Rapid Reaction: Mets 5, Orioles 0

WHAT IT MEANS: No need to worry about Johan Santana anymore.

After producing a no-hitter on June 1 and throwing 134 pitches in the process, Santana struggled in his next two outings -- leaving manager Terry Collins and many others concerned that Santana had over-exerted himself while making history against the St. Louis Cardinals.

But Santana looked excellent on Tuesday, leading the Mets to a 5-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. (For more on Santana, see below.)

It's the Mets' second victory in a row, improving their record to 37-32 on the season. They now trail the first-place Washington Nationals by three games.

THAT'S MORE LIKE IT: Santana hurled six scoreless innings against the Orioles, giving up just four hits, with five strikeouts and two walks.

Baltimore threatened in the top of the fourth, with runners on second and third and one out. But Santana struck out Mark Reynolds (swinging) and Steve Pearce (looking) to end the threat.

Santana threw 101 pitches on the night, and improved to 5-3 on the season. He also lowered his ERA to an even 3.00.

BIG HITS: The Mets scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the fourth -- David Wright hit a one-out single, Lucas Duda followed with a single of his own, Ike Davis walked, and Daniel Murphy drove home Wright with a sharp grounder to first base.

Duda hit a two-run homer to right in the sixth -- his 11th long ball of the season -- also knocking in Jordany Valdespin, who singled to lead off the frame.

And then Valdespin drove home the Mets' final two runs of the evening in the seventh, with a two-out single that plated Omar Quintanilla and Josh Thole, who both singled ahead of him.

FINISHING TOUCHES: Bobby Parnell, Miguel Batista and Jon Rauch wrapped up the victory, with a scoreless inning apiece.

The Orioles entered the game 10th in the majors in runs scored (299) and third in home runs (89), but have yet to score in 18 innings at Citi Field this week.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Mets will go for the sweep, on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. Dillon Gee (4-5, 4.43 ERA) will pitch for New York, opposed by lefty Brian Matusz (5-7, 4.94 ERA).