|The Mets' Johan Santana caps a productive day by saluting the fans. (ED BETZ/ASSOCIATED PRESS)|
Johan Santana took in six innings at Shea Stadium Saturday night before heading home. He flipped on the TV and proceeded to watch the Mets' bullpen doggedly battle St. Louis into the 14th before finally succumbing.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner woke up yesterday knowing exactly what he needed to do.
Santana effortlessly tossed a complete game, getting two-run homers from Fernando Tatis and Ramon Castro as New York pounded Kyle Lohse and the Cardinals, 9-1, to wrap up a successful homestand.
"We needed that big," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "He was very adamant about going back out. He really wanted the complete game."
Santana (9-7) allowed six hits and a walk in winning for just the second time since June 1. He also had two hits, drove in his first run of the year, and scored another.
"I knew coming in that I had to do something to help out," Santana said. "I was able to do my job and give the guys a break."
David Wright homered and added three hits for New York.
Lohse (12-3) allowed seven runs and 11 hits in five innings plus, the first time in six tries he didn't make it to the seventh. It was his first loss since May 9, a span of 15 starts.
Cubs 9, Marlins 6 - Derrek Lee homered and Mike Fontenot had a pinch-hit, three-run double during a four-run seventh inning, helping host Chicago take sole possession of the NL Central lead.
Chicago split its four-game series with Florida and moved one game ahead of the Brewers, who lost to Houston. The Cubs open a four-game series at Milwaukee tonight.
Mike Jacobs homered twice and drove in five runs for the Marlins.
Athletics 6, Rangers 5 - Jack Cust and Kurt Suzuki homered and Athletics reliever Brad Ziegler set the major league record for scoreless innings to start a career in host Oakland's win over Texas.
Ziegler gave up two singles in two shutout innings, extending his scoreless streak to 27 innings.
Phillies 12, Braves 10 - Pat Burrell hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the fifth and host Philadelphia rallied for another win.
Chris Coste, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, and Jimmy Rollins also went deep for Philadelphia, which overcame a 5-0 deficit a day after coming back from a 9-3 hole.
Tigers 6, White Sox 4 - Curtis Granderson and Marcus Thames homered and host Detroit beat Chicago to avoid a three-game sweep.
Miguel Cabrera drove in two runs and Ivan Rodriguez went 4 for 4 for third-place Detroit, which pulled within 6 1/2 games of the AL Central-leading White Sox.
Rockies 11, Reds 0 - Garrett Atkins and Jeff Baker homered, Ubaldo Jimenez turned in another terrific start, and Colorado completed a three-game sweep at Cincinnati.
Jimenez (7-9) allowed five hits in six innings, improving to 5-1 with a 1.74 ERA in six July starts.
Royals 6, Rays 1 - Billy Butler homered and drove in four runs, Kyle Davies (4-2) picked up his first victory in more than a month, and host Kansas City beat Tampa Bay to salvage a split of their four-game series.
Orioles 5, Angels 2 - Baltimore ended its run of 15 straight losses in Sunday games, defeating visiting Los Angeles behind a sharp pitching performance by Garrett Olson (7-5), who allowed two runs and seven hits in six-plus innings.
Twins 4, Indians 2 - Justin Morneau sparked a two-run ninth-inning rally with an RBI double and Minnesota beat host Cleveland to pull within 2 1/2 games of the White Sox.
Diamondbacks 7, Giants 2 - Randy Johnson (8-7) tossed seven shutout innings to win his fourth straight start as Arizona completed its first sweep in San Francisco in seven years.
Dodgers 2, Nationals 0 - Clayton Kershaw outpitched Jason Bergmann for his first major league victory, leading host Los Angeles over Washington.
Mariners 5, Blue Jays 1 - Jose Vidro hit a two-run homer, Jarrod Washburn pitched eight strong innings and visiting Seattle snapped a season-long seven-game losing streak while snapping Toronto's five-game winning streak.
Astros 11, Brewers 6 - Geoff Blum hit a pair of home runs for Houston, including a three-run shot that capped a seven-run fifth in a win at Milwaukee.
Padres 3, Pirates 1 - Jake Peavy struck out 10 in seven strong innings and Scott Hairston hit a go-ahead home run in the eighth for visiting San Diego.