Johan Santana made history the last time he took the mound.
A win over the New York Yankees might be satisfying enough this time.
Coming off the first no-hitter in the history of the New York Mets, Santana will be well-rested when he takes the mound at Yankee Stadium on Friday night for the first installment of the 2012 Subway Series.
Santana (3-2, 2.38 ERA) cemented his status in Mets lore last Friday, pitching the franchise’s first no-hitter in an 8-0 victory over St. Louis. The dazzling performance, accomplished in a career-high 134 pitches, may have been even more impressive in light of the fact that major shoulder surgery forced him to miss all of last year.
That’s why manager Terry Collins opted to push Santana’s scheduled start back two days to the opener of this weekend’s set.
“That extra day is always good,” said Santana, who has thrown two straight shutouts. “I know my body very well, so I know if something is not right, I’ll let him know. I’m not going to do anything crazy.”
The left-hander has gone 3-0 with a 2.06 ERA in his last eight starts. To continue that roll, he’ll have to improve his performance at the new Yankee Stadium.
Santana has lost his two starts at the park, surrendering 13 runs in nine innings while the Yankees (31-25) hit .405 with two homers against him. He gave up nine runs in three innings in the first of those games, a 15-0 defeat June 14, 2009.
He was much better at the old Yankee Stadium, going 3-0 with a 2.05 ERA.
The Mets (32-26) dropped four of six in the Subway Series last year, losing two of three at Yankee Stadium from May 20-22. They arrive in the Bronx after ending a three-game skid with a 3-1 win at Washington on Thursday.
Lucas Duda had a two-run homer among his two hits Thursday, and is batting .357 with five home runs and 12 RBIs in his last eight games. He went 3 for 9 against the Yankees last year.
Mets third baseman David Wright, 6 for 17 in his last four games, has batted .410 in his last nine road meetings with the Yankees. He is 6 for 14 versus Hiroki Kuroda (4-6, 3.82) who will get the ball in the series opener.
The Yankees are one-half game behind AL East leaders Baltimore and Tampa Bay. They lost 7-3 to the Rays on Thursday but have won 10 of 14.
They’ve been playing well despite a rough patch for Derek Jeter, who is 2 for 20 with a solo homer in his last five games, dropping his season average 21 points to .319.
Facing the Mets could get Jeter going, as he’s batting .481 with six homers during a 25-game home hitting streak in the series. Jeter is hitting .435 with 10 homers in 41 career home Subway Series contests during the regular season, and is 15 for 33 with five doubles and a homer off Santana.
Kuroda is seeking a third straight strong outing.
The right-hander allowed two runs in seven innings while not getting a decision in a 4-3 loss at Detroit on Saturday. That performance came six days after he yielded four hits in eight innings of a 2-0 victory at Oakland.
Kuroda hasn’t been very effective in seven career starts against the Mets, going 1-5 with a 5.75 ERA with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He lost to the Mets twice last year while surrendering nine runs in 11 2-3 innings.