Johan Santana of the New York Mets celebrates with Josh Thole after pitching a no hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals at CitiField in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Johan Santana pitched the first no hitter in Mets history as the Mets defeated the Cardinals 8-0. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Johan Santana Throws Mets' First No-Hitter

For the first time in team history, a Mets pitcher threw a no-hitter. Johan Santana struck out David Freese with two outs in the ninth to finish the job.

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FanGraphs: As Usual, Change-up Was Key Pitch For Santana

Johan Santana used to throw pretty hard and doesn’t any more, but it’s always been the change-up that’s really set him apart. And this was just as true Friday night in his no-hitter as it’s ever been, as Santana threw 38 change-ups and recorded nine outs with them.

FanGraphs’ Jack Moore:

It’s only fitting. Although his injuries may make a Hall of Fame bid difficult, Santana’s changeup is no doubt a hall-of-fame caliber pitch. Santana is the career leader in changeup pitch value since BIS began tracking the data in 2002 at 133.4 runs saved, and his changeup saves an average of 2.11 runs per 100 times thrown. The only pitcher who throws his changeup so often to even come close is Cole Hamels, at 2.02.

Open Moore’s piece and you’ll be rewarded with a number of .gifs, showing just how effective Santana’s change-up was.

Is he back to where he used to be? We’ll explore that one later …


N.Y. Times: No-Hit Catcher Almost Missed It

We'll always remember Johan Santana for throwing the first no-hitter in New York Mets history.

But at least one man will always remember Josh Thole for catching the first no-hitter in New York Mets history ...

Josh Thole, who almost wasn't behind the plate Friday night. Thole sustained a concussion on May 7, and Friday night's appearance was his first since then. And according to Thole, he almost didn't make it. From the Times:

Manager Terry Collins had nearly persuaded Thole to play one more minor league rehab game.

"T.C. tried to talk me into it, actually," Thole said of Collins at his locker about an hour after he embraced Santana on the mound at Citi Field. "He asked, ‘Are you sure you’re ready?’ I said, ‘I’m ready. That’s it. I think I can handle it.’ "

Regardless of the talents of the Mets' other catchers, it's safe to say that with any other catcher Friday night, the no-hitter wouldn't have happened. The pitches called would have been at least slightly different, and the result might have been a bloop single or a few line drives and a three-run home run. We can't know exactly what would have happened without Thole, but we can almost know that Johan Santana would have allowed at least one hit.

Read the whole piece, and find out how Santana (and Thole!) got the Cardinals in the ninth inning.


Amazin' Avenue: A Graphical Representation Of The Mets' No-Hitter Drought

As you no doubt know by now, the New York Mets had not had a no-hitter in their 50-plus year history, until Johan Santana threw one Friday night.

Via our SB Nation Mets site Amazin’ Avenue, here is a graphical representation of just how many games that is:

Click on image for a larger version in a new browser window

To give you another idea of how long this timespan is, the Mets played their first game on April 11, 1962.

That’s 18,314 days ago. Or, if you want other counts of the passage of time since then:

439,536 hours. 26,372,160 minutes. 1,582,329,600 seconds.

That’s an awful lot of time. Santana’s no-hitter leaves the San Diego Padres, who have been in business since 1969, as the only franchise without a no-hitter. Through Friday night, the Padres have played 6,895 games — so they still have 1,125 games to go to surpass the Mets’ total, or 2,050 games for the all-time consecutive no-hitterless record. That’s held by the Phillies, who had none from 1906 to 1964.

Check back on this in about seven years.


No-Hitters Are Life ... Especially For Mets Fans

Did you miss Johan Santana's no-hitter Friday night, the first ever by a Met? Don't worry. You'll have another chance someday.


Johan Santana Throws First No-Hitter In Mets History

Hall of Famer Tom Seaver took a no-hitter into the ninth inning three times as a Met; all three of them were broken up, and the Mets have never had one in their history, though they have thrown 35 one-hitters and six no-nos pitched against them.

Johan Santana went out in the ninth inning Friday night at Citi Field with a no-hitter intact, an 8-0 lead, and 122 pitches thrown, three short of his career high, with a chance to make Mets history. The Cardinals had not been no-hit in 22 years, since Fernando Valenzuela threw one against them in 1990.

Leading off the ninth inning, the Cardinals’ Matt Holliday hit a line drive directly to center fielder Andres Torres on Santana’s first pitch, his 123rd of the night.

The next hitter, Allen Craig, who was just activated from the disabled list for this game, ran the count to 2-2 before hitting a sinking fly ball that Kirk Niewenhuis caught on the run in left field. During the at-bat, Santana set a career high with his 126th pitch.

David Freese was the Cardinals’ last chance. He ran the count to 3-0 and then struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch, followed by this celebration:

A fan tried to join the celebration. Denied!

Another angle on the fan:

Up close and personal:

Congratulations to Johan Santana, who in the Mets’ 8,020th game as a major league franchise, has thrown the first no-hitter in team history.


Johan Santana No-Hitter Intact Through Eight Innings

Entering the eighth inning of the game between the Mets and Cardinals at Citi Field, Johan Santana had thrown 107 pitches, one short of his season high, and had issued four walks. It has been two years — since June 2, 2010 — that Santana had thrown more than 120 pitches in a game.

In a normal game, he might have been lifted, with his team ahead 8-0. But there’s a no-hitter going, so Santana headed out for the eighth.

The Cardinals’ leadoff hitter in the eighth, second baseman Tyler Greene, popped Santana’s first pitch into short left field. Kirk Niewenhuis and shortstop Omar Quintanilla nearly collided, but Niewenhuis caught the ball.

Shane Robinson, batting for pitcher Sam Freeman, hit next, and was called out on strikes. The play was somewhat controversial; a 1-2 pitch appeared to hit Robinson, but plate umpire Gary Cederstrom ruled it ball two.

Rafael Furcal came up with two out and walked, Santana’s fifth base on balls. Manager Terry Collins came out, said a few words, and left Santana in.

Former Met Carlos Beltran was the next hitter and hit a little flared popup in the infield that was caught by second baseman Daniel Murphy and the no-hitter was intact through eight — one inning away from the first no-hitter in New York Mets history.

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