Johan Santana, who has had his share of trouble in the 1st inning this year (see my previous post ‘Johan’s 1st inning follies’ for the gruesome details) got into more early trouble this evening in Houston. The Mets ace was handed a 1 run lead after rookie Fernando Martinez drove in Jose Reyes in the top of the first but Johan allowed 2 straight singles and a 3-run home run off the bat of Hunter Pence to begin the bottom half of the inning. Santana’s 16 inning scoreless streak was long gone and given the fact that the lefty entered this start with a 0-4 record in games in which he allowed a 1st inning run, there was little cause for optimism. But these days, that likely goes without saying.
Johan, however, buckled down and went back to his dominating ways, retiring 17 of the next 19 Astros he faced before running into a rough patch in the 7th. Santana escaped the inning unscathed and set the stage for David Wright‘s game-tying home run in the top of the 8th off Houston rookie and former Yankee farmhand Mark Melancon. The blast was David’s first homer and RBI since July 30th (55 at-bats) and New York’s third basemen has now hit safely in 5 straight (7-19 over that span). Unfortunately for the Mets, the celebration was short lived.
With 1 out in the bottom of the 8th Johan got ahead of Hunter Pence 0-2 before throwing 3 straight balls. With the count full Santana served Pence up a change-up that he promptly deposited into the left field bleachers. Given the fact that Hunter launched the same pitch into the stands in the first inning, I have to wonder if ...
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