Flushing, NY – Johan Santana tossed his ninth career shutout and first in close to two years as the New York Mets blanked the San Diego Padres, 9-0, in the third test of a four-game set at Citi Field.
Santana (2-2) last tossed a shutout on August 12, 2010 against the Colorado Rockies before undergoing left shoulder surgery in September of that year, which forced the lefty to miss the entire 2011 campaign.
The two-time Cy Young award winner allowed just four hits on Saturday and didn't issue a walk while striking out seven to extend his personal unbeaten streak to seven games.
"It's a great feeling for me just to put my uniform (on)," remarked Santana. "Being able to help and being able to go out there every five games is definitely something that I was waiting for and I'm very happy for and I'm just going to continue doing."
Scott Hairston belted a three-run blast and Mike Nickeas added a grand slam in the eighth for the Mets, who have won four of their last five.
Clayton Richard (2-6) was charged for four runs on five hits and three walks over six innings of work. Yonder Alonso extended his hit-streak to nine games with a single in the first, but the Padres fell for the fifth time in their last six tries.
New York tallied four runs in the bottom of the first inning as Andres Torres singled and David Wright followed two batters later with a four-pitch walk.
Both runners then advanced on a balk from Richard before Hairston plated everyone with a three-run blast to left field.
Vinny Rottino extended the margin to four two batters later with a solo shot over the wall in left-center field for his first major league home run.
"It's tough when you put your team in the hole early on," said Richard. "Four runs is kind of a big hole and it kind of changes the momentum of things right off the get-go."
Four runs provided plenty of run support for Santana, who retired 16 straight and 23 of the final 24 batters he faced after giving up a leadoff single to Chase Headley in the second.
The Mets blew the game open in the eighth as Justin Turner singled to start the frame before scoring on a double from pinch-hitter Ike Davis.
After Lucas Duda flied out, Rottino singled and Ronny Cedeno walked to load the bases for Nickeas, who launched his first major league grand slam over the left-field wall to give New York a 9-0 lead.
Padres outfielder Cameron Maybin left the game in the top of the sixth inning with a sprained right wrist...The Mets went 4-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left three on base...Santana improved to 3-3 in eight all-time starts against the Padres.