Hitters making fast work of Santana's heater

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Johan Santana didn't reach the 4th inning against the Dodgers Friday.Less than two months after he earned a permanent spot in New York Mets lore by throwing the first no-hitter in franchise history, Johan Santana tied a more dubious team mark on Friday.

Santana joined Pedro Astacio in 2002 and Bobby Jones in 1995 as the only Mets pitchers to ever allow at least 6 earned runs in 3 straight outings after giving up 6 runs over 3 innings in a loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Since throwing the Mets initial no-hitter on June 1, Santana is now 3-5 with a 6.54 ERA in 8 starts.

Santana’s fastball has let him down over that span. Opposing hitters are batting .323 against Santana’s heater in his last 8 starts, in large part because he’s having serious trouble locating the pitch. 52 percent of Santana’s fastballs have been in the strike zone since his no-hitter, compared to the one-third of Santana’s fastballs that found the zone against the Cardinals on June 1.

Johan Santana’s Fastball This Season

If there was an opponent that was likely to snap Santana out of his post-no-hitter struggles, the Dodgers were a good bet. Entering Friday, Santana was 5-0 with a 0.50 ERA in 5 career starts vs the Dodgers, the lowest ERA vs the Dodgers of any pitcher with at least 5 starts against the team in the live ball era (since 1920).

Elsewhere in the majors Friday:

• The Atlanta Braves overcame a 9-0 deficit to beat the Washington Nationals 11-10 in 11 innings. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Atlanta’s 9-run comeback ties a franchise record also accomplished in 1987 vs the San Diego Padres and 1977 vs the St. Louis Cardinals. The Nationals 9-run blown lead is the largest in team history, including the franchise’s years in Montreal.

Jim Thome’s 4th-inning home run vs the Cleveland Indians was the 610th of his career, breaking a tie with Sammy Sosa for seventh on the all-time HR list. Next up for Thome is Ken Griffey Jr. at 630.

Robinson Cano now owns the longest hit streak in the majors this season after his 7th-inning single vs the Oakland Athletics extended his hit streak to 23 games, one more than Michael Brantley’s streak earlier this year. Cano’s streak is the longest by a Yankee in a single season since Derek Jeter in 2006 (25 games).

Justin Verlander allowed 2 runs in 8 innings in a win against the Chicago White Sox. Verlander has now pitched at least 6 innings in 62 straight starts, breaking a tie with Catfish Hunter for the third-longest streak in the live ball era. Verlander is 11-1 in 12 starts vs the White Sox since 2009, tied for the highest win percentage (.917) for a pitcher against a single opponent over the last 4 seasons according to the Elias Sports Bureau (minimum 10 decisions).