Did you miss the old Johan Santana? I did too. Tonight he looked like the Johan of old, and came up with a huge game when the Mets needed him to. The New York Mets (47-37) provided just enough offense behind Santana, as the beat the Cincinnati Reds (48-37) 3-0. Santana threw a complete game shut out, keeping the best offensive team in the NL off the board. He gave up just three hits, three walks, and struck out five batters. He threw 113 pitches, 78 of them for strikes, as his ERA dropped from 3.41 to 3.15. Santana used the size of the ballpark to his advantage, getting 14 fly outs in the game, nine of them to Angel Pagan. Matt Maloney made his major league debut, and pitched well. He doesn't have over powering stuff, but he knows how to work his pitches and change speeds.
The Mets didn't score in the first inning for the first time in eight games, despite Jose Reyes being back in the line-up.
In the third inning Ruben Tejada hit a one out single. With Santana up, Tejada was caught stealing. He started to run after the pitcher already threw the ball. Tejada was probably figuring it would be a "run and bunt" type play, but he should have been running on the pitch, not after it. Santana then did what I've been waiting to see him do for a long time; hit a home run. He fouled off a ton of pitches and had a 12 pitch at-bat. It was his first career home run, as he lined it down the right field line, giving the Mets a 1-0 lead.
Reyes started the sixth inning with a bunt single, and moved to second base on a ground out by Pagan. David Wright was intentionally walked, putting runners on first and second with one out. Ike Davis hit a sharp ground ball to first baseman Joey Votto, who made a nice diving stop but rushed the throw to second (even though he had all the time in the world), pulling Orlando Cabrera off the bag, but they were able to get Davis out at first. So Jason Bay came up with runners on second and third and ripped a base hit up to middle, bringing in both Reyes and Wright to give the Mets a 3-0 lead.
The Mets sent Santana out there for the ninth. He got Votto to ground out, but then Scott Rolen blooped a single to left field. Jay Bruce then hit a routine fly ball to Bay, who came running in to catch the ball, but it hit off his glove and he didn't make the catch. So the Reds had runners on first and second and one out, and it appeared as though Jerry Manual came to the mound to take Santana out. Santana said about two words to Manual, and he left him it. It then took Santana two pitches to end the game. Jonny Gomes hit a soft liner to first, and Davis made a great diving play for the out. Drew Stubbs then grounded out to Wright, who threw to second to end the game, giving the Mets a 3-0 win.
- Santana's last shutout was September 27, 2008, against the Florida Marlins. It is also his 10th career complete game shutout.
- The last Met pitcher to hit a home run was John Maine, who hit one back on July 24th, 2007. Santana said the last time he hit a home run was "in a video game."
- Reyes went 2-4 with two infield hits and a run in his return to the line-up. He took all of his at-bats from the right side of the plate, even against right handed pitchers. The Mets are now 30-9 when Reyes scores a run.
- When Manual came out to the mound all he wanted to hear was Santana say "I'll finish it." And that's exactly what he said, and that's exactly what he did.
- Wright went 1-3 with a run scored, but hit the ball well all night. In the first inning he hit the ball to center, about 406 feet, but it was caught at the wall. In his last at-bat he hit one to deep right field, but it was caught in the "Mo Zone."
- No question about this one; Johan Santana.
- The Mets will go for the series win against the Reds, in the rubber game of this three game series. The Mets send Jon Niese (6-2, 3.62) to the mound against Bronson Arroyo (8-4, 4.25). Game time is set for 7:10 PM and will be aired on SNY.