As of Friday night, the Mets are no longer one of two teams without a no-hitter in their history, all thanks to Johan Santana.
Teammates showered Santana with champagne in the dugout at CitiField following a 134-pitch effort to blank the St. Louis Cardinals and red-hot former Met Carlos Beltran.
The Mets offense sparkled, with the Amazins' putting up eight runs, including a Lucas Duda home run -- but it was the Mets veteran pitcher and his surgically repaired left shoulder who won the game in historic fashion. Despite spreading five walks over nine innings, Santana struck out eight in an exhausting performance which surpassed his longest ever -- a 125 pitch effort on Sep. 23, 2008 before his surgery.
Manager Terry Collins, who had set Santana's maximum at 115 pitches before the game, came up to his ace in the dugout after seven no-hit innings. "He came over and asked me how I felt," Santana said. "I told him I felt good and he told me I was his hero."
It was a very special night for New York and also a huge accomplishment for Santana, who joked with reporters after the game, "I don't think I've even thrown a no hitter in video games."
In his return to the Big Apple, Carlos Beltran became the source of some controversy in the sixth inning when he ripped a drive down the third base line, but umpire Adrian Johnson ruled it foul. A replay moments later showed that the ball landed squarely on the line, in fair territory.
Santana said he didn't get a good look at where the ball landed, but said, "There are times when one play, one call makes the whole difference."
In the seventh inning it wasn't a call, but a spectacular play by Mike Baxter that preserved the no-hitter. Yadier Molina drove a ball deep to left field sending Baxter racing toward the fence, stretching to make a catch on the warning track before slamming into the wall. Baxter collapsed onto the track but managed to keep the ball in his glove for the out. He left the game with a left shoulder bruise and underwent further testing.
With the game in the ninth inning and the crowd of 27 thousand people on their feet cheering, a tired Johan Santana delivered his final changeup of the night, striking out David Freese to put a zero in the final frame.
"Tonight was a night that I wasn't even thinking about, it just happened," Santana said. I never had it in my mind that I would pitch a no hitter, because they are a great team."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun