June 8, 2012—
Johan Santana had his turn skipped in the New York Mets’ pitching rotation earlier this week, after throwing 134 pitches in a no-hit game against St. Louis that a stronger instant replay rule would have negated. It wasn’t a tough decision for Mets manager, Terry Collins whose decision to leave Santana in last Friday’s game was much tougher after Carlos Beltrán’s line drive that hit the chalk line behind third base was ruled foul by an umpire. Santana had been limited and strictly held to a pitch count this season, up until then. His coming back off major shoulder surgery that caused him to miss the last part of the 2010 season and all of last, was a major concern to team management which has a huge investment stake in him at risk.
Tonight’s game at Yankee Stadium will draw additional attention because of the no-hitter, which was the second consecutive masterful pitching performance by Santana, each a shutout over the San Diego Padres and the Cardinals, in which his pitches were inter-mixed beautifully. However, it also has additional fan appeal in the tri-state area because both teams in the same position in the standings and currently contenders in each league’s eastern division, with the Mets having a slightly better record than the Yankees. The Yankees are in 3rd place, behind the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays by only ½ game at 31-25, while the Mets are 32-26 and 1-½ out, behind the Washington Nationals in first place and the Atlanta Braves.
Santana has a 3-2 win-loss record, with an ERA of only 2.38 in 11 starts this season, logging 68 innings pitched, striking out 68 and walking only 21. He’s scheduled to face Yanks right-hander, who is 4-6, also in 11 starts and 68.1 innings pitched, and 3.82 ERA with 41 strikeouts and 22 walks, but also 11 homeruns given up. The veteran of Japan’s Central League and spent 4 years with the Los Angeles Dodgers, signing with the Yankees as a free agent in January.
However, two 2-run homers hit on first pitches by Robinson Canó in the 2nd and 3rd innings gave Kuroda and the Yanks an early 4-0 lead that was made 5-0 when  The Mets got their first base runner with one out in the 4th on a booted grounder by shortstop , but was quickly erased when David Wright hit into a routine double play on a broken bat grounder.followed Cano’s second blast with a shot into the left field bleachers. The next batter, , made it 6-0 following Swisher in suit with a blast to left, for back-to-back-to-back home runs through 3 innings, while Kuroda retired the Mets in order each time, keeping them hitless. Ironically, the same three players hit back-to-back-to-back homers in a game last year.
They were still hitless with 2 outs in the 6th inning when the crowd stood started to applaud in recognition of Kuroda having not given up a hit, as shortstop Omar Quintanilla came to bat and promptly smacked a fly ball into the left-centerfield gap for a double. The next batter made an out, ending the Mets’ threat and Santana’s being in the game. What a difference one week makes.
Kuroda had to leave the game after his last pitch in the top of the seventh was lined off his foot but caught on the fly by third basemanfor the third out.
Final score: NYY/ 9 runs, 11 hits, 1 error; NYM/ 1 run, 2 hits, and 0 errors.
Sources, resources and references: WWOR-TV (NYC)
 WWOR-TV, channel 9, NYC.