It took just 8,020 games. That's all.
Mets ace Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in Mets franchise history Friday night in an 8-0 win over the Cardinals. He threw 134 pitches, the most of his career by nine pitches.
"It's just a great night for baseball and the fans, to do something special," Santana told WFAN's Ed Coleman in the dugout after the game. "Trying to come back from surgery, never giving up. I'm so very happy and
blessed that I have an opportunity to be with this team and get this
done. It's a great, great feeling."
Santana walked five batters and struck out eight, contributing to his high pitch total. Through six innings, he had already thrown 93 pitches. Manager Terry Collins said he was only planning on letting Santana pitch about 110 pitches, give or take a few, in any game this entire season. He missed all of 2011 after undergoing shoulder surgery.
But Collins let Santana come out to hit in the bottom of the seventh inning -- and again in the bottom of the eighth -- to show he was going to let Santana give it a go.
"I had no clue [how many pitches I'd thrown]," Santana said. "I wasn't even thinking about how many pitches I'd thrown. You don't even think about pitch count."
"Certainly I wanted it for him, wanted it for the organization, but I didn't want to jeopardize the whole season for one inning," said a very emotional Collins after the game. "In five days, well see how it is."
The no-hitter was nearly broken up twice. In the sixth inning, former Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran, making his first return to Citi Field, hit a ball down the third base line that appeared on replay to hit the chalk and be fair. Third base umpire Adrian Johnson ruled the ball foul, however. Cardinald third base coach Jose Oquendo and manager Mike Matheny both argued, though neither were thrown out. He would later ground out.
"When he hit it, it was quick," Santana said just after the game. "I still haven't seen a replay. I wasn't able to really see what happened."
With one out in the seventh inning, left fielder Mike Baxter made a running catch on the warning track on a Yadier Molina drive, before crashing into the wall. Baxter held on to the ball, though he was injured. It was called a shoulder contusion. He was replaced in the lineup by Andres Torres.
"Unbelievable," Santana said about the catch. "When [Molina] hit the ball I knew it was carrying. It was great to see that."
The Mets had carried no-hitters into the ninth inning three times -- all by Hall of Famer Tom Seaver. He was the only pitcher to have a no-hitter through 8 2/3 in team history, against the Cubs in 1975. The Padres are now the only MLB team without a no-hitter.
Santana set down the ninth inning in order. Matt Holliday popped to center on the first pitch of the inning. Allen Craig lined out to Kirk Nieuwenheis in left. And then last year's World Series hero David Freese struck out swinging to end the game and put Santana in the record books.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.