Johan true to form in rare Met victory
By: By The Associated Press
This was precisely the type of performance the New York Mets hoped for when they acquired Johan Santana. Santana worked around eight hits and two walks, allowing three runs in seven innings, helping the struggling Mets top the first-place Florida Marlins 5-3 on Tuesday night. “He’s the guy that we look for to stop the bleeding, and that’s what he did tonight,” manager Willie Randolph said. “That’s what he gets paid to do.” Santana (6-3), acquired from Minnesota in February and signed to a $137.5 million, six-year contract, helped the Mets win for only the second time in nine games. “Every outing is a new experience for me,” said Santana, who struck out seven. “Hopefully, we’ll get some momentum going.” The left-hander earned his 99th major league win, retiring surging slugger Dan Uggla in three key situations. “He’s real good,” Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “That’s why he wins Cy Youngs — he gets out of jams.” Fernando Tatis and Ramon Castro each hit a pair of two-out RBI singles for the Mets one day after embattled manager Willie Randolph kept his job — for now — following a much-publicized meeting with ownership. New York improved to 24-26 with its fifth victory in 15 tries. “We’ve got a championship-caliber team,” closer Billy Wagner said. “Winning cures all illness and problems.” In other NL games, it was: Cincinnati 9, Pittsburgh 6; Milwaukee 3, Atlanta 2; Houston 8, St. Louis 2; Chicago 3, Los Angeles 1; Philadelphia 7, Colorado 4; San Francisco 6, Arizona 3; and San Diego 4, Washington 2. At New York, Duaner Sanchez pitched a scoreless eighth after yielding a leadoff double, and Wagner fanned two in a 1-2-3 ninth for his 10th save. With his 368th save, Wagner passed Jeff Reardon for sole possession of sixth place on the career list. Florida starter Andrew Miller (4-4) lasted only 42/3 innings. He gave up four runs and six hits after tossing seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts to beat Arizona in his previous outing. Cody Ross homered and drove in two runs for the NL East-leading Marlins (30-21). Cubs 3, Dodgers 1 Sean Gallagher (2-1), who starred with the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx in 2006, had his best start, allowing one run and four hits in a career-high seven innings, and Aramis Ramirez and Kosuke Fukudome capped a three-run seventh with run-scoring hits to lead the Cubs at home. The Dodgers got an RBI single from Blake DeWitt in the fourth, but the third baseman’s error in the seventh allowed the tying run to score and helped turn what looked like a win for Hiroki Kuroda (2-4) into a loss. Astros 8, Cardinals 2 Shawn Chacon (2-0) won his second straight start after nine no-decisions to open the year and Hunter Pence had a career-best five hits in Houston’s victory at St. Louis. Pence was 5-for-5 with four singles and a double, including an RBI infield hit in a four-run first off Braden Looper (6-4). Miguel Tejada added a two-run homer. Albert Pujols was 4-for-4 with his 12th homer, and pinch-hitter Brian Barton hit the first of his career for the Cardinals. Brewers 3, Braves 2 At Milwaukee, Bill Hall scored the winning run for the Brewers after grousing earlier in the day about being placed in a platoon situation at third base. Hall, who entered as a defensive replacement in the ninth, led off the bottom of the inning with a broken-bat bloop single off Braves reliever Jeff Bennett (0-3). Rickie Weeks sacrificed Hall to second, and Hall stole third on a 3-0 pitch to Mike Cameron. Cameron then lofted a fly ball to center, and Hall’s slide narrowly beat the throw home. Salomon Torres (4-1) earned the victory for Milwaukee. Reds 9, Pirates 6 At Cincinnati, Adam Dunn hit a three-run homer that set a club record for left-handed batters, and Jay Bruce went 3-for-3 in his eagerly awaited debut to lead the Reds. Dunn’s three-run shot in the fifth off Ian Snell (2-4) was his eighth in 12 games. With 252 career homers, he moved ahead of Ted Kluszewski for most by a lefty Reds hitter. Bruce, a 21-year-old outfielder who is the Reds’ top prospect, had a pair of singles, a double, two walks, a stolen base and a pair of RBI. Pittsburgh couldn’t take advantage of an off-night by rookie Johnny Cueto (3-5). Phillies 7, Rockies 4 At Philadelphia, Kyle Kendrick (4-2) pitched effectively in a career-best 71/3 innings, and Greg Dobbs and Pedro Feliz both drove in two runs for the Phillies. Ubaldo Jimenez (1-5) gave up seven runs and 10 hits in four innings as the Rockies fell to 1-10 in his 11 starts. Giants 6, Diamondbacks 3 At Phoenix, Bengie Molina and Jose Castillo homered to help Tim Lincecum (7-1) earn his seventh victory for San Francisco. Molina hit a three-run homer in the third, and Castillo a 422-foot solo shot in the fourth — both off Arizona starter Dan Haren (5-4). Padres 4, Nationals 2 At San Diego, Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Kouzmanoff homered on consecutive pitches with two outs in the seventh inning, and the Padres beat the Washington Nationals in a matchup of last-place teams.