MLB Notebook: No-han ends Mets' drought
It all started with Al Jackson on June 22, 1962.
That evening, at the Mets' first home -- the Polo Grounds -- the lefty Jackson threw the franchise's first complete game, a one-hitter. Since then, there have been 23 other one-hitters (not counting shortened games), 23 more flirtations with bringing the franchise its first no-hitter.
Tom Seaver had a brush with perfection on July 9, 1969, and a dominant one-hit shutout a year later, when Tom Terrific fanned 15 Phillies. Dwight Gooden's exclamation point to an iconic rookie season came when he held the Cubs to just a single hit in September '84. Tom Glavine took a no-hitter into the eighth against the Rockies on a Sunday at Shea in 2004. R.A. Dickey's knuckleball baffled batters in '10, and Steve Trachsel posted a pair of one-hit shutouts over a two-month span in '03.
In 1970, during a span of just 28 days, Seaver, Nolan Ryan and Gary Gentry each held the opposition to one measly hit. Terry Leach threw a 10-inning one-hitter in '82, Seaver threw his fifth one-hitter just two months before being traded to the Reds in '77, and David Cone was six outs away from the elusive first Mets no-no in '91.
So many what-ifs, fans left wondering if it would ever happen, each dalliance a reminder of how many elements need to combine in just the right way and at just the right moments. And now, of course, they have.
Just weeks before the 50th anniversary of Jackson's gem, the Mets, now in their third home, can probably look at all of those one-hitters just a little bit differently. In the franchise's 8,020th regular season game, Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in franchise history Friday night, striking out eight to go with five walks in an 8-0 win vs. the Cardinals.
The no-hitter was the 268th in the regular season in baseball history, the 133rd in National League history, and the third in the big leagues this season, after Philip Humber's perfect game and Jered Weaver's no-no. Santana and Humber were involved in the same trade in 2008, when the Twins sent Santana to the Mets in exchange for Humber and others.
In each of the past three seasons there have been at least three no-hitters. Baseball had not experienced a streak like that since there were at least three every season from 1967-77.
Santana's game broke a string of four straight no-hitters by right-handers. Before Santana, the most recent lefty to throw one had been his former teammate Francisco Liriano. Left-handers have thrown three of the past 12 no-hitters; before this stretch, southpaws had thrown five of the previous nine.
Santana is one of 16 pitchers in history to win multiple Cy Young Awards. Of those 16, he is one of nine to also have a no-hitter. The haves: Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax, Jim Palmer, Seaver, Gaylord Perry, Bob Gibson, Roy Halladay, Bret Saberhagen and Santana. The have-nots: Roger Clemens, Steve Carlton, Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Glavine, Tim Lincecum, and Denny McLain.
In his previous start, Santana threw a four-hit shutout. He is the first Mets pitcher to hurl consecutive shutouts since Cone, in 1992, and the first Mets pitcher since Jerry Koosman, in '68, to post consecutive shutouts on four or fewer hits. Santana is the first pitcher in the Majors with back-to-back shutouts on no more than four hits since Roy Oswalt, in 2008, and the first left-hander to do that since Dontrelle Willis, in '03.
With Santana's effort Friday, the Padres are the only current franchise without a no-hitter.
Curtis Granderson hit his 17th home run -- a second-inning grand slam against Tigers southpaw Casey Crosby -- and helped the Yankees to a 9-4 win over Detroit.
Since the start of the 2010 season, Granderson has 26 home runs against left-handers, tying him with the Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez and the Reds' Jay Bruce for the most by any left-handed batter.
This year, Granderson's total of 17 homers through 51 team games tied him with Lou Gehrig (1929, '30), Roger Maris ('61), and Alex Rodriguez (2005) for the 12th most for the franchise. Among center fielders, only Mickey Mantle hit more homers through the Yankees' first 51 games. In '56, Mantle had 21, and in '57, he had 18. Granderson owns the third- and fourth-highest totals, with his 17 this season and 16 through 51 games a year ago.
Boston's Daniel Nava went 4-for-5 with three doubles and the Red Sox defeated the Blue Jays, 7-2, to improve to 27-25 on the season.
Nava is the 15th Red Sox player this season to have at least two doubles in a game, but the first to have three. Boston has 137 doubles this year -- 30 more than the Majors' No. 2 team (the Royals) and far ahead of the pace set by the Rangers in 2008, when they collected a Major League-record 376 two-base hits. In '08, Texas had 116 through 52 games.
Here and there
In Cleveland's 7-1 win over Minnesota, Jason Kipnis hit his first career grand slam, giving him his third game this season with at least four RBIs. Before Kipnis, no Indians second baseman in the live-ball era had three such games through the club's first 51 affairs.
Aroldis Chapman struck out the side and picked up a save in the Reds' 4-1 win over the Astros. The left-hander has 47 strikeouts in 27 innings (15.67 strikeouts per nine innings). For any pitcher in history with at least 50 innings in a season, Kenley Jansen (2011) holds the mark for the highest K's per nine, at 16.10.
The White Sox defeated the Mariners, 7-4, to extend their winning streak to nine games. It is the longest winning streak in the big leagues this season, and the longest for the White Sox since 2010, when the club had both an 11-game winning streak and a nine-game run.
Felipe Paulino (six innings, three hits) and three Royals relievers combined on a three-hitter, as Kansas City blanked Oakland, 2-0. Paulino has made six starts this season, and in four of them he finished with at least six innings pitched and no runs allowed. Those four tie Paulino with Gio Gonzalez and Weaver for the most in the Majors this season.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.