New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana, who tossed the first no-hitter in Mets franchise history and the third in the Majors this season, has been named the National League Player of the Week for the period ending June 3rd.
On Friday, Santana, a two-time Cy Young Award winner and three-time All-Star, threw a career-high 134 pitches while striking out eight and walking five to earn his first career no-hitter in an 8-0 win over the visiting St. Louis Cardinals in his only start of the week. It marked the first no-hitter for a Mets franchise that, according to Elias Sports Bureau, had gone longer (8,019 games) than any other Major League Club before recording its first no-no. The team with the next-most was the Cardinals, who played 4,826 games prior to their first franchise no-hitter (thrown by Jesse Haines on July 17, 1924 vs. the Boston Braves). Santana's no-hitter was the 251st in Major League history during regular season play and the 253rd including Postseason games. He became the fourth pitcher with multiple Cy Young Awards at the time of his first career no-hitter, joining Bob Gibson (1971), Tom Seaver (1978) and Bret Saberhagen (1991). The Tovar, Venezuela native became the fourth Venezuelan-born hurler to throw a no-hitter, joining Carlos Zambrano, Wilson Alvarez and Anibal Sanchez. At 33 years and 81 days, Santana became the oldest Major Leaguer to throw a no-hitter since Randy Johnson, who threw a perfect game at the age of 40 on May 18, 2004 at Atlanta. Santana also became the first pitcher since Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan to no-hit a defending World Series Champion (Ryan no-hit the Oakland Athletics on June 11, 1990). It was the eighth time that a defending World Champion had been no-hit. Santana, who threw 77 strikes and 57 balls during the outing, was helped by left fielder Mike Baxter's running catch in the seventh inning. Baxter, who was injured on the play as he crashed into the left field wall, was able to hold on to the ball and keep the no-hitter intact. After working through an eighth inning walk to Rafael Furcal, Santana retired the Cardinals in order in the ninth to seal the no-hitter. Santana's final out came in the form of a 3-2 change-up that retired David Freese for the game-ending strikeout. This is his fifth career weekly award (most recent was for the week ending August 17, 2008).
Other noteworthy performances from last week included Colorado's Dexter Fowler (.556, 15 H, 2 HR, 13 R, 8 RBI) and Carlos Gonzalez (.500, 4 HR, 9 RBI); Miami's Hanley Ramirez (.500, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 1.125 SLG) and Heath Bell (0.00 ERA, 4.2 IP, 5 SV); and Pittsburgh's James McDonald (2-0, 0.64, 14.0, 13 SO).
In recognition of his National League Player of the Week Award, Johan Santana will be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at MLB.com.