WHAT IT MEANS: It was the flip that killed.
Leading off the fifth inning with the score tied at 2, Reed Johnson hit a slow roller between the pitcher’s mound and first base. Justin Turner fielded the ball and flipped it to Johan Santana for what should’ve been the first out of the frame. But Santana was unable to corral the ball with his bare hand and tripped on Johnson’s foot. Terry Collins and Ray Ramirez came out to look at Santana, but after watching two warmup pitches, they determined the left-hander was OK to continue.
Unfortunately, his outing unraveled from there. Santana gave up hits to six of the next seven batters he faced -- including a backbreaking three-run homer to rookie phenom Anthony Rizzo and a solo shot to Jeff Baker -- before being lifted.
Santana (6-5) wound up giving up a career-high-tying 13 hits -- three of them home runs -- and a season-high seven earned runs in 4 2/3 innings, and the Mets lost to the Cubs 8-7 on Friday night at Citi Field. The 33-year-old entered the game with the second-lowest home ERA in the majors (1.16 ERA). In his previous three starts, he’d allowed just two earned runs in 20 innings.
Johnson and Rizzo both had four hits for the Cubs.
The Mets nearly completed another improbable come-from-behind rally in the bottom of the ninth. Ike Davis' pinch-hit two-run single brought them within a run, but then Lucas Duda lined into a 1-3 double-play to end the game.
LU DUDE: Cubs southpaw Travis Wood had gone 20 straight innings without giving up a run, until Duda took him deep to right-center leading off the second for his team-high-tying 12th homer of the year.
Aside from that mistake and a couple others, Wood (6 IP, 3 R, 2 ER) pitched well. The Mets are 12-20 against left-handed starters this season.
CALL ME JUSTIN: Justin Turner went 4-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Turner’s four hits tied a career high. Must be the Carly Rae Jepsen walk-up song.
UP NEXT: Dillon Gee (5-7, 4.34) takes on former Notre Dame wideout Jeff Samardzija (6-7, 4.77) on Saturday afternoon in Queens.