Published June 20, 2012
NEW YORK – As soon as the Orioles showed up at Citi Field, their offense disappeared.
R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana had a lot to do with that.
Santana pitched six sharp innings, and Lucas Duda hit a two-run homer to help the New York Mets beat Baltimore 5-0 on Tuesday night for their second straight shutout of the Orioles.
"We've run into two guys on the top of their game, and I'll give them the credit," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "Pitchers on the top of their game will make you look like you're not on top of yours."
Santana followed Dickey's second one-hitter in a row with his best outing since he tossed a no-hitter on June 1. Jordany Valdespin added a two-run single for New York, which won by the same score Monday night in the series opener — a rematch of the 1969 World Series won by the Miracle Mets.
Bobby Parnell, Miguel Batista and Jon Rauch each worked an inning to finish the five-hitter and extend Baltimore's scoreless streak to 21 innings, dating to Sunday's 2-0 victory in Atlanta.
"I think it was just a situation where, one, they made good pitches, and two, we really didn't have that many opportunities," said Matt Wieters, who doubled twice and walked against Santana. "It's just two games, and they pitched well."
The Orioles, who had won seven of eight before arriving in New York, were shut out in consecutive games for the first time since April 2005 against Boston. They haven't homered in five games, their longest drought since 2010.
"It's just a couple rough days of good pitching," shortstop J.J. Hardy said. "It's been a rough 18 innings here. Can't dwell on it. ... It's two games. I don't think anyone in here is going to call it a slump."
It's the second time this month that Santana and Dickey have combined on back-to-back shutouts. Dickey followed Santana's no-hitter against St. Louis by blanking the Cardinals. The two then flip-flopped in the rotation to give Santana extra rest after he threw a career-high 134 pitchers in the franchise's first no-hitter.
Santana (5-3) had a pair of shaky outings after that, but he was back in fine form against the suddenly punchless Orioles.
"I think it was really big for Johan. He had much better stuff today," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "That no-hitter took it out of him. That and all that comes with it."
Making his first start at home since the no-hit gem, the left-hander allowed four hits and struck out five. He pitched around a leadoff double in the second inning and struck out consecutive batters with runners on second and third to wriggle out of the fourth.
"These guys will score runs. That's not a question. What are we, third in all of baseball in home runs, something like that? Come on, they're going to score runs. It's a matter of time," Orioles starter Tommy Hunter said. "Unfortunately, the last two nights they pitched well. You've got to tip your cap. Maybe if we pitched a little better, the games would still be going on."
Santana improved to 4-1 with a 1.16 ERA in eight starts at Citi Field this season. Fans in attendance received a T-shirt featuring a picture of the two-time Cy Young Award winner with his arm raised moments after his no-hitter.
The Mets have thrown consecutive shutouts three times this year and lead the National League with eight.
"It's amazing. Dickey and now Johan. That's a good hitting ballclub over there, too," Duda said.
Collins stacked his lineup with eight left-handed hitters against Hunter (3-4) and it paid off.
Daniel Murphy drove in the first run with a groundout when first baseman Mark Reynolds made a diving stop of his bases-loaded smash in the fourth. Valdespin singled to start the sixth, and Duda hit a high fly that nestled onto the netting that protects fans sitting just behind the 375-foot sign in right.
It was the second big home run in two nights for the Mets that wouldn't have cleared the Citi Field fences before they were moved in this season.
Hunter has served up 18 homers, tied with Ervin Santana of the Los Angeles Angels for most in the majors.
"It's on me. I'm the one giving them up. I wish I wasn't," Hunter said. "It was a mistake. They're not missing the mistakes I have, and I didn't have very many mistakes. I can honestly sit here and tell you that."
Valdespin added a two-run single off left-hander Dana Eveland with two outs in the seventh.
NOTES: Baltimore blanked the Braves twice in a row before coming to New York. ... OF Nolan Reimold, on the 60-day disabled list with a herniated disk, saw another specialist. Reimold and the Orioles are discussing his options with doctors. Season-ending surgery is a possibility. "We're trying to exhaust all possibilities with different people who have dealt with this to make sure we get a real good evaluation," Showalter said.