Atlanta Braves' Michael Bourn (24) and Martin Prado (14) celebrate at home plate after Prado hit a two-run home run during the fifth inning of a 4-2 loss to the Mets.
NEW YORK — Michael Bourn broke for the plate, determined to score Atlanta’s first run of the season.
Not so fast, pal.
The three-time NL stolen base champ was tagged out on a quick toss from catcher Josh Thole to pitcher R.A. Dickey, and the Braves managed little else Saturday in a 4-2 loss to the New York Mets.
Two games, two runs. That’s the grand total this year as the Braves, whose hitters disappeared during a late collapse last season that cost them a playoff spot, again struggled to find their stroke.
“We’re not panicking,” Braves outfielder Jason Heyward said. “The first two games, it hasn’t happened.”
Martin Prado hit a two-run homer for Atlanta. His shot in the fifth ended the Braves’ longest season-opening shutout streak since 1980 — even so, this is their first 0-2 start in four years.
Bourn tried to put Atlanta ahead from the get-go. He led off the game with a double, moved to third on a grounder and bolted home when a pitch deflected off Thole’s mitt and skittered away. But Thole pounced on it and threw a fastball to Dickey, and the knuckleballer tagged Bourn.
“A big percentage of the team that scores first wins,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez offered.
“Bourn hesitated,” he said. “You can’t fault him on that. The two guys made a play.”
The Braves got a final chance in the ninth, putting runners on first and second with two outs.
Mets closer Frank Francisco earned his second save when pinch-hitter Matt Diaz struck out swinging, leaving the Braves at 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position this season.
Jair Jurrjens (0-1) gave up three runs on seven hits and three walks in 4 1-3 innings. He made the All-Star team last year, but won just one of his final seven starts and didn’t pitch in September because of an injured right knee.
Jurrjens’ start was his shortest since he went 3 2-3 innings on Sept. 9, 2010, against St. Louis.
Lucas Duda homered twice and became the first player to take advantage of the pulled-in fences at Citi Field as the Mets improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2009.
David Wright kept hitting with a homer and two singles. Coming off a down year and injury-interrupted spring training, the All-Star had two hits and drove in the only run in Thursday’s opener against Atlanta.
Josh Thole lined a go-ahead single with two outs in the fifth inning off well-traveled Livan Hernandez, making his first regular-season relief appearance since his major league debut in 1996.
With hot dog wrappers blowing around the field, Duda launched a drive to right-center field in the fourth. The ball flew over the new fence, yet several feet in front of where the old wall still stands.
Duda hit another solo shot run in the seventh off Chad Durbin, a drive to right that would’ve been a home run in any year. Wright’s homer in the first was an opposite-field shot to right-center.
Dickey (1-0) kept the Braves off-balance for six innings, allowing five hits and working around four walks.
Dickey drew attention this spring with his revealing biography, a book in which he wrote about being sexually abused as a boy. He returned the focus to the field with his pitching, plus his alert play at the plate.
NOTES: Braves 3B Chipper Jones (left knee) felt fine after an off-day workout Friday at Citi Field. He is eligible to come off the disabled list on Tuesday and Gonzalez said it’s possible he might play that night at Houston. Gonzalez said the Braves had asked for an early workout time Monday in Houston to see how Jones is doing — if Jones is not quite ready, he could play a minor league game next week. Gonzalez said Jones “definitely” would be ready for Atlanta’s home opener Friday vs. Milwaukee. … Braves RHP Tommy Hanson will pitch on regular rest Tuesday. Gonzalez had considered giving him an extra day to rest. … Braves 2B Dan Uggla went 0 for 2 against Dickey, leaving him 0 for 23 vs. the knuckleballer.