PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Hostile fans, a hitter-friendly ballpark and a potent lineup didn't intimidate Johan Santana. He passed his biggest test with the New York Mets so far.
Santana struck out 10 over seven innings, David Wright fell a homer short of the cycle and the Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-4 on Friday night.Following two consecutive losses, Santana (2-2) allowed three runs and four hits, outpitching Cole Hamels in a matchup of two of the best left-handers in the majors.
A Whiff Of Success
Johan Santana had his first game with 10 strikeouts or more as a Met in New York's 6-4 win over Philly on Friday. He now has 40 such games, sixth all-time among active players.
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"It was a different experience. New ballpark, new team," Santana said. "It was a great atmosphere. Fortunately, we won."Wright finished 4-for-4 with two RBIs and a walk.Pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs hit a three-run homer off reliever Aaron Heilman to cut the Phillies' deficit to 5-4 in the eighth, but the Mets bullpen held on. Billy Wagner pitched a perfect ninth for his third save.Facing the defending NL East champions for the first time since joining New York, Santana showed why the Mets made him the highest-paid pitcher in major league history.The two-time AL Cy Young award winner kept the Phillies' lineup off balance with his trademark changeup while mixing in quite a few sliders."I trust all my pitches and that's how I attacked them," Santana said.Philly fans attacked Santana right from the start, hurling a few insults to welcome him to the rivalry. But nothing rattled Santana."Johan, in a difficult park to pitch in, did what he had to do," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "He was outstanding. It's what we're looking for. We expect him to do that. That's the kind of pitcher he is."Hamels (2-2) gave up five runs -- four earned -- and eight hits in seven-plus innings.The Mets beat the Phillies for the third straight time after losing nine in a row over two seasons. Jimmy Rollins, the 2007 NL MVP, has been out of the lineup for each of New York's wins. He hasn't started the last nine games since spraining his left ankle in a win over the Mets on April 8.When New York acquired Santana from Minnesota in late January, the move prompted Carlos Beltran to declare the Mets were the team to beat in the division. That was a right-back-at-you message to Rollins, who made the bold prediction last year and followed through by leading the Phillies to their first NL East title in 14 years.Santana certainly delivered in his first start against the Phillies in six years. He left after allowing consecutive singles to start the bottom of the eighth. Heilman entered to face Dobbs, who drove a pitch into the right-field seats.But the Phillies didn't get another runner."The more you see a guy, the more comfortable you get," Chase Utley said. "We had some good at-bats. We just couldn't hold them down."Carlos Delgado's sacrifice fly off Brad Lidge gave the Mets a two-run cushion in the ninth. First baseman Ryan Howard's error -- the 17th committed by the Phillies this season -- led to the unearned run.After Utley's homer to center cut it to 2-1 in the seventh, the Mets added insurance runs.Ryan Church led off the eighth with a single and Wright followed with a double. J.C. Romero replaced Hamels after an intentional walk to Beltran loaded the bases, and Delgado drove in a run with a groundout. Angel Pagan's RBI double and Brian Schneider's run-scoring single made it 5-1.Wright ripped an RBI double to give the Mets a 1-0 lead in the first. His triple scored Jose Reyes to put the Mets ahead 2-0 in the third."He's one of the best," Wright said of Hamels. "It's good to get a couple runs early."Reyes was shaken up when he hit his head on second baseman Utley's knee on a headfirst slide while stealing second. After a 5-minute delay, Reyes stayed in. An impatient crowd booed while Hamels tossed warmup pitches as a trainer attended to Reyes. Wright lined the next pitch to center, past a sliding Jayson Werth.Rollins wasn't available to pinch-hit because he left the team to attend a funeral for an uncle. The switch-hitting shortstop is supposed to return to Philadelphia on Saturday, though it's uncertain whether he'll be in the lineup.
Before the game, Wagner joked about the high expectations for Santana in New York. "I think Johan knows we're not asking him to go out there and throw nine innings. We're just asking him to throw 8 2/3," Wagner said. ... Santana got double-digit strikeouts for the 40th time in his career. ... Wright came in 1-for-11 against Hamels. ... Santana's only other start against the Phillies was in 2002. He got a no-decision in Minnesota's victory.