The Mets rallied for six runs in the middle innings and ace Johan Santana provided another stellar start Tuesday night as the Mets downed the Chicago Cubs 6-2.
With the Philadelphia Phillies’ 3-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves, the Mets climbed back to 1 1/2 games back in the N.L. East. And with the Milwaukee Brewers late comeback win versus the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Mets hold on to a one-game lead in the wild-card race.
Santana, throwing a career high 125 pitches, struck out 10 batters over eight innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and one walk.
The Mets, down 2-0 in the fifth, tied the game on a David Wright single that scored Nick Evans (hit by pitch) and Santana (single). They took the lead in the sixth when Carlos Delgado hit a bloop double to left and eventually scored on a throwing error. Then, after the Mets loaded the bases, Jose Reyes cleared them with a three-run triple.
Santana lost his no-no with two outs in the first when Derrek Lee doubled to right, making it 7,477 games without a New York Mets no-hitter.
Manager Jerry Manuel brought in southpaw Pedro Feliciano for the ninth to face lefty Kosuke Fukudome and he got Fukudome to pop out, but he then gave up back-to-back singles to Henry Blanco and Micah Hoffpauir. (A four-run lead is never relaxing when you’re a Mets fan.) Manuel then gave the ball to Luis Ayala, who got the final two outs for the save.
SNY play-by-play announcer Gary Cohen during the broadcast quoted some interesting numbers from the Elias Sports Bureau that illustrate the Mets bullpen’s lefty-righty splits. Mets’ opponents facing same-handed hurlers (righty-vs.-righty or lefty-vs.-lefty) are batting .224, while hitters facing opposite-handed pitchers (righty-vs.-lefty or lefty-vs.-righty) are batting .295.