Game Recap: Johan Santana Helps Mets to Second Straight Shutout in 5-0 win

By Matt Musico

Johan Santana kicked off the month of June like no other New York Mets starting pitcher ever did, with the franchise’s first-ever no hitter. On Saturday night, he didn’t end the month like that, but he silenced the Dodgers bats over eight innings of work for his sixth win of the year, leading the Mets to their fourth straight win.

Mets Offensive Highlights:

New York was able to put together a 5-run, 9-hit attack against Dodger pitching, who endured their seventh straight loss. In the top of the second, the scoring got started; Ike Davis led the frame off with a double, then moved to third on a fly out by Lucas Duda to right field. Daniel Murphy was able to drive in Davis from third with less than two outs, plating him with a sacrifice fly. The Mets would strike again in the fifth, as Murphy was the one to start it off with a double. He moved to third on a Kirk Nieuwenhuis ground out, allowing Josh Thole to drive him in with a sacrifice fly of his own. The backbreaking blow came in the top of the sixth; Andres Torres singled to lead it off, then David Wrightreceived an intentional walk with one out. Davis made Mattingly and the Dodgers pay with a three run homer to center field, his 11th on the season.

Dodgers Offensive Highlights:

Once again, Los Angeles was shut out by Mets pitching, who’s starting rotation had the lowest ERA in the month of June. They were only able to muster three hits off Johan Santana, one by Dee Gordon to lead off the bottom of the first, then Scott Van Slyke and Tony Gwynn Jr. in the bottom of the eighth…that was it. In addition to those three base hits, A.J. Ellis and Juan Rivera both drew walks, but the Dodgers went hitless in their limited chances with runners in scoring position (0-for-4).

Pitching Highlights:

Nathan Eovaldi did not pitch badly in Saturday’s ballgame, but it’s tough to keep your team in the game when they’re not scoring any runs. Eovaldi eventually lasted only 5.1 innings, giving up 7 hits, 1 walk, and 5 runs, while not being able to strike out anyone. After he made his earlier than anticipated exit from the contest, Don Mattingly used three relievers (Scott Elbert, Todd Coffey, and Josh Lindblom) to pitch the final 3.2 innings, which they did without giving up any runs.

For Johan Santana, it was his third consecutive quality start, as he matched R.A. Dickey‘s effort the night before with 8 shutout innings of his own. However, on this night, Santana gave up 3 hits, 2 walks, and 3 strikeouts as he lowered his season ERA to 2.76. Bobby Parnell followed the southpaw to pitch the ninth, which he did without allowing a base runner.

Worth Noting:

Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis all contributed two hits a piece on Saturday night; for Murphy, he continues to break out of his month-long slump in a big way, with his eighth hit in his last four games. On the other hand, Captain Kirk enjoyed his first hits since June 23rd against the Yankees.

After losing four straight games, the Mets have erased that from the memory of fans with a four-game winning streak, giving them the same 2012 record as the slumping Dodgers (43-36). The Braves beat the Nationals, so New York was able to creep within 2.5 games of first place in the National League East.

Probable Pitchers Sunday:

For the second week in a row, the Mets will be playing on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, as Dillon Gee (5-6, 4.42 ERA) tries to complete the sweep in Hollywood. It won’t be easy, as New York will have to face the 2011 Cy Young Award winner, Clayton Kershaw (5-4, 2.74 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 8:00pm.