Santana tosses first no-hitter in Mets’ history
Johan Santana was past 130 pitches and fans at Citi Field were
high-fiving with every out, hoping this was finally the night the
New York Mets had waited for.
All those famous arms – Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden,
Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine – and not a single no-hitter in more
than 50 years of baseball.
Not until Santana finished the job Friday night.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner pitched the first no-hitter
in team history, aided by an umpire’s mistake and an outstanding
catch during an 8-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
After a string of close calls over the last five decades,
Santana went all the way in the Mets’ 8,020th game.
”Finally, the first one,” he said. ”That is the greatest
He needed a couple of key assists to pull it off.
Carlos Beltran, back at Citi Field for the first time since the
Mets traded him last July, hit a line drive over third base in the
sixth inning that hit the foul line and should have been called
fair. But third base umpire Adrian Johnson ruled it foul and the
no-hitter was intact – even though a replay clearly showed a mark
where the ball landed on the chalk line.
”I saw the ball hitting outside the line, just foul,” Johnson
told a pool reporter.
The umpire acknowledged that he saw the replay afterward, but
declined to comment.
”It was in front of his face, and he called it foul. I thought
it was a fair ball,” Beltran said. ”At the end of the day, one
hit wasn’t going to make a difference in the ballgame.”
With the next batter at the plate, though, Cardinals third base
coach Jose Oquendo twice got in Johnson’s face for heated arguments
– the two even appeared to bump each other. Rookie manager Mike
Matheny also came out to protest, but nobody was ejected.
”It’s not like there’s going to be an asterisk by it. That’s
the way the game goes,” Matheny said.
Hometown kid Mike Baxter then made an extraordinary catch to rob
Yadier Molina of extra bases in the seventh. Baxter crashed into
the left-field wall full force, injured his shoulder and left the
”I’m glad I had a chance to be part of it. It’s a great night
for the Mets,” said Baxter, who grew up 10 minutes from where Citi
Santana certainly appreciated the effort.
”He saved the game,” the pitcher said.
Making his 11th start since missing last season following
shoulder surgery, Santana (3-2) threw a career-high 134 pitches in
his second consecutive shutout. Relying on a sneaky fastball and
the baffling changeup that’s always been his signature, he struck
out eight and walked five with wind gusting up to 30 mph.
”Amazing,” Santana said after tossing the majors’ third
no-hitter this year. ”Coming into this season I was just hoping to
come back and stay healthy and help this team, and now I am in this
situation in the greatest city for baseball.”
Before the game, Mets manager Terry Collins said he planned to
limit Santana to 110-115 pitches all season. Collins practically
sprinted to the mound after a two-out walk in the eighth, drawing
boos from the crowd of 27,069, and then hustled back to the dugout
after a brief chat, bringing cheers.
Santana, traded to the Mets by Minnesota before the 2008 season,
was at 122 pitches going into the ninth. He finished with the most
by a major leaguer since Brandon Morrow threw 137 for Toronto on
Aug. 8, 2010, according to STATS LLC.
”I just couldn’t take him out,” a choked-up Collins said
afterward, acknowledging he won’t feel good about it if the
left-hander’s arm hurts in five days.
Prior to Santana’s gem, there had been 131 no-hitters in the
majors since New York began play in 1962, including Roy Halladay’s
in the playoffs, STATS said. None of them belonged to the Mets.
”I’m really happy for them,” said Boston manager Bobby
Valentine, who managed the Mets from 1996-2002. ”That’s been an
albatross over the pitching in that franchise forever, since `62.
One of the best pitchers they’ve ever had threw it and that also
gives credibility to it.”
Ryan, Seaver, Gooden and David Cone are among the seven Mets
pitchers who tossed no-hitters after leaving the team.
Philip Humber is another one. He pitched a perfect game for the
Chicago White Sox at Seattle on April 21, and Jered Weaver of the
Los Angeles Angels no-hit Minnesota on May 2.
Following the game, Santana addressed his teammates in the
clubhouse and thanked them.
”Tonight we all made history,” he said. ”Yeah, baby! Believe
Back home in Venezuela, Santana’s achievement was big news.
President Hugo Chavez congratulated the pitcher in a message on
Twitter, calling him a ”golden left-hander” and ”Giant
”What pride! Long live Venezuela!” Chavez said in the
Santana got a warm hand as he headed to the mound for the ninth.
He quickly retired Matt Holliday and Allen Craig on shallow fly
balls as the roar picked up and fans captured video of it all on
their cell phones.
”I was manicuring third base like I was getting ready to make a
putt to win the Masters. You don’t want to be the guy who kicks
one,” David Wright said.
With the crowd on its feet, World Series MVP David Freese went
to a 3-2 count before his foul tip was caught by Josh Thole, just
activated from the disabled list earlier in the day.
Santana pumped his left fist, slammed it into his glove and
shouted as Thole showed the ball to plate umpire Gary Cederstrom
and then ran toward the mound to hug Santana.
”That was awesome. Short of Tom Seaver, I couldn’t think of a
better person to pitch the first one,” Wright said. ”I thought
there would be no chance he could finish, based on his high pitch
count early on. I don’t think anyone had the courage to take the
ball from him.”
The Mets rushed out of the dugout and mobbed Santana as security
guards tackled a fan who ran into the pile. Moments later, the
pitcher raised his right arm and saluted the crowd, which chanted
his name from the eighth inning on – then again as fans filed out
of the ballpark.
The big scoreboard in center field flashed Santana’s picture and
Lucas Duda hit a three-run homer off Adam Wainwright (4-6) and
drove in four runs, tying a career high. Daniel Murphy added three
The San Diego Padres, who started play in 1969, are now the only
team without a no-hitter.
The Mets’ seemingly endless pursuit had become something of an
infamous quest, with at least one website dedicated to counting off
their total number of games without a no-hitter each day during the
season. Radio announcer Howie Rose often did the same when the
opposing team got its first hit.
Seaver came within two outs of a perfect game in 1969 and fell
one out shy of a no-hitter in 1975, the previous time a Mets
pitcher had made it into the ninth without yielding a hit. In the
past decade, Glavine and John Maine both got within four outs.
NOTES: Santana’s previous high was 125 pitches on Sept. 23,
2008. … The last Mets pitcher to throw consecutive shutouts was
David Cone in May 1992. … It was the eighth no-hitter pitched
against St. Louis, the top-hitting team in the NL this season, and
first since Fernando Valenzuela for the Los Angeles Dodgers on June