Presumably, the Mets would have settled for the win on Sunday. But that simply wasn't enough for Johan Santana. Following Saturday night's affair, which seemed more like battle of wills than simple Saturday night in July, Santana saw his team reeling from a 5-hour loss where his team exhausted every man in their bullpen, and clearly took the mound on Sunday with one thing in mind: Finish it off. Give these guys a break, and make sure they don't blow it for me again.
Well, he did just that.
In pitching the Mets first true Complete Game in almost 2 seasons, Santana preserved his bullpen for the day, ensuring that they'll all be fresh and ready in Miami tonight. Backed by an offense that continues to score plenty of runs (albeit lacking in key hits, particularly on Saturday, but at this point, the Mets fan might feel a little comfortable saying the phrase, "Hey, can't win 'em all"), Santana baffled the Cardinals all day and didn't really find himself in any sort of pressure situation, and throwing the kind of game we've been waiting for him to throw.
Yes, the victory is first and foremost. Yes, it was more important to secure the series from the Cardinals and bounce back from Saturday. But Johan took that extra step on Sunday, perhaps the first step on his way to the kind of second-half dominance that he's displayed so often in his career.
In the words of Kurt Cobain, "I'm on a plain, I can't complain."
Long Day's Journey Into Night
I'd be remiss if I didn't say anything about Saturday's game, which was another one of those games that I seem to find myself at, except that I wasn't there Saturday night. I probably could have gone, but because of my rehearsal schedule, I wouldn't have arrived until the 4th or 5th inning, and I think the game was close to, if not completely sold out.
Instead, I ended up catching most of the game on TV. My rollicking Saturday Night schedule (admittedly, following running a 6-hour rehearsal) involved little more than watching the game and doing my laundry. I figured that, with the game moving along, I'd wait for the game to end, then put up the wash. It was already 4-4 when I tuned in, and I'd missed Brandon Knight (odd seeing KNIGHT 28 rather than KNIGHT 22 at Shea, but I digress) put forth a start of The Late Jeremi Gonzalez proportions (and they kind of look similar on the mound). So I saw the Mets briefly go ahead, and then just as quickly fall behind, and then Delgado hit his 2nd HR, and it was 8-7, and I was having some visions of another Mets/Cardinals game from a couple of years ago, and even moreso when Fernando Tatis tied the game with a HR that I could have sworn Ankiel caught.
So, the game goes to the 10th, and I figure someone'll get a big hit for the Mets and I can get to doing my laundry. But they didn't. Then, I figured it would be the 11th. Delgado came up and Gary Cohen immediately started talking about how no Met had ever hit 3 HRs in a game at Shea, which was, of course, the immediate jinx. Then, I started to get antsy. I had to do laundry, lest begin a recycling process that I would have preferred to avoid. I also didn't want to be up until 2am doing my laundry. Delgado hit into a DP, which Gary Cohen practically had ensured.
With the game moving to the 12th, and beginning to take on the eerie, farcical feel of a game I had already attended and chronicled in depth a little more than a month ago, I decided I could wait no longer. I said screw it, went downstairs and put up the laundry, which took up the top of the 12th. Living in an apartment building 7 washers and 5 driers, I figured I'd have little competition for space as I went downstairs. Foolish me. There were 4 washers running and all 5 driers were full, albeit stopped. Who the hell knew Saturday Night was such a big Laundry night? A gentleman was loading up two machines, leaving me to take the last remaining empty washer. He started his cycle a couple of minutes before me. I knew it would be a race to get to the driers before him. I went upstairs and was not surprised to see that I missed little of consequence. The Cardinals trotted out a pitcher who seemed to be a Social Studies classmate of Tyler Clippard, and the Mets couldn't score off him despite the fact that he seemed all too happy to hand the game over to the Mets. But try as he might, the Mets just wouldn't take it. So, to the 13th. And by the bottom of the 13th, it was time to head back downstairs and jockey for a drier. I was quick. I was stealthful. I entered an empty laundry room. My washer had stopped. The other guy's washer had stopped. There was now only one empty drier, with the other 4 driers now running. I knew I had to strike quickly. I immediately tore my laundry out of the washer and flung it haphazardly at the empty drier, my only chance to secure it. I made it. I loaded up the drier and got out of dodge just as the other gentleman was returning to get his laundry. I win. And I get upstairs and it's the 14th inning, with the game over 5 hours. Of course, as soon as I walk in, it's that guy who's no good stepping up and sending one out, tilting this ridiculously extended game in the Cardinals favor.
That's when I knew this wasn't my kind of game after all. The Mets usually win when I'm at games like this.
At least my laundry was clean.