Game Recap: Johan Santana Returns, Exits Early in 9-3 Loss

By Matt Musico

Johan Santana returned to the Mets rotation for the first time since he hit the disabled list at the end of July to heal his tender ankle. New York was hoping that was why he had struggled so much in his previous three starts. However, his struggles continued, as last night’s start was tied for the shortest outing of his career, and his season ERA has jumped almost two runs in his last four starts.

Mets Offensive Highlights:

After the Amazins fell deep in a nine-run hole, Ike Davis and Mike Baxter tried to get something going with a pair of singles, and Andres Torres drove in the first run with a single of his own. In the eighth inning, Ronny Cedeno singled with one out and scored off a Ruben Tejada double. After Daniel Murphy grounded out, David Wrightdrove home Tejada with an RBI single. Both Torres and Tejada enjoyed multi-hit games, as Tejada returned to the lead-off spot after a brief hiatus. The Mets couldn’t get much going offensively, only going 2-for-5 with runners in scoring position and leaving 5 men on base.

Braves Offensive Highlights:

Atlanta scored all of their runs in the first two innings, but it was more than enough to cruise to a victory. Michael Bourn and Reed Johnson both singled to start the game, and after consecutive strikeouts, Freddie Freeman hit a two-run double to get the Braves on the board. Then, all hell broke loose for Santana in the second inning. Dan Uggla walked and Paul Janish singled to set the stage; Kris Medlen singled in a run, as did Michael Bourn, Jason Heyward, and Chipper Jones. Santana got the hook, but Atlanta wasn’t done, as Freeman hit a three-run bomb, his 14th round-tripper of the year, to center field. Bourn, Johnson, Heyward, and Freeman all enjoyed multi-hit games last night.

Pitching Highlights:

Johan Santana fell to 6-8 on the season after only lasting 1.1 innings, giving up 8 runs on 8 hits, 1 walk, and 2 strikeouts. Although he gave up the homer to Freeman, but Jeremy Hefner came in and gave the Mets what they needed, which was 3.2 innings of long relief to save some of the bullpen. Manny Acosta, Jon Rauch, and Frank Francisco threw four scoreless innings, combining for six strikeouts.

Kris Medlen had the benefit of getting runs early and often, and he held the Mets at bay for most of the night, throwing 6.1 innings, giving up 1 run on 5 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 7. Luis Avilan came in and got touched up for 2 runs in his 1.1 innings pitched, but Cory Gearrin followed him with a spotless 1.1 inning appearance.

Just shy of over 30,000 fans showed up to Citi Field, as the Mets lose their second game in a row and are once again in danger of being swept in the series finale. New York now stands at 54-60, 17 games out of first and 9.5 back of the Wild Card.

Probable Pitchers Sunday:

Jonathon Niese (8-6, 3.82 ERA) is looking to have a better outing than his last one in front of the home crowd as he tries to prevent the sweep. He will be opposing Ben Sheets (4-1, 1.41 ERA), who’s continued to pitch effectively since his first effort against the Mets. First pitch is scheduled for 8:00pm.