Philip Humber is another one. He pitched a perfect game for the Chicago White Sox at Seattle on April 21, and Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels no-hit Minnesota on May 2.
Following the game, Santana addressed his teammates in the clubhouse. He thanked them and said: “Yeah, baby! Believe it!”
Santana got a warm ovation as he headed out to the mound for the ninth inning, and the two-time Cy Young Award winner quickly retired Matt Holliday and Allen Craig on shallow fly balls.
With the crowd of 27,069 on its feet in a frenzy, World Series MVP David Freese went to a 3-2 count before his foul tip was caught by Josh Thole, just activated from the disabled list earlier in the day.
Santana pumped his left fist and slammed it into his glove as Thole showed the ball to plate umpire Gary Cederstrom and then went running out toward the mound.
“I don’t think anybody expected that tonight. Everything came out perfect for him,” Beltran said. “It should mean a lot for him after battling last year with the injuries. … I’m not happy about it, but at the same time he’s a good man and I’m happy for him.”
The Mets rushed out of the dugout and mobbed Santana in a raucous dogpile as security tackled a fan who ran onto the field near home plate. Moments later, the pitcher raised his right arm and saluted the crowd, which was chanted his name from the eighth inning on. The big scoreboard in center flashed Santana’s picture and read “No-Han.”
“It was a crazy night — my fastball moving all over the place,” Santana said. “I don’t think I’ve ever thrown a no-hitter in video games.”
The Cardinals should have had a hit in the sixth.
Beltran, traded by the Mets to San Francisco last July after 6½ rocky seasons in New York, led off with a low liner over third. Television replays showed the ball nicked the foul line just behind the bag on the dirt, taking a small chunk of chalk with it. But Johnson called it foul immediately and Beltran eventually grounded out.
“It was tough because it happened so quick. I wasn’t able to see anything,” Santana said.
“The umpire made his call and that was the end of it,” he said.
But with the next batter at the plate, Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo twice got in Johnson’s face for heated arguments — the two even appeared to bump each other. Rookie manager Mike Matheny also came out to protest, but nobody was ejected.
Almost exactly two years ago — on June 2, 2010 — Armando Galarraga lost a perfect game when first base umpire Jim Joyce admittedly blew a call that should’ve resulted in the final out. The miss in Detroit instead gave Cleveland’s Jason Donald a single with two outs in the ninth.
Major League Baseball had considered expanding replay for this season to review fair-or-foul calls and trapped balls. The change required the approval of MLB and the unions representing the umpires and the players — when there was no agreement, extra replay was postponed until at least 2013.