Today’s man of the hour was Johan Santana; the Mets’ ace has been in a cloud of uncertainty since his injury at the end of 2010. His performance against the Padres this weekend may signal his official return, as he only needed 96 pitches, 74 of which were strikes, to shut out San Diego for his second win of the year. The Padre hitters were every agressive, but it didn’t work for them as Santana didn’t reach a three-ball count all day, and was able to retire the side on nine pitches six different times.
The scoring started right in the bottom of the first for New York; Andres Torres was back in the lead off spot and he started off the inning with a single. After Justin Turner fly out, David Wright walked, allowing Scott Hairston to launch a three-run bomb to left field, not knowing that would be all Santana would need to help secure a victory. With two outs in the bottom of the first, Vinny Rottinoadded his first home run to stretch the lead to 4-0. The game lasted only 2 hours and 18 minutes, and after Santana gave up a
lead-off hit in the top of the second, he retired 16 straight San Diego hitters until he surrendered a two-out single to Jesus Guzman in the seventh inning. Talk about domination station.
Outside of that bumpy first inning, Clayton Richard didn’t pitch that badly in his six innings of work, but with Santana on as much as he was Saturday at Citi Field, it didn’t matter who his opposition was. The New York offense stayed quiet until their last turn at bat. Turner led things off with a single, then Ike Davis collected an RBI base hit for the third start game since news broke he wouldn’t be sent down to the minors; this time, it was an RBI double. With two outs, Rottino singled and Cedeno walked, but was replaced by Kirk Nieuwenhuis with an apparent injury. Either way, Mike Nickeas made sure nobody had to run hard as he hit a grand slam to left field, putting the game out of reach with one inning to go and Johan still cruising on the mound.
Johan gave up a single to lead off the ninth, but a double play enabled him to get out of the inning only facing the minimum, securing his first complete game shutout since August 12, 2010 against the Rockies, just three weeks before he made his last start before he had to go under the knife. Santana’s final line: 9 IP, 4 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, and 7 strikeouts. I would call that a pretty good day at the office. As for the offense, they put together 9 hits overall, with most of the run support coming by way of the 3 home runs. Justin Turner, Scott Hairston, and Vinny Rottino all contributed 2 hits each. David Wright went his second straight game hitless and his batting average is just a measly .390…what are we going to do with this guy? Ike Davis’ opposite field double continues to give the slumping first baseman confidence and everyone else hope that he’s finally turning a corner.
With their second win in a row, the Mets keep pace with the Nationals and Marlins, who have both also won two games in a row. New York is now 26-21 on the season, still sitting 2.5 games out of first. The Braves continue to struggle, fall to fourth in the division and 3 games out of first thanks to a 6-game losing streak.
Probable Pitchers for Sunday:
The Mets are trying to take this four game set from the Padres as they get set for another day game; Edinson Volquez (2-4, 3.49 ERA) will be taking the hill in New York for the first time as a member of the Padres, while R.A. Dickey (6-1, 3.45 ERA) looks to continue his dominance as the knuckleballer toes the slab for the home team. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10pm.