Venezuelan lefty Johan Santana tries to make it two straight gems from the New York pitching staff tonight when the Mets take on the visiting Baltimore Orioles in the second test of a three-game interleague set at Citi Field.
Santana takes the hill as an encore to teammate R.A. Dickey, who tossed his second consecutive one-hitter on Monday while blanking Baltimore, 5-0.
The 37-year-old struck out a career-high 13 with two walks, tied a career-high in victories (11) and pitched his third complete game in his last four starts. He extended his streak without giving up an earned run to 42 2/3 frames, last surrendering one in the sixth inning at Pittsburgh on May 22.
"I always hoped for a good knuckleball, and that's what I'm producing right now." Dickey said.
Dickey also became the first National League hurler since the Boston Braves' Jim Tobin in 1944 to allow one hit or fewer in back-to-back complete games. Dickey won his ninth straight decision and hasn't lost since giving up eight runs in Atlanta on April 18.
Ike Davis' grand slam aided Dickey's gem, Jordany Valdespin doubled, tripled and scored twice and David Wright extended his hitting streak to nine games for the Mets, who snapped a three-game skid.
Jake Arrieta (3-9) was the hard-luck loser, pitching well until hanging an offspeed pitch to Davis in the sixth.
He gave up four runs on six hits with four strikeouts and one walk over seven frames. The Orioles pitching staff had not given up a run in 25 innings before Davis' grand slam.
"There is a reason he is 11-1 now. He is throwing the ball well," Baltimore outfielder Chris Davis said.
Santana, a former American League Cy Young Award winner, tossed a gem of his own three starts ago against St. Louis when he posted the first no-hitter in Mets history in an 8-0 victory on June 1.
He struck out eight and walked five in that win, which he's since followed up with a win and a loss in two decisions. In his last start, on June 14 at Tampa Bay, Santana allowed four runs on six hits in five innings of a 9-6 victory.
Santana is 4-1 in 10 career meetings with the Orioles.
For Baltimore, right-hander Tommy Hunter meets the Mets for the first time in his 78th career big-league outing.
The 25-year-old Indianapolis native won four games while splitting last season between the Texas Rangers and the Orioles, then opened 2012 with two wins in five decisions before evening his record in his last start with a defeat of Pittsburgh.
Hunter gave up five runs on seven hits in six innings, but nonetheless escaped with a 12-6 victory on June 14.
He is 0-2 in five road starts this spring.
New York has won 17 of 26 interleague games between the teams, including three straight when they last met at Camden Yards in 2010.