It’s hard to believe that in more than 8,000 games, the New York Mets had never pitched a no-hitter… But that all changed in game 8,020, thanks to Johan Santana.
The 33-year-old Venezuelan pitched the first no-hitter in New York Mets’ history on Friday in the Mets’ 8-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Aided by an umpire’s missed call and an incredible catch by a left fielder who grew up in Queens as a Mets fan, Santana’s start is also the first no-hitter of his career.
In the victory over the reigning World Series champions, Santana, who missed last season because of shoulder surgery, walked five and struck out eight, while testing the limits of his comeback.
Mets manager Terry Collins said before the game that he wanted to limit Santana to a maximum of 110-115 pitches. Santana finished with a career-high 134.
Afterward, an emotional Collins expressed his trepidation about going after history instead of preserving Santana’s long-term health.
“I just couldn’t take him out,” Collins said.
In the ninth inning with 27,609 fans all standing, Santana’s final pitch, a 3-2 change-up, resulted in David Freese swinging and missing. Santana’s teammates all stormed the mound to celebrate.
“I don’t think I’ve ever even thrown a no-hitter in video games,” Santana said of his feat.
But that’s not all… Santana became just the eighth player in MLB history to throw a no-hitter against the defending World Series champions and the first since former Texas Rangers pitcher Nolan Ryan completed the feat against the Oakland Athletics in 1990.
After the final out, Santana did interviews with the Mets’ TV and radio station before he walked into the clubhouse.
“We did this together,” Santana said. “It is not just about me. We had a great, great game tonight. Everyone participated. We did the little things the way we were supposed to do it. And it worked out good. I thanked them because we as a team made history tonight.”