Johan Santana rebounded from his rough last outing against the Astros to pitch brilliantly today, as the Mets cruised to a 7-0 victory over the Rockies in game one of the day-night doubleheader.
Six days after giving up a dozen hits to the Astros, Santana recorded a positive dozen as he picked up his 12th victory against eight losses. ‘Han The Man pitched seven shutout innings, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out eight. The eight strikeouts were the most registered by Santana since he struck out 11 Nationals on May 27.
Santana did not have to take it upon himself to carry the team to victory today. Every position player chipped in with at least one hit. Of the 11 hits, five were extra bases, proving that home runs aren’t the only way to have a successful offensive game.
The recent offensive onslaught (36 runs on 52 hits over the five-game winning streak) continued early in the game. The Mets knocked Rockies’ starter Jason Hammel out of the game after he recorded just four outs. The first five hitters in the second inning all got base hits against Hammel, leading to the first four runs of the game. After Hammel struck out Santana, Angel Pagan delivered an RBI single to score the fifth run of the inning, allowing Hammel to use his one-way ticket to the showers (do not pass go, do not collect $200). That five-run second inning gave Santana all the run support he needed.
The only rough inning for Santana was the fourth inning. After allowing a one-out single to Todd Helton and a two-out double to Troy Tulowitzki, Santana issued his only walk of the game to Garrett Atkins on a 3-2 pitch to load up the bases. Had it not been for leftfielder Cory Sullivan’s hustle on the Helton and Tulowitzki hits, the Rockies would have already plated a run. Instead, Santana was still pitching a shutout and facing Ian Stewart with the bases loaded. Stewart gave the fans an “oh no” moment when he launched a fly ball deep into the Pepsi Porch. However, the ball landed in Section 304, which is on the foul side of the Pepsi Porch. After narrowly missing giving up a grand slam, Santana became Mr. Smooth and struck out Stewart to end the inning and squelch the last real Rockies’ threat of the game.
The Mets tacked on a run in the fifth inning, when Angel Pagan hit yet another triple and David Wright drove him in with a sacrifice fly. Then in the seventh inning, Wright came through again, hitting a long double to right-center (yet another ball that would have been a home run at Shea) to score Alex Cora, who had singled before him.
Bobby Parnell and Tim Redding pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth inning, respectively to complete the Mets’ second consecutive shutout victory over the Rockies and their fifth straight win overall. The Mets have now won 21 of their last 23 games against Colorado in New York and hope to extend that streak tonight in the second game of the day-night doubleheader. Jonathon Niese will go for his second straight victory when he faces Jorge De La Rosa in the nightcap.
If the Mets win tonight, they will have completed a four-game sweep of the Rockies, which would be the Mets’ first four-game series sweep since they took the brooms out in Arizona in June 2006. When was the last time the Mets swept a four-game series at home? It was back in August 2003. Who was their opponent? You guessed it. These same Colorado Rockies. Let’s hope that bodes well for the Mets tonight as they go for their sixth consecutive victory.