Santana cruises, Mets beat Cards

July 27, 2008 12:58:38 PM PDT
Johan Santana gave the Mets exactly what they needed after a 14-inning marathon used up their bullpen. The two-time Cy Young Award winner pitched his seventh complete game, Fernando Tatis and Ramon Castro hit two-run homers and New York pounded Kyle Lohse and the St. Louis Cardinals 9-1 on Sunday to wrap up another successful homestand.

Santana (9-7) allowed six hits and a walk in winning for just the second time since June 1, a maddening stretch during which he was tagged with four losses and four no-decisions. He also scored a run and drove in another while throwing his first complete game since a shutout of the Mets on June 19, 2007, when he was with the Twins.

He got some help from his defense when center fielder Carlos Beltran robbed Ryan Ludwick of a home run in the seventh, a ball that would have easily cleared the wall. The crowd erupted three times as the replay was shown repeatedly on the big screen at Shea Stadium.

David Wright homered and had three hits for the Mets, who took two of three from contenders Philadelphia and St. Louis and now depart for a six-game trip through Florida and Houston loaded with confidence. The NL East leaders have won 11 of 13 at home and 15 of 19 overall.

Lohse (12-3) allowed seven runs and 11 hits in five-plus innings, the first time in six starts he didn't make it to the seventh. It was his first loss since May 9, a span of 15 starts.

Albert Pujols homered a day after hitting a go-ahead, two-run shot to lift the Cardinals to the win in a game that lasted 5 hours, 9 minutes. But it wasn't nearly enough as St. Louis lost for the sixth time in seven games.

Santana faced the minimum over the first four innings, retiring the side in the third on six pitches and setting down 10 in a row after Brendan Ryan led off the game with a walk. Santana didn't allow a hit until Troy Glaus singled leading off the fifth.

By then, the Mets already had a two-run cushion.

Jose Reyes doubled to start the third, and Endy Chavez laid down a perfect bunt along the first-base line. Pujols fielded it and appeared to tag Chavez on his helmet as he contorted his body in a slide that grazed the bag. First base umpire Sam Holbrook immediately ruled him safe and, after a brief discussion with Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, the call was upheld.

Carlos Delgado drove in Reyes with a sacrifice fly moments later, and Beltran followed with an RBI single to right.

Wright made it 3-0 in the fifth, hitting the first pitch he saw into the left-field bleachers for his 20th homer of the year, and the Mets added five more runs in the sixth.

Beltran singled leading off and Tatis, who sent the game to extra innings Saturday night with a ninth-inning homer, went deep again. Damion Easley followed with a base hit and Castro chased Lohse with his shot to left field.

Santana nearly made it three homers in the sixth when he hit a flyball down the right-field line off Randy Flores. Santana evidently figured it would either be a home run or foul ball and stood in the batter's box watching as it hit midway up the wall.

Santana jogged to first with a single and later scored on a base hit by Wright.