Santana's hard-luck season continues

PITTSBURGH -- Johan Santana now has this in common with Jerry Koosman: They're the last two pitchers to suffer consecutive complete-game losses as a New York Met.

Santana joined Koosman with that dubious distinction after solo homers by ex-Met Lastings Milledge and Jose Tabata lifted the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 2-1 victory Sunday at PNC Park. Koosman suffered his consecutive complete-game losses in 1977, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Santana has thrown three straight complete games, the first Mets pitcher to accomplish that feat since David Cone in 1990. He has eight no-decisions this season in which he has allowed two runs or fewer.

Asked how many wins he ought to have this season, Santana (10-8) had no interest in the query.

"Oh, I don't know," he said. "I'm not a stat guy. I don't follow numbers. It is what it is. That's reality. If you read what it is right now, that's what it is. Simple as that."

The Mets, who clinched their first NL road series win with a rain-shortened victory Saturday, went 4-3 during their seven-game trip to Houston and Pittsburgh. They return home at .500 with 38 games to play, and will face Florida Marlins ace Josh Johnson on Tuesday night.

While away from Citi Field for the week, manager Jerry Manuel publicly labeled the team's offense "pathetic," hitting coach Howard Johnson ripped into his players in a team meeting and catcher Rod Barajas was sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers on a waiver claim.

"Johan pitched a good game," Manuel said. "You'd like to keep it going, but we're going home. We've still got a chance to put some stuff together."

Staked to a 1-0 lead via a first-inning sacrifice fly hit by center-fielder Carlos Beltran, Santana did not allow a baserunner until a one-out walk to Ronny Cedeno in the third inning. He held the Pirates hitless until Pedro Alvarez opened the bottom of the fifth with a single. Ryan Doumit then grounded into a double play, but Milledge followed with a two-out solo homer. An inning later, Tabata also went deep.

"It's part of the game," Santana said. "There's some times you're going to win. Sometimes you're going to lose. And then there are times you're going to have good games and not going to win. And there are going to be times when you have bad games and win.

"There were a couple of changeups that [were] pretty much flat and in the middle of the plate," Santana said. "The one I threw to Milledge, the previous pitch was a changeup. He swung and missed. And then I threw him another changeup that didn't do anything. And to Tabata it was kind of the same situation. On that one I threw him for a ball the first one, and then I tried to throw him back-to-back [changeups]. It stayed in the middle of the plate. They waited and they put a good swing and that's what happened.

"That was enough for them to win the ballgame."

Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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