7,488: Murphy’s error key as Johnson tops Santana in pitchers’ duel

Now that’s pitching!

The Mets’ Johan Santana and the Marlins’ Josh Johnson battled it out in an Easter Sunday pitchers’ duel, but an error by outfielder Daniel Murphy proved key as it led to a 2-1 loss in Miami.

Santana struck out 13, but Johnson pitched the Majors’ first complete game of 2009 to give the Marlins a rubber game victory in the three-game series.

Santana actually gave up his first run before his first hit when left-fielder Daniel Murphy misplayed a warning-track fly ball with two out in the second. Murphy initially took a few steps in before backtracking and watching the ball bounce off his glove, giving the Marlins a 1-0 lead on what should have been the third out.

The next batter, Ronny Paulino, lined a single to left to put Florida up 2-0 and advance out NoNoHitters.com count to 7,488 games without a New York Mets no-hitter.

Luis Castillo blooped a broken-bat single into right field in the sixth inning to break up Josh Johnson’s no-hitter.

Carlos Delgado got a two-out rally started in the ninth inning with a deep double and Carlos Beltran knocked him home with a single up the middle, but Ryan Church’s liner to left couldn’t find green. Johnson held the Mets to three hits.

Santana also pitched a gem, giving up two unearned runs on three hits and a walk.

The Mets return to New York for Citi Field’s debut Monday night.

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