Santana Ks 10 Nats in Mets win

BY foxsports • April 25, 2009

Johan Santana stopped the New York Mets' free fall.

Santana struck out 10 in six innings, and the offensively challenged Mets scored twice following failed sprawling catches that turned singles into triples in a 4-3 victory over the Washington Nationals on Friday night.

Carlos Beltran, who got his 1,000th RBI on his 32nd birthday, and Fernando Tatis both tripled for the Mets, who returned home for their second homestand at Citi Field and stopped a four-game losing streak.

Nick Johnson and Jesus Flores homered for the Nationals, a major league-worst 3-12. While 26 homers were hit in the first six games at the new Yankee Stadium, there have been just 12 in seven games at Citi Field, where not a single home run to center has been hit yet.

Santana (3-1) allowed one run and six hits in six innings, walked one and reached double digits in strikeouts for the 45th time in his career. Johnson's sixth-inning homer raised Santana's NL-leading ERA from 0.46 to 0.70.

New York has scored just seven runs in Santana's four starts.

"The last games that he's pitched have been somewhat stressful in the sense that every pitch meant something or every play meant something," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said before the game.

New York's offense didn't change, going 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position and stranding 13 runners.

Bobby Parnell and Pedro Feliciano escaped trouble in the seventh, J.J. Putz pitched the eighth and Francisco Rodriguez allowed a two-run homer to Flores before finishing for his fourth save in four chances.

A crowd of 40,522 was at Citi Field on a warm evening, the largest since the April 13 opener at the $800 million ballpark.

The Mets had been the only team in the majors not to face a left-handed starter before batting against Scott Olsen (0-3), who gave up three runs - two earned - and nine hits in six innings. Right-handed-hitting Gary Sheffield was inserted into right field and Tatis into left.

New York went ahead in the third when Luis Castillo singled and Beltran tripled on a liner to center in which Elijah Dukes tried for a shoestring catch only to have the ball roll past him to the warning track. The play originally was scored a single and an error, then was changed.

After Olsen allowed Santana's sacrifice to bounce off his glove and then fell down for an error, Castillo added an RBI single in the fourth to make it 2-0, the Mets' first hit in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Johnson's opposite-field drive leading off the sixth, just over the wall, ended Santana's streak of 17 scoreless innings and 19 in a row without an earned run since opening day. Ryan Zimmerman walked and Adam Dunn singled, but Santana struck out Austin Kearns and Flores, then retired Alberto Gonzalez on a popup.

Tatis' leadoff looper in the sixth bounced past Kearns into the right-field corner, and pinch-hitter Daniel Murphy singled for a 3-1 lead on a sinking liner that Kearns again failed to catch with a dive. Kip Wells walked Carlos Delgado with the bases loaded in the eighth, when the Mets left the bases loaded for the second straight inning.

Unlike the Yankees, the Mets' premium seats behind home plate were filled, although they have far fewer and at much lower prices. Just 34 of the 92 Delta Club Platinum seats in the first two rows were occupied in the first inning but about 80-85 percent filled by the third. The top price was $295 for the first "value" game of the season, down from $695 for the opener and $595 for the remaining games on the first homestand, which were classified "gold."

At the Yankees, a majority of the 1,895 premium seats that cost $500-$2,625 were empty for the final five games of their opening six-game homestand.


The cast and crew of ABC's "Ugly Betty" recorded scenes during the game in the 11th row behind the plate and the Taste of the City food court behind center field. ... Mets C Ramon Castro dropped Dukes' foul pop in the sixth of an error. ... Zimmerman extended his hitting streak to 12 games.

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