In the 8,020th game played in the 51st season of the franchise, and after 35 one hitters, Friday night, June 1st, will become a night that many NY Met fans will not soon forget as Johan Santana pitched the first no hitter in Met's history.
Santana took the mound in what looked like would be a pitchers duel facing Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals. But the Met's jumped all over Wainwright for two in the fourth and three in the sixth, all while Santana was mowing down the best hitting team in the NL.
There have been any number of Met games that I've witnessed over the years with a Seaver, Matlack, Gooden, Fernandez, Darling or more recently Dickey or Niese taking a no hitter into the seventh, only to see it fade with a base hit, but there has been a feeling that Johan could be the guy.
Battling back from knee surgeries in past seasons, and then pushing himself to rebound from last year's arm surgery, Santana himself didn't know if he could ever regain the form that brought him two Cy Young awards. Well it looks to me like two complete game shutouts back to back, including the no hitter, mean that he is back!
They say in all great games there needs to be a great play or two, as well as some luck - and for the Mets there was both. In the sixth, ex-Met Carlos Beltran ripped a laser over the third base bag that the umpire ruled was foul. However, slow motion replay showed that the ball kicked up chalk and was actually fair - thank goodness MLB hasn't put in any expanded replay rules.
Then, in the seventh inning it was the play of the game as Mike Baxter, a Queens native from Molloy HS, crashed into the left field wall, double clutched the ball in his glove and robbed Yadier Molina of an extra base hit. Baxter would have to leave the game with a bruised shoulder but wake up this morning as a hometown hero.
The only thing left after that catch was to see if manager Terry Collins would allow Santana to go deeper than his 115 pitch limit and make Met's history. In his post game press conference you could see Collins was torn - leave Santana in and risk an injury, or pull the plug on possibly the best pitched game in Met's history. Collins was emotional after the game because he understood what this game meant to the team, to the fans and to Johan Santana.
Santana took the mound in the ninth, only the third time in team history a pitcher toed the rubber without giving up a hit after eight innings - Tom Seaver having done in twice before. And with the 134th pitch of the night, a changeup at the hitter's shoe tops, Santana struck out David Freese to end 51 years of waiting.
The Mets finally had their no-hitter, THANK YOU Johan Santana!