Johnny Vander Meer's place in history as the only pitch to throw back-to-back no-hitters remains secure thanks to a New York Yankees offensive outburst against Johan Santana on Friday night that included back-to-back-to-back home runs in the third inning.
Robinson Cano started the barrage with his second two-run homer of the evening. That's the first time a left-handed batter has gone yard twice in the same game against Santana in his big league career. Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones then followed suit from the right side, which, according to Elias, makes Santana the second pitcher to allow four home runs the start following a no-hitter.
Catfish Hunter was the first back in 1968. No pitcher coming off a no-no has ever allowed more than the four, which also tied Santana's career-high for home runs allowed in a start.
Needless to say, this wasn't the follow up performance Mets fans wanted to see after Santana needed a career-high 134 pitches to register the first no-hitter in franchise history one week ago against St. Louis. But Santana wasn't willing to use that heavy workload as an excuse for the rough outing.
''A couple of extra days and I felt fine,'' Santana said. ''I just didn't have my feeling for a couple of my pitches. There were times when they stayed up and when you leave pitches up, you know, they're a pretty good team and in this ballpark, you keep pitches up, they end up out of the park, and that's what happened.''
Sometimes when a pitcher leaves his pitches up it can be an indication of rust, or perhaps even overthrowing because he has too much built up energy. That's the way Mets skipper Terry Collins was leaning after the game, as he was quick to take responsibility for the possible error in judgment.
''It's my doing, it's not his,'' Collins said. ''We erred on the side of caution and it cost us the game tonight.''
It's also possible the Yankees relentless offensive attack was simply on point Friday night and would have made life miserable for whoever they opposed. That's the way I would vote. But regardless of the reason it happened, the good news for Santana, Collins and Mets fans as well, is that the veteran lefty is no worse for the wear physically after throwing 86 more pitches in just four innings.
By the way, on the other side of the field it was Yankees' starter Hiroki Kuroda who flirted with history, taking a no-no of his own into the sixth. That's when Omar Quintanilla laced a two-out double to the opposite field to break it up. Kuroda ended up settling for seven innings of one-hit ball as the Yankees cruised to a 9-1 win.