NEW YORK - Johan Santana threw six scoreless innings in his best start since his no-hitter, and Lucas Duda hit a two-run homer just beyond the reach of right fielder Steven Pearce as the New York Mets beat the Baltimore Orioles, 5-0, in front of 32,587 at Citi Field Tuesday night.
Santana (5-3) wasn't as dominant as R.A. Dickey, who threw his second straight one-hitter in Monday's 5-0 win over the Orioles, but the left-hander - who allowed 10 runs in 10 innings in his first two starts after he threw the Mets' first no-hitter June 1 - looked every bit the Mets' co-ace as he surrendered just four hits and two walks while striking out five in a 101-pitch outing.
Santana navigated out of trouble in the fourth, when he stranded runners at second and third by striking out Mark Reynolds and Steve Pearce, and the sixth, when he induced Reynolds to pop up to short with two on and two out.
Dickey and Santana are a combined 16-4 with a 2.46 ERA in 28 starts this year. They've allowed just 133 hits and 49 walks while striking out 187 in 183 innings.
Bobby Parnell, Miguel Batista and Jon Rauch each threw a scoreless inning to preserve the Mets' National League-best eighth shutout.
The Mets scored two runs apiece in the sixth and seventh to blow open a close game. Duda's 11th homer gave the Mets a 3-0 lead, and Jordany Valdespin - who had scored on Duda's round-tripper - laced a two-run single in the seventh. Valdespin and Duda each had two hits.
Matt Wieters had two doubles and a walk for the Orioles, who were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position a night after they didn't get a runner past first base against Dickey. The Orioles have been shutout in consecutive games for the first time this season and have scored just nine runs in their last five games.
Orioles starter Tommy Hunter (3-4) took the loss after allowing five runs on seven hits and one walk with three strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
The Mets managed little in the first three innings against Hunter before pushing a run across in the fourth. David Wright singled to start the rally and extend his hitting streak to 10 games. Duda singled and Ike Davis walked before Daniel Murphy grounded out to first to bring home Wright.
Hunter, who opened his previous start with four perfect innings against the Pirates last Thursday, retired the first eight batters he faced Tuesday before Santana singled.
NOTES: Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts was caught stealing to end the third inning. It was his first stolen base attempt since he swiped two bases May 16, 2011. That was also the last game of the 2011 season for Roberts, who missed more than a year due to a concussion and returned to the Orioles on June 12. ... Orioles manager Buck Showalter admitted that outfielder Nolan Reimold (herniated disc in his neck) may need surgery. Before he hit the disabled list May 4, Reimold was hitting .313 with five homers and 10 RBIs in just 67 at-bats. ... Veteran right-hander Joel Pineiro (sore right shoulder) allowed one run in five innings in a rehab start for the rookie-level GCL Orioles. He has been on the disabled list at Triple-A Norfolk since May 15. ... Mets outfielder Jason Bay, on the 7-day disabled list with the concussion he suffered last Friday against the Reds, had another MRI Tuesday, the results of which weren't yet available when Mets manager Terry Collins held his pregame press conference. ... Collins said he briefly considered deploying a modified four-man rotation in order to get ace knuckleballer R.A. Dickey as many starts as possible and to get Santana and Chris Young, each of whom have endured major shoulder surgeries over the last two years, some extra rest. He decided against it because he didn't want to inconvenience the Mets' other starters, Dillon Gee and Jonathon Niese. He was also concerned how it would affect Dickey later in the season. "Everything looks great now - it's June," Collins said. "Ask [Dickey] how he felt last September. He was tired. The one thing we aren't going to do is look up in August and have this guy worn out because we were bringing him back on three days' rest." Dickey went 2-2 with a 1.82 ERA in five September starts last year but averaged just 4.9 strikeouts per nine innings, by far his lowest single-month total of the year.