NEW YORK-- It has been pretty evident that the Mets have not given Johan Santana any run support this season.
Knowing that, Santana promptly parked a home run off the right field foul pole in the third inning, his first career home run, giving the Mets a 1-0 lead off Reds starter Matt Maloney.
Aaron Harang, who was scratched from his Monday night start due to back problems, was placed on the disabled list before tonight's game.
With the lefty Maloney starting, shortstop Jose Reyes was inserted back in the lineup, as he can only bat from the right side with his sore oblique.
Santana didn't only hit a home run, he was vintage on the mound. After allowing a leadoff double to Brandon Phillips, he retired 10 batters in a row, and didn't allow another hit until the sixth inning.
The Mets offense though, looked like it wasn't going to support Santana yet again. The first seven batters went down in order against him until a one out single in the third by Ruben Tejada.
Tejada was caught stealing second during Santana's at-bat, before Santana went deep on the 12th pitch of the at-bat.
During the plate appearance, Santana kept fouling pitches off, getting out in front, but after hitting one foul towards right, he hit one off the foul pole.
The Mets worked Maloney tough all game, putting together long at-bats in nearly 100-degree temperature. After Santana's home run, the Mets didn't get anything else until the sixth.
Jose Reyes bunted a ball back to the pitcher Maloney, who couldn't handle it, giving Reyes a leadoff hit. After Angel Pagan hit an advancing groundout, David Wright was intentionally walked.
Ike Davis then hit a groundball to first baseman Joey Votto, who through wide to second trying to get a forceout, but shortstop Orlando Cabrera threw Davis out at first.
Jason Bay then came up and singled both runners home, extending the Mets lead to 3-0, as Bay has now driven in 13 runs in his last nine games.
Santana walked a batter in the eighth, but produced three fly ball outs to right field, raising his pitch count after eight to over 100. He surprisingly came back out for the ninth, instead of Francisco Rodriguez, attempting a complete-game shutout.
He got the first out on the first pitch thrown to Joey Votto. Scott Rolen then got a single, and Jay Bruce's fly ball to Bay in right was dropped, putting two men on base.
Manager Jerry Manuel came out to possibly replace Santana, but was convinced to leave him in. Santana then got the next two batters out on two pitches, thanks to some nice defense, giving Santana the complete-game, three-hit shutout.
After four consecutive starts of allowing four runs or more, Santana has now allowed one run in his last two starts.
Jose Reyes looked good in his return, batting right-handed against a righty once, going 2-for-4. David Wright went 1-for-3, nearly hitting a home run in the first, and lining out to deep right in the eighth, he also had a single.
The Mets will now go for the series win tomorrow night, with the ever-improving Jon Niese on the mound, against Met-killer Bronson Arroyo.
NL East standings (top 3 teams)
NY Mets 47-37 (2)
Philadelphia 43-39 (5)
Series probable pitchers:
New York: Jon Niese (2010: 6-2, 3.62 ERA) vs. Cincinnati: Bronson Arroyo (2010: 8-4, 4.25 ERA)
New York Mets:
July 7 vs. Cincinnati Reds
July 9-11 vs. Atlanta Braves
July 7 @ New York Mets
July 8-11 @ Philadelphia Phillies