It's second nature for New York Mets fans to be pessimistic. So they worried after Johan Santana needed 134 pitches on June 1 to toss the first no-hitter in franchise history.
Santana, who missed all of last season recovering from shoulder surgery, was less than effective in his two turns following his history-making start. He was roughed up against the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays for a combined 10 runs on 13 hits in 10 innings. Mets fans panicked.
Well, they can relax now.
On Tuesday, June 19, Santana spun six scoreless innings, as the Mets defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 5-0, at Citi Field. He allowed four hits, two walks and struck out five batters before giving way to the bullpen. Lucas Duda lost a two-run home run and Jordany Valdespin added a two-run single in support of the lefty, as the Mets (36-32) shut out the Orioles by the same score for the second straight game.
"He's kind of back in his routine," Mets manager Terry Collins told MLB.com. "I think now he's back doing what he's got to do. We're going to see a lot of nights like tonight where you're going to see some zeros on the board when he's out there."
Poor outings happen, even to pitchers who throw no-hitters. Matt Cain pitched a perfect game on June 13 against the Houston Astros. In his next start, on June 18 against the Los Angeles Angels, he coughed up three runs on six hits and four walks in five innings. However, after Santana's poor outing against the Yankees, Collins took the blame. He was smacked around by the Rays and fans made excuses.
It was much ado about nothing.
Santana was on point against a potent Orioles club, which has looked helpless in the first two games of this series. In the first game, R.A. Dickey tossed his second straight one-hitter. The Mets may have their issues, but as long as Santana and Dickey stay healthy, they have two less things to worry about.
Adam Martini is a freelance sportswriter who grew up in Queens, N.Y. with a view of Shea Stadium from his bedroom window. He spent many nights in the upper deck at Shea rooting for the Mets. You can follow him on Twitter @PegCitySports.