It’s time to place your Mets (bets).
The New York Mets finally have their first no-hitter in franchise history. And it only took 51 years, 8,020 games and three ballparks to do it.
LHP Johan Santana will have his name etched in the record books thanks to a milestone performance on Friday night, tossing the 275th no-no in major-league history. The two-time Cy Young winner had to make a career-high 134 pitches to finish the job.
“Amazing. I mean, coming into this season I was just hoping to come back, stay healthy and help the team.”
As always, each no-hitter or perfect game comes with two criteria: a questionable call, and ‘the catch.’
The questionable call was actually correct. In the 6th inning, former Met Carlos Beltran–back at Citi Field for the first time since the Mets traded him last July– ripped a grounder down the third base line that actually hit the foul line chalk, indicating it was a hit. Third base umpire Adrian Johnson, however, incorrectly ruled it a foul ball. Everyone seemed to have something to say about the missed call.
“I saw the ball hitting outside the line, just foul,” Johnson said.
“It was in front of his face, and he called it foul. I thought it was a fair ball. At the end of the day, one hit wasn’t going to make a difference in the ballgame. We needed to score more runs and we didn’t do that,” Beltran said.
“There’s times when one play makes the whole difference, one calls makes the whole difference. And tonight it was that call,” Santana said.
The following inning, we got ‘the catch.’ Yadier Molina drove a ball deep to left, but Mike Baxter made a fantastic catch before running full-speed into the outfield wall. The Queens, New York product was forced to leave the game with a shoulder contusion.
Regardless, after more than a half-century of misery, the Mets finally have their first no-hitter–only the San Diego Padres, born in 1969, seven years after the Mets, are without a no-hitter.
New York has come close on multiple occasions, though. Since 1962, they’ve had 35 one-hitters. 10 pitchers had thrown no-hitters before coming to the Mets, and seven had thrown no-hitters after leaving the Mets. The Mets themselves had been no-hit six times. Tom Seaver is the only other Met to take a no-hitter into the ninth inning, and did so three times without being able to finish the job. 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. Not even Nolan Ryan, nor Dwight Gooden either accomplish the feat, though all three threw no-hitters after leaving the team.
The 33-year-old Santana faced a plethora of question marks entering the season. He missed all of the 2010 season recovering from shoulder surgery, and upon his return, faced doubts that he could once again return to form. The $137.5M contract he signed after coming over from the Twins might as well be money sent down the drain.
”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.”
But he proved all his naysayers wrong. Not only did Santana accomplish the feat, but he may also have made history by joining White Sox’ RHP Phil Humber as trade-mates to have thrown a no-hitter–in the same season.
Santana made just his 11th start following the surgery Friday against the Cardinals, and was supposed to be limited to 110-115 pitches, according to manager Terry Collins.
“It’s very exciting. But if, in five days, his arm his bothering him, I’m not going to feel very good. … I just couldn’t take him out. I just couldn’t do it. So, we’ll wait five days and see how it is.”
Santana received a standing ovation as he headed out to the mound for the ninth inning. He made quick work of OF Matt Holliday and OF Allen Craig. With 27,069 screaming fans on their feet, Santana got World Series MVP David Freese on a 3-2 count before his foul tip was caught by C Josh Thole. Santana pumped his left fist, slammed it into his glove and shouted as Thole showed the ball to plate umpire Gary Cederstrom and then went running out toward the mound.
“It’s an honor. When I came into this team in 2008, I came here to help this team win a championship. We have been through a lot of things. But, I’ll never give up. … I know how much this means to New York and to the New York Mets. It’s something I’m proud of and I’m very happy to be a part of it.”
The Mets rushed out of the dugout and mobbed Santana as security guards tackled a fan who ran onto the field near home plate. Santana then raised his right arm and saluted the crowd in celebration, as “No-Han” was displayed on the Citi Field screen.
”Finally, the first one. That is the greatest feeling ever.”