the Red Sox. The Braves had a 10 1/2-game lead over St. Louis for the NL wild card in late August but went 9-18 in September and were eliminated on the final night of the regular season.
They've been just as sluggish to start 2012. Atlanta batted .151 and managed all of seven runs in a three-game sweep by the New York Mets, expected to finish last in the powerful NL East.
"It's never good to come into the season and get swept," Braves catcher Brian McCann said. "Nobody in here is thinking about last year."
Mets lefty Jonathon Niese took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in his first start since signing a $25.5 million, five-year contract. For the first time in 27 years, and only the third time ever, the Mets are 3-0 while the Yankees are 0-3.
"We're going to surprise some people this year," Niese said.
Other early surprises include the Orioles, who finished a three-game sweep of Minnesota behind Hammel. He faced the minimum 21 batters through seven innings, issuing two walks, before Justin Morneau's leadoff double in the eighth.
The Mariners are 3-1 going into Monday night's game at Texas, where Japanese star Yu Darvish makes his Rangers debut. And the lowly Astros took two of three at home from Colorado, giving them a winning record for the first time since they were 51-50 after games on July 29, 2009. Houston lost its first five games last season and dropped eight in a row to start 2010.
There were several big comebacks Sunday, too.
Ryan Roberts and Lyle Overbay hit consecutive homers off Matt Cain and the Arizona Diamondbacks tied a franchise record by rallying from six runs down to beat San Francisco 7-6 for a three-game sweep in a season-opening series between teams expected to tussle for the NL West crown.
Jay Bruce's second homer of the game and Scott Rolen's game-winning single in the ninth lifted Cincinnati over Florida 6-5, handing new Marlins closer Heath Bell a blown save in his first opportunity.
And the Pirates beat Philadelphia in their final at-bat for the second time in less than 24 hours when Andrew McCutchen hit an RBI single off the center-field fence for a 5-4 victory.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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