A pitching duel on paper actually translated to one on the field.
Johan Santana has now thrown 16 shutout innings in his last two starts. Earning his money yet? Santana scattered eight hits through his seven stanzas of work tonight, walking only one and striking out five. He threw 121 pitches, otherwise I think he would have stayed in the game for all nine.
Santana faced a little trouble in the second, when he had runners on second and third and one out. He got a ground ball and then struck out Roy Oswalt to end the threat. He only worked one 1-2-3 inning, and that came in the fourth inning. Other than that, he had runners on in every inning.
Perfect Santana tonight. Absolutely outstanding. I can't sing his accolades anymore than I already am just by showing you his numbers. He's something special. Anyone miss Carlos Gomez and the other Twins?
Aaron Heilman threw a perfect eighth inning, striking out one. Luis Ayala earned the save, also working a perfect inning, as he struck out two 'Stros before getting old friend David Newhan to ground out to end the game.
Is it too soon to say the bullpen looks good lately? Because it has. Again, whatever the Mets did to adjust Ayala's arm angle seems to be working. I don't like the way it looks, as he looks like he's throwing a shot put or heaving the ball across the plate, but it's working and that's all that matters.
A big hand must go to Oswalt, who threw a complete game but still was tagged with the loss. Eight innings for the man with the tractor, only allowing four hits and walking none. He struck out six Mets.
The Mets scored another first inning run, as Jose Reyes singled to lead off the game, and moved to second on a wild pitch. Argenis Reyes sacrificed him over to third, and David Wright eventually drove him in with a single of his own.
I love Reyes as the table setter. He's the perfect player for that role as he has the ability to get on base a lot and can even crack a few homers to start the game if he's in a groove. The Mets lead the majors with first inning runs, and I couldn't be happier.
The other Mets runs came in the second inning, before Oswalt settled in. Ryan Church singled in his first at bat after a looooooooong time off due to his concussions and migraines. He wasn't on base very long, as Brian Schneider cracked a two-run home run to left field a few pitches later.
Schneider seems to be getting a little toasty. He's found his home run swing.
The Rest of the Story
After the second inning, the Mets were set down in order in the: third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth.
Oswalt needed only 102 pitches to get through his eight innings.
Daniel Murphy is now batting a putrid .380 on the year.
Game Ball: Johan Santana and Roy Oswalt