Johan Santana pitched the first no-hitter in New York Mets history on Friday, as the Mets defeated the St Louis Cardinals 8-0.
Santana struck out eight and walked five en route to the 275th no-hitter in MLB history.
The 33-year-old left-hander’s pitch count mounted to 134, but manager Terry Collins stuck with his starter, who spent last season rehabilitating his surgically repaired left shoulder.
Prior to the game, Collins said he didn’t know if Santana could return to his pre-surgery form.
“Is there room for more improvement? Knowing him, probably yes,” the manager said, and his words proved prophetic.
Left fielder Mike Baxter helped preserve Santana’s no-no when he ran down a Yadier Molina fly ball and caught it as he crashed into the wall for the 20th out.
Baxter, clearly in pain, hit the warning track and left the game with a suspected shoulder injury.
The no-hitter came in the Mets’ 8,020th game. The club have been on the opposite side of six no-hitters in their 50-year existence.
Santana’s feat came with a dash of controversy in the sixth inning, when former Met Carlos Beltran belted a line drive that was called foul by third base umpire Adrian Johnson.
A replay showed the ball hitting the third-base line, but Beltran wound up grounding out to short.
Santana is the third pitcher this season to toss a no-hitter. Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox threw a perfect game against the Seattle Mariners on April 21 and Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels no-hit the Minnesota Twins on May 2.
Matt Holliday flew out to shallow center field, Allen Craig was out on a ground ball to left that Andres Torres caught and Santana struck out David Freese — last year’s World Series MVP — swinging to end the game.
Reds 4, Astros 1
In Houston, Jay Bruce homered and drove in two runs to back a solid performance by Mike Leake as Cincinnati beat Houston.
Leake (2-5) had a season-high seven strikeouts in seven innings, yielding just one run and four hits. Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the ninth for his fourth save.
Houston have dropped seven straight in their longest skid since they lost seven in a row in August last year.
Joey Votto hit a two-out single in the first and scored on Brandon Phillips’ double off the wall in center, putting Cincinnati up 1-0. Bruce then singled in Phillips.
Pirates 8, Brewers 2
In Milwaukee, the Pirates scored six runs off Randy Wolf in the third inning, then went on to pound Milwaukee.
Ryan Braun left the game with a right hip strain, after sitting out Thursday night’s game because of lingering tightness in his right Achilles tendon.
Kevin Correia (2-5) gave up two runs and five hits in 5-2/3 innings for the Pirates, who have won six of their past seven games. The Pirates came into Friday’s game with a 4-38 record at Miller Park since the start of the 2007 season.
Nyjer Morgan hit a solo home run in the first inning for Milwaukee, snapping his major league record of 138 straight plate appearances without an RBI to start the season. However, Morgan’s misplayed ball in the outfield played a critical role in the Pirates’ big inning.
In other NL action, it was:
‧ Phillies 6, Marlins 4
‧ Padres 7, Diamondbacks 1
‧ Rockies 13, Dodgers 3
‧ Giants 4, Cubs 3
AP, KANSAS CITY, Missouri
Felipe Paulino kept the scuffling Athletics at bay for six innings on Friday as the Kansas City Royals’ bullpen handled the rest in a 2-0 victory that gave Oakland their season-worst ninth-straight loss.