Santana cruises, Mets beat Cards to take series

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NEW YORK (AP)—Johan Santana took in six innings at Shea Stadium on Saturday night before heading home. He flipped on the TV and proceeded to watch the Mets’ bullpen doggedly battle St. Louis into the 14th before finally succumbing.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner woke up Sunday knowing exactly what he needed to do.

Santana effortlessly tossed his seventh complete game, getting two-run homers from Fernando Tatis and Ramon Castro as New York pounded Kyle Lohse and the Cardinals 9-1 to wrap up another successful homestand.

“We needed that big,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “He was very adamant about going back out. He really wanted the complete game.”

Santana (9-7) allowed six hits and a walk in winning for just the second time since June 1, a maddening stretch during which he was tagged with four losses and four no-decisions. He was pulled after eight innings Tuesday against Philadelphia, and the bullpen blew a three-run lead in the loss.

Didn’t happen this time.

It was Santana’s first complete game since a shutout of the Mets on June 19, 2007, when he was with the Twins. He also had two hits, drove in his first run of the year and scored another.

“I knew coming in that I had to do something to help out,” Santana said. “I was able to do my job and give the guys a break.”

He got some help when center fielder Carlos Beltran robbed Ryan Ludwick of a home run in the seventh, a ball that would have easily cleared the wall. The crowd erupted three times as the replay was shown repeatedly on the big screen.

David Wright homered and added three hits for New York, which took four of six from contenders Philadelphia and St. Louis and now departs for a six-game trip through Florida and Houston. The NL East leaders have won 11 of 13 at home and 15 of 19 overall.

Lohse (12-3) allowed seven runs and 11 hits in five-plus innings, the first time in six tries he didn’t make it to the seventh. It was his first loss since May 9, a span of 15 starts.

“It was one of those days where you have a hard time getting in a groove,” Lohse said. “You try to get it going and it just didn’t work out.”

Albert Pujols homered a day after hitting the go-ahead, two-run shot that lifted the Cardinals to a 10-8 win in a game that lasted 5 hours, 9 minutes. But they still wound up with their sixth loss in seven games.

Santana faced the minimum over the first four innings, retiring the side in the third on six pitches and setting down 10 in a row after Brendan Ryan led off the game with a walk. Santana didn’t allow a hit until Troy Glaus singled leading off the fifth.

“You don’t get very many opportunities against a guy like that,” Ryan said. “He had his stuff working.”

The Mets pushed across two runs in the third. Jose Reyes hit a leadoff double, and Endy Chavez laid down a perfect bunt along the first-base line. Pujols appeared to tag him as he slid by the bag, but first base umpire Sam Holbrook ruled him safe. Carlos Delgado followed with a sacrifice fly and Beltran added an RBI single.

Wright made it 3-0 in the fifth, hitting the first pitch he saw into the left-field bleachers for his 20th homer, and the Mets added five more runs in the sixth.

Beltran singled leading off and Tatis, who hit the tying homer in the ninth Saturday night, went deep again. Damion Easley followed with a hit and Castro chased Lohse with his shot to left.

Santana nearly made it three homers in the sixth when he hit a flyball down the right-field line off Randy Flores. Santana figured it would either be a home run or foul ball and stood in the batter’s box watching as it hit midway up the wall.

He jogged to first with a single and later scored on a base hit by Wright.

“It was terrible running by me,” Santana said. “It was a long single, is what it was.”


Cardinals OF Rick Ankiel was held out of the lineup after pulling a muscle around his abdomen Saturday night, manager Tony La Russa said. … The Cardinals were supposed to leave immediately after the game for a series at Atlanta, but their plane was delayed in Chicago when it ended. … A downpour 90 minutes before the first pitch threatened to delay the start, but the grounds crew did a nice job getting the field ready. Rain began again in the seventh and there was lightning in the ninth, but play wasn’t stopped.

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