Mets pound Johnson, deny Unit 299th win

May 16, 2009 6:05:53 PM PDT
Randy Johnson plans to bury himself in the film room between starts to figure out what's going wrong. The Big Unit knows his pursuit of 300 wins could take a while if he doesn't get on track.

Johnson dug himself an early hole against New York and ace Johan Santana, and the potent Mets beat the San Francisco Giants 9-6 on Saturday with another late rally.

"I'm not too happy with my last three starts. I'm not happy where I'm at," Johnson said. "I need to do some work on the video machine and talk with (pitching coach Dave Righetti) a little bit.

I'll look at location, sequences."

Carlos Beltran hit a pair of doubles and drove in three runs, and David Wright had a two-run double and three RBIs for New York.

Fill-in cleanup hitter Gary Sheffield added three hits as the Mets won their 11th in 13 games and improved to 12-3 in May.

The Big Unit, looking to become the 24th pitcher to reach the 300-win milestone, is stuck on 298 victories. He heads to familiar territory to try again: Seattle on Friday night. That's where his career took off in the early 1990s.

Santana (5-2), the NL ERA leader at 0.78 coming in, was far from dominant in a pitching matchup of two southpaws with seven Cy Young awards between them. He allowed a season-high six runs, his four earned runs double his previous 2009 total and raised his ERA to 1.36, and it was only the second time he had allowed 11 hits in his career.

J.J. Putz pitched a 1-2-3 ninth in place of Francisco Rodriguez for his first save since last Sept. 28 with Seattle. Putz had been nursing inflammation in his righs. The Mets have scored 24 runs in his eight outings, 18 while he was on the mound. They have 165 runs in their other 28 games, an average of 5.89.

New York has stolen 13 bases the first three games of the series, getting two in the first inning Saturday. It's the first time the Mets have stolen that many in a three-game stretch.

"The key for us is to try and manufacture runs," Manuel said.

"With the way we've been running, it creates a diversion for the opposition that they have to start paying attention to us a little bit."

Notes: Johnson has five Cy Young awards and Santana two. The last time two pitchers with so many Cy Youngs faced off was July 19, 2006, featuring Houston's Roger Clemens (seven) and Chicago's Greg Maddux (four), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. ... Santana allowed 12 hits to the Braves on May 22, 2008. ... Travis Ishikawa returned for San Francisco after bruising his eye during batting practice Friday.