Johan Santana stood on the mound and began to absentmindedly kick at the dirt as new Yankee Stadium transformed into the world’s largest outdoor asylum.
What else he could do?
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The Mets’ ace had just delivered a fastball that Mark Teixeira launched over the left-field bleachers for a grand slam. That there were six innings remaining was irrelevant. Teixeira’s third-inning grand slam was a vicious body blow to the Mets’ solar plexus, one that they would not recover from in their 4-0 Subway Series finale loss.
Santana (5-4) allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings. In his only other start at the new Yankee Stadium, Santana surrendered nine runs on nine hits in three innings in the Mets’ 15-0 loss to the Yankees last June. He has a 13.00 ERA in his two starts in the new Bronx palace.
“We had a routine play that we were supposed to make and we didn’t make it and they took advantage,” Santana said. “Instead of staying within a couple runs, [they] hit a grand slam. I’m just trying to stay focused and throw my pitches and keep the ball down.”
The decisive inning started innocently enough. Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter led off with singles. Then Nick Swisher reached base on a sac bunt when Ruben Tejada collided with Santana at first. Teixeira’s crushing blow came three pitches later.
“My straight line is to go to the base and wait for Ike [Davis] to toss the ball to me. All of a sudden Tejada was there and we missed the play,” Santana said. “It’s just one of those things where a lack of communication ended up [costing] us some runs.”