Santana solid, but Rays get past Mets
Johan Santana was back in fine form. That still wasn't good enough to beat James Shields and the Tampa Bay Rays.
Carlos Pena hit a tiebreaking homer off Santana in the seventh inning Saturday, sending Shields and the Rays to a rainy 3-1 victory over the New York Mets.
"We wanted to win one for him," Pena said. "This team bears down. We know who we're up against."
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Shields allowed three hits in seven innings and retired his final 14 batters. He outpitched Santana, who rebounded nicely from the worst start of his career.
Both starters were lifted after a 73-minute rain delay in the top of the eighth. Dan Wheeler worked a perfect inning and J.P. Howell got three outs for his fourth save.
Ben Zobrist added a solo homer in the ninth, his 15th in a breakout season for the AL champions.
Outhit 5-4, the depleted Mets have another ailing star to worry about: Carlos Beltran plans to have an MRI exam Monday on his aching right knee.
Beltran, who said he intends to play Sunday, missed two games in late May and had a cortisone shot because of a bone bruise below the knee. Hobbling on the bases, he said he's been feeling the same sensation as before and he wants a doctor's opinion.
"If it's something that's going to get worse, I can't be playing," Beltran said.
Santana was tagged for nine runs and nine hits in three-plus innings Sunday, losing 15-0 in the Subway Series finale at Yankee Stadium.
The sluggish performance and diminished velocity on his fastball raised questions about Santana's health, though he insisted he felt fine. After adjusting his mechanics during a recent side session, the ace left-hander looked more like himself Saturday against the top-scoring team in the majors.
"A lot of people were panicking and a lot of people were making comments that had nothing to do with the stuff that I do," Santana said. "We were able to tell that something was wrong, put it back together and work on it. And you know, I feel much better today."
Santana (8-5) squandered a 1-0 lead and took the loss, but didn't allow a hit until Jason Bartlett's one-out double in the fifth. He yielded three hits and three walks in a season-high 7 1-3 innings.