Florida at New York

Scoreboard
Florida (83-77)000000000030
N.Y. Mets (89-72) «10010000x260

Santana 3-hits Marlins on short rest, keeps Mets' playoff hopes alive

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

NEW YORK -- Any chance Johan Santana can pitch on no days' rest?

Desperate to stay in the playoff race, the New York Mets brought back their ace early and he delivered, pitching a three-hitter that led them over the Florida Marlins 2-0 on a rainy Saturday.

COMMENTARY
Brilliant Santana saves Mets -- for one day at least
by Danny Knobler
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Nearly two hours later, the Mets pulled into a tie with Milwaukee for the NL wild card when the Brewers lost 7-3 to the Chicago Cubs. New York's hopes of an NL East title are gone, however, after Philadelphia clinched the division title with a 4-3 win over Washington.

"I just went out there and tried to finish it. I didn't do anything crazy," Santana said. "I knew the situation we were in."

With the crowd standing and chanting his name, Santana (16-7) assured the Mets will play at least one more meaningful game at Shea Stadium. The win was just the third in eight games for New York and put aside -- for a day, anyway -- thoughts of another huge collapse.

"What's the headline going to be tomorrow?" wondered Marlins rookie John Baker, who went 0-for-4 and struck out twice. "Is he the 'Shea-vior?"'

Now, it's up to Oliver Perez to try to help save the Mets' season Sunday. No chance of seeing Santana in that one.

"How many did he pitch? How many did he throw?" manager Jerry Manuel said with a grin. "Wow, wow, wow, wow. I think if I had to describe that one, I would say that was gangsta. That was real gangsta."

The Mets began the day one game behind Milwaukee in the NL wild-card race and two games in back of Philadelphia in the NL East. Later in the afternoon, the Brewers played the Cubs and the Phillies took on Washington.

"We're still in the race. It's not over yet," Santana said.

Well before the first pitch, Manuel was asked whether his postgame plans involved sticking around the clubhouse to watch his rivals on TV.

"If ..." he started, quickly amending to, "when we win, I'll just get dressed and go home."

As the Mets left their locker room, one TV was tuned to Brewers-Chicago and the other showed college football. The wild card was more easily in reach, but the Mets hadn't given up hope of catching Philadelphia and forcing a division tiebreaker at Citizens Bank Park.

Hand written on the Mets' bulletin board: "If Phillies lose, come packed for one day."

Only once before had Santana pitched on three days' rest, and that was in the 2004 AL playoffs. He needed a career-high 125 pitches in his last outing, and he threw 117 in keeping the Mets' shaky relievers in the bullpen.

Santana had never gone only three days between regular-season starts -- he did it once during the 2004 AL playoffs. He needed a career-high 125 pitches in his last outing, and he threw 117 in keeping the Mets' shaky relievers in the bullpen.

The NL ERA leader improved to 9-0 in 17 starts since late June, striking out nine and walking three in his sixth career shutout.

"I saw those guys swinging and swinging and putting the ball in play," Santana said. "I didn't think about tomorrow, I thought about today."

Santana had asked Manuel to pitch this game, and everyone at Shea knew what was at stake. After last year's monumental fold, a loss here might've doomed the Mets to a similar fate.

Manuel's revamped lineup produced a run in the first inning, and that turned out to be all Santana required.

Acquired in an offseason trade with Minnesota to win big games, Santana became the first Mets pitcher to throw a shutout on three days' rest since Dwight Gooden in 1987.

"You couldn't have pulled him out. He wouldn't have let you," Manuel said.

The Marlins left the bases loaded in the fifth and threatened again in the ninth, but Cody Ross flied out to the warning track in left with a runner on to end it. Santana received hearty congratulations on the mound, and waved his cap to the crowd as he walked off.

"It's the best thing I've ever seen, given the situation," Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez praised.

The win meant Perez gets his chance to pitch on three days' rest Sunday. The last time he did it, the Mets lefty tossed a real gem -- six sharp innings in Game 7 of the 2006 NL Championship Series against St. Louis.

Now, there's a chance that Sunday's farewell-to-Shea ceremony with Willie Mays and other former Mets won't necessarily be a somber one.

Ricky Nolasco (15-8) nearly matched Santana, striking out 10 in seven innings.

Carlos Delgado, batting third for the first time this season, hit a sacrifice fly in the first. The inning included a single by David Wright, hitting cleanup for the first time this year.

Ramon Martinez, a late-season bonus for the Mets, hit an RBI double in the fourth.

Marlins rookies were also going to dress up, courtesy for the Florida veterans. As part of a prank, the young players were being made to wear brightly colored outfits festooned with oversized bananas and limes for a night out to Times Square.

It was a fruitful day for the Mets, too, thanks to Santana. And it left them looking ahead.

"Manana!" Pedro Martinez shouted as he left.

Notes

  • Josh Willingham's streak of homering in four straight games ended for the Marlins.
  • Scott Olsen (8-11) starts Sunday for Florida.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Johan Santana strikes out nine during his shutout while pitching on three days' rest.  (AP)
Johan Santana strikes out nine during his shutout while pitching on three days' rest. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

J. Santana
IP 9.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 3
K 9
New York

R. Martinez
AB 3
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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Florida Marlins
Hanley Ramirez, SS3000100 .301
John Baker, C4000023 .302
Jorge Cantu, 1B4010010 .278
Josh Willingham, LF3010101 .256
Dan Uggla, 2B4000032 .258
Cody Ross, CF4010001 .262
Wes Helms, 3B3000011 .240
Jeremy Hermida, RF2000110 .248
Ricky Nolasco, P1000010 .143
   a- Paul Lo Duca, PH1000000 .243
    Mark Hendrickson, P0000000 .257
Totals2903039  
a-flied out for Nolasco in the 8th
Batting
2B - Josh Willingham (21, Santana)
SH - Ricky Nolasco (10)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Helms-Cantu
Florida Marlins
Ricky Nolasco (L,15-8) 75221100 3.52
Mark Hendrickson 1100100 5.45
IBB - Castro by Ricky Nolasco
HBP - Murphy (by Ricky Nolasco)
Pitches-Strikes - Ricky Nolasco 111-76, Mark Hendrickson 14-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ricky Nolasco 5-6, Mark Hendrickson 1-1
Batters Faced - Ricky Nolasco 28, Mark Hendrickson 4
New York Mets
Jose Reyes, SS4110010 .297
Carlos Beltran, CF4020010 .284
Carlos Delgado, 1B3001011 .271
David Wright, 3B3020110 .304
Daniel Murphy, LF3100013 .315
    Endy Chavez, LF0000000 .269
Ramon Martinez, 2B3011013 .308
Ryan Church, RF3000032 .279
Ramon Castro, C2000100 .241
Johan Santana, P3000012 .141
Totals28262210  
Batting
2B - Ramon Martinez (3, Nolasco)
SF - Carlos Delgado (8)
RBI - Carlos Delgado (115), Ramon Martinez (3)
SB - Jose Reyes (56, 2nd base off Nolasco/Baker)
Team LOB - 6
New York Mets
Johan Santana (W,16-7) 9300390 2.53
IBB - H. Ramirez by Johan Santana
Pitches-Strikes - Johan Santana 117-74
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Johan Santana 8-10
Batters Faced - Johan Santana 33
Game Information
Attendance - 54920
Game Time - 2:17
Temperature - 67
Umpires - Home - Sam Holbrook, First Base - Gerry Davis, Second Base - Brian Gorman, Third Base - Bruce Dreckman