June 1, 2012: history was made. Johan Santana pitched the first no-hitter in New York Mets history in their 8-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. What made this feat especially impressive is that the Cardinals are arguably the best hitting team in baseball today. Santana threw a career-high 134 pitches (77 for strikes), struck out eight batters and walked five.
The 134 pitches and five walks are not no-hitter records. Edwin Jackson threw 149 pitches in his no-hitter for the Arizona Diamondbacks and walked eight (June 25, 2010). A.J. Burnett walked nine batters and threw 129 pitches in his no-hitter for the Florida Marlins (May 12, 2001).
The no-hitter marked the second consecutive complete game shutout for Santana, who improved to 3-2 on the season with a 2.38 ERA. In his previous start, Santana pitched a shutout against the San Diego Padres. Like all no-hitters, Santana had help on the side. His defense made spectacular plays when necessary; left fielder Mike Baxter robbed Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina of a hit in the seventh inning and injured himself in the process. Santana was also fortunate not to have lost the no-hit bid in the sixth inning as Cardinals outfielder – and former Mets player – Carlos Beltran hit the foul line on the third base side. Much of the ball was in foul territory; however, it was a fair ball for the imprint of the ball could be seen on the foul line chalk.
Santana’s detractors will likely state that this no-hitter should be marked with an asterisk; however, it is not going to happen. Get over it! Missed calls DO happen in baseball. Major League Baseball did not reverse any calls or place an asterisk on the game in which a blown call by the first base umpire cost Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game on June 2, 2010.
Those who own Santana in fantasy baseball leagues must be pleased with his efforts this season. Santana last lost on April 17; since then, Santana is 3-0 in his last eight starts with a 2.06 ERA and two shutouts. While Santana does not have the velocity he once had, he is clearly showing this season that he can still pitch at a high level.