Johnson (3-3, 5.89 ERA) figures to become the 24th member of the 300-win club at some point this season, and with the winningest active pitcher behind him only at 249 wins (Jamie Moyer(notes)), he could be the last 300-game winner for quite a while.
The left-hander earned his 298th win on Monday despite giving up four runs and eight hits, including three homers, with nine strikeouts over five innings of an 11-7 victory over Washington.
“It was an all-or-nothing kind of night,” said Johnson, whose 10 homers allowed is among the most in the majors. “You’re going to make mistakes, but it just seems like they’re magnified now. I don’t get away with as many things as I used to.”
Johnson is 0-3 with a 6.89 ERA in his last five starts against the Mets, but he hasn’t faced them since a loss with Arizona on May 4, 2007.
Standing in Johnson’s way are Santana (4-2, 0.78) and the NL East-leading Mets (20-15), winners of 10 of 12.
Santana’s record isn’t all that impressive but he has received minimal run support from his teammates. The Mets have scored only 11 total runs in their ace’s seven starts for an average of 2.15 runs per game - the third-lowest total of any qualifying starter in the majors.
The left-hander was a victim of the same problem last season, as the Mets averaged 2.2 runs in his 12 starts that resulted in losses for the club. Santana has not allowed an earned run in his two losses this season.
“It’s crazy that it happened twice already,” Santana said. “There’s not many things I can do.”
The two-time Cy Young winner was outstanding again Monday, yielding two unearned runs and seven hits while striking out six over 6 1-3 innings of an 8-3 loss to Atlanta.
“Hopefully, there will come a point where we will pick him up,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “I think it’s just coincidence, I really do. He’s the type of guy that gets everybody up before his game. He might be getting ‘em too geeked - that might be it. I think it’ll turn around.”
Santana won his only start against the Giants last season, allowing three hits with five strikeouts in five innings of a 5-0 victory.
New York’s offense has been hot lately, batting .328 with 22 runs over the last three games. The Mets are tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers as the best hitting team in baseball at .291.
The Mets collected 14 hits Friday night to rally from a four-run, seventh-inning deficit for an 8-6 win over San Francisco (18-17). The Mets stole four bases, a night after setting a franchise record with seven steals in a 7-4 win to open this four-game series.
David Wright(notes) has been a big part of that success, getting three hits in each game while totaling six RBIs - three on a game-tying double Friday - and five stolen bases. The third baseman is 14 for 29 (.483) with nine RBIs over the last seven games.
New York has won seven in a row over the Giants, one shy of its team record in the all-time series set during the 1990 and ’91 seasons.