The ace looks to end the longest losing streak of his career Wednesday night in the middle game of the Mets’ series against the San Francisco Giants.
Santana (7-7, 2.96 ERA) is 0-4 with a 2.48 ERA in his last six starts. The Mets (46-44) have lost all of those contests, as they’ve provided Santana with 11 total runs of support while hitting .197 (38-for-193) in those games.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner was terrific again Friday, allowing two runs and six hits with six strikeouts in eight innings at Philadelphia. He didn’t factor in the decision of the Mets’ 3-2 defeat.
“At least Johan didn’t lose it,” New York manager Jerry Manuel said.
The Mets mustered only four hits in Friday’s loss, but have responded by hitting .358 with six homers while outscoring opponents 30-15 in winning all four of their games since. They opened this series Tuesday by racking up 14 hits in a 7-0 victory over the Giants (39-51).
“We’re doing a lot of things right,” said Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado, who is 7-for-18 (.389) with a solo homer during the winning streak. “I think we’re executing a little better, we’re communicating a little better - and the boys are throwing strikes.”
The four consecutive victories have moved the third-place Mets within 1 1/2 games of the NL East-leading Phillies.
If Santana can end his skid, he will help New York match its longest winning streak of the season, a five-game run April 15-19.
The left-hander has no record and a 3.24 ERA in two games against San Francisco, but hasn’t faced them since making his only career start against them on June 14, 2005.
The Giants will turn to Jonathan Sanchez (8-4, 3.87), who is looking to win for the seventh time in nine starts.
The left-hander is 6-1 with a 3.31 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 51 2-3 innings over his last eight outings after winning only twice in his first 10 starts of the season.
He defeated the Mets with a strong performance at home on June 2, when he allowed two runs and six hits with eight strikeouts in seven innings of a 10-2 win. He’s 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in three career games against New York.
Sanchez, though, is coming off a shaky outing. He yielded three runs and five hits with seven strikeouts and three walks in five innings while not factoring in the decision of a 10-7 loss to Los Angeles on Friday. It marked only the second time in Sanchez’s last 10 starts that he failed to pitch at least six innings.
San Francisco is trying to avoid its third consecutive loss and fourth in five games.